Cognitive Assessment Linked to Quality of Life in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Performance in daily activities can be predicted using the Brief International Cognitive Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis (BICAMS) assessment, according to a recent study.

Performance in daily activities can be predicted using the Brief International Cognitive Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis (BICAMS) assessment, according to findings published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal.

Researchers from the Kessler Foundation examined 41 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and 32 healthy controls in order to examine whether BICAMS would be able to predict daily living using Actual Reality ™ (AR) in people with MS. The participants were tested with BICAMS. Additionally, their ability to perform AR tasks — such as accessing the internet via the computer and order cookies or airline tickets – were observed by the investigators. The patients’ quality of life, affect symptomology, and prior internet experience were also assessed by the researchers.

The MS patients performed the AR tasks significantly worse than the healthy controls, the researchers reported. Similarly, the MS patients scored significantly worse on the BICAMS test than the healthy controls. The researchers also determined that better BICAMS performance was linked to more independent AR performances. However, self reported quality of life assessment scores were not linked to AR or BICAMS performances.

“Individuals with MS have greater problems with actual everyday life tasks as compared to healthy controls,” the authors explained. “The BICAMS is a promising cognitive screening tool to predict actual functional performance in participants with MS.”

The authors noted that BICAMS have recently been recommended for use in patients diagnosed with MS for their use in screening for cognitive impairments. But, the researchers continued, the link between the BICAMS and daily life activities has not been determined. BICAMS testing is conducted in three parts. First, the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), then the California Verbal Learning Test II, and then the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test (Revised).

“Performance on the BICAMS was worse among the participants with MS and poor performance on BICAMS correlated with poor performance of AR tasks, which require more complex cognitive skills,” ,” study author Yael Goverover, PhD, OT, explained in a press release. “This indicates that BICAMS may be useful for predicting performance on everyday activities, as well as for assessing cognitive abilities. This finding has implications for clinicians who care for individuals with MS in a broad range of settings, especially those with limited access to neuropsychological consultation.”