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Phone App Captures Measures of Functional Impairment in MS

Associations between almost all tests with domain-specific standard clinical disability measures were significant

THURSDAY, Aug. 12, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For persons with multiple sclerosis (MS), a smartphone device captures reliable and clinically relevant measures of functional impairment, according to a study published online July 14 in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal.

Xavier Montalban, M.D., Ph.D., from the Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues assessed performance characteristics of the Floodlight Proof-of-Concept study app in a 24-week study involving 76 people with MS and 25 healthy controls. Smartphone-based active tests and passive monitoring assessed cognition, upper-extremity function, and gait and balance. Test-retest reliability and correlations with clinical and magnetic resonance imaging outcome measures were examined using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) and age- or sex-adjusted Spearman’s rank correlation.

The researchers found that across tests, ICCs were moderate to good in persons with MS. For all tests in the cognitive, upper-extremity function, and gait and balance domains, except for the Static Balance Test, the correlations with domain-specific standard clinical disability measures were significant. There were correlations observed for most tests with the Expanded Disability Status Scale, 29-item Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale items or subscales, and/or normalized brain volume.

“The higher temporal resolution and multidimensional feature space of functional data collected by this platform hold the potential to capture subtle, potentially disease-related information which are not readily discriminated by clinician-administered assessments,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to biopharmaceutical companies, including F. Hoffmann-La Roche, which provided study funding.

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