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Premorbid functional reserve modulates the effect of rehabilitation in multiple sclerosis

Abstract

Background

Premorbid physically and intellectually enriching lifestyles have increasingly been recognized as able to mitigate the risk of disease-related disability in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Objective

To explore if premorbid physical activity, cognitive reserve and trait personality act as proxies for functional reserve that contributes to rehabilitation outcome.

Methods

We recruited all patients previously enrolled in two pilot trials investigating the effect of home-based video game training in improving balance (Study 1) and attention (Study 2) for additional assessments with the Historical Leisure Activity Questionnaire (HLAQ; a proxy for premorbid physical activity), Cognitive Reserve Index Questionnaire (CRIQ), and Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). Hierarchical logistic regression (HLR) analyses tested the association of HLAQ, CRIQ, and TCI with training effect on balance (static posturography) and on attention (Symbol Digit Modalities Test).

Results

We identified 94% (34/36) and 74% (26/35) of patients participating at the original Study 1 and Study 2, respectively. HLR analyses showed an exclusive “intra-modal” modulation of rehabilitation outcome by functional reserve, given that (1) larger training effect on balance was associated with higher HLAQ (OR = 2.03, p = 0.031); (2) larger training effect on attention was associated with higher CRIQ (OR = 1.27, p = 0.033). Furthermore, we found specific personality traits associated with (1) greater training effect on balance (self-directedness; OR = 1.40, p = 0.051) and lower training effect on attention (harm avoidance; OR = 0.66, p = 0.075).

Conclusion

We hypothesize that premorbid physical and intellectual activities not only act as a buffer for limiting the MS-related damage but also as functional reserve that can be retrieved by task-oriented training to promote recovery through rehabilitation.

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Author information

Correspondence to Luca Prosperini.

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Conflict of interest

None related to this article.

Ethical standards

The present study was conducted after approval of the Local Ethics Committee. All data were gathered after informed consent was obtained from each participant, in accordance with specific national laws and the ethics standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. In no way this study did interfere in the care received by patients. Anonymized data will be shared upon request by the corresponding author (LP).

Financial disclosures

LC: consulting fees from Almirall; LDG: travel grants from Biogen, Novartis, and Teva; LP: consulting fees from Biogen, Novartis and Roche; speaker honoraria from Biogen, Genzyme, Merck Serono, Novartis, and Teva; travel grants from Biogen, Genzyme, Novartis, and Teva; research grants from the Italian MS Society (Associazione Italiana Sclerosi Multipla) and Genzyme; SH, AT, FDL: none to declare.

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Castelli, L., De Giglio, L., Haggiag, S. et al. Premorbid functional reserve modulates the effect of rehabilitation in multiple sclerosis. Neurol Sci (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10072-019-04237-z

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Keywords

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Reserve
  • Rehabilitation