Depressive Symptoms and Falls, Walking Speed, and Cognitive Function in MS

Depressive symptoms may be correlated with falls in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

The study consisted of 147 patients with MS who had at least one complete neuropsychological assessment, which included detailed information on fall history, in addition to measures of depression, motor function, and cognitive processing speed.

Correlations were observed between fall history and higher depressive symptoms as well as poorer overall motor function. When implementing an age-adjusted model, a correlation was observed between higher self-reported depressive symptoms and higher odds of falls in the last year (odds ratio, 1.64; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.16-2.31). Cognitive and motor slowing serially mediated the correlation between depressive symptoms and fall history (estimate, 0.060; 95% CI, 0.01-0.15).

A different study, published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal, examined how depressive symptoms correlated with different MS characteristics, as well as variances by age.

The researchers used the MS Partners Advancing Technology and Health Solutions network of adults with MS to compare the prevalence of depression in this cohort versus non-MS controls by age.

Final analysis consisted of 13,821 patients with MS. Patients with MS had a higher prevalence of depression than the non-MS controls, but rates were similar between men and women across age cohorts. Correlations between depression and processing speed (PST; P for interaction=0.009) and walking speed (P for interaction=0.04) differed by age. Younger patients with depression, compared with younger patients without depression, had 0.45 standard deviation (SD; 95% CI, −0.62 to −0.29) worse PST Z-scores. Among older patients, those with depression had 0.20 SD (95% CI, −0.32 to −0.08) worse PST Z-scores than their non-depressed counterparts.