Motor Versus Cognitive Fatigue: Comparing Impact on QOL in MS

Both motor and cognitive fatigue have an effect on quality of life (QOL) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), but their impacts are different, a study found.

The study included patients with MS who completed two fatigue questionnaires (Fatigue Scale for Motor and Cognitive Functions [FSMC] and Modified Fatigue Impact Scale [MFIS]) and one QOL questionnaire (Short Form-36). Patients’ records were queried to collect Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores.

Final analysis included 79 patients with a median age of 44 years, disease duration of nine years, and EDSS score of 2.5; 90% of patients had relapsing/remitting MS. When using the FSMC’s sum score cutoff points, 84% of patients were fatigued; when using MFIS, 63% of patients were fatigued.

Both fatigue scores were significantly associated with all areas of QOL (P<0.05), even when adjusting for age, disease duration, and EDSS score. When the two types of fatigue were evaluated separately, cognitive fatigue was primarily correlated with mental health aspects of QOL, while motor fatigue largely correlated with physical health aspects of QOL.

“This [study] underlines the need for proper assessment of fatigue through the use of subjective, patient-reported measures, in order to get a holistic view of the disease impact, which builds the foundation for development of appropriate and specific treatment interventions. These findings encourage further research in the field,” the study authors concluded.