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Comorbidities contribute substantially to the severity of common multiple sclerosis symptoms


Lo, LMP and Taylor, BV and Winzenberg, T and Palmer, AJ and Blizzard, L and van der Mei, I, Comorbidities contribute substantially to the severity of common multiple sclerosis symptoms, Journal of Neurology, (September) pp. 1-10. ISSN 0340-5354 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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Available from 02 September 2021

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Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020. Post-prints are subject to Springer Nature re-use terms

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00415-020-10192-z


Background: More research is needed to understand the contribution of comorbidities to MS symptomatology.

Objectives: To examine the dose-response relationship between the number of comorbidities and severity of MS symptoms and to assess the relative contribution of comorbidity groups and individual comorbidities to the severity of each symptom.

Methods: We surveyed 1223 participants of the Australian MS Longitudinal Study for the presence of 30 comorbidities and the severity of 13 MS symptoms (0-10 scale). The associations between comorbidities and symptoms were assessed using negative binomial regression. The relative contributions of comorbidities to the severity of symptoms were assessed using general dominance analysis.

Results: Higher number of comorbidities was most strongly associated with a higher severity of pain and feelings of anxiety and depression (ratios of means ≥ 0.12 per comorbidity increase). Comorbidities explained between 3.7% (spasticity) and 22.0% (feelings of anxiety) of the total variance of symptom severity. Mental health and musculoskeletal disorders contributed most strongly to the severity of the most common symptoms in MS.

Conclusions: Our findings support that early recognition and optimal management of comorbidities, particularly of mental health and musculoskeletal disorders, could have a positive impact on the severity of symptoms of people with MS.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:comorbidity, mental health disorder, multiple sclerosis, musculoskeletal disorder, prevalence, symptom
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Central nervous system
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Lo, LMP (Miss Lara Lo)
UTAS Author:Taylor, BV (Professor Bruce Taylor)
UTAS Author:Winzenberg, T (Professor Tania Winzenberg)
UTAS Author:Palmer, AJ (Professor Andrew Palmer)
UTAS Author:Blizzard, L (Professor Leigh Blizzard)
UTAS Author:van der Mei, I (Professor Ingrid van der Mei)
ID Code:140819
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2020-09-09
Last Modified:2020-10-26

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