MS Wrap-up: World MS Day, Practice Effects on MSPT Battery, and More

Maggie L. Shaw

Here are some of the latest developments in multiple sclerosis (MS) from our sister publication, NeurologyLive®.

May 30 Is World MS Day

Each year on May 30, the multiple sclerosis (MS) community—patients, caretakers, clinical teams—unites in a global effort to raise awareness of the chronic neurological disease through World MS Day. Currently, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, more than 2.3 million individuals have an MS diagnosis and more women than men develop the disease.

In a recent interview with NeurologyLive®, Barry A. Hendin, MD, chief medical officer of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, discussed the significance of World MS Day; various treatments for MS, both those currently in use and those being developed; and how the field has changed since his interest in MS was piqued in 1993. Of particular interest, Hendin notes the contributions of disease-modifying therapies, of which there were none when he first became a neurologist, and how a chief interest of his in the space is “the ability to change the trajectory of life.”

“The gratifying part of being able to maintain an MS practice,” he adds, “is watching how it has evolved and how much more is offered to clinicians treating MS and people with MS.”

You can read the full interview here.

Practice Effects Seen in Multiple Sclerosis Performance Test Battery Results

Despite improvements seen in 2 measures of the Multiple Sclerosis Performance Test (MSPT) battery in a recent study—a 3-point increase on the processing speed test (P = .005) and a 1-second decrease on the manual dexterity test (P = .07)—the results may not be 100% positive. Results of the investigation, which also showed that walking speed test scores did not see significant gains (P = .07), may have been affected by practice effects (PEs), also known as learning how to take a test, according to senior author Stephen Rao, PhD, ABPP-Cn, Cleveland Clinic, told NeurologyLive®.

Speaking to these findings about the self-administered test, which were presented at this year’s American Academy of Neurology (AAN) annual meeting, Rao said results on the MSPT may be skewed with each taking of it. PEs, he noted, get in the way because even though the MSPT is meant to gauge disease severity, the more often someone takes it, PEs may “negate the deterioration in performance.” That is, although a performance may look flat, a patient’s condition could be worsening, he noted.

For the full interview, click here.

Ocrelizumab Shown to Benefit Patients With PPMS

Atrophied T2-lesion volume (aT2-LV), which is a biomarker used to gauge disease progression in individuals who have primary progressive MS (PPMS), may benefit from administration of ocrelizumab (Ocrevus), according to another study presented at the AAN annual meeting and reported by NeurologyLive®.

Led by lead author Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, professor of neurology and director, Translational Imaging Center, Clinical Translational Research Center, Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center, this post hoc analysis of findings on 732 patients with PPMS from the ORATORIO trial confirmed the utility of aT2-LV when gauging disease activity. Following 2:1 randomization to treatment with ocrelizumab (n = 488) or placebo (n = 244), aT2-LV accumulated at a slower rate over 120 weeks among the study group vs the placebo group: 319.4 mm3 vs 366.1 mm3 (P = .013).

The video interview with Zivadinov can be seen here.