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Mult Scler. 2011 Jul;17(7):876-84. doi: 10.1177/1352458511398370. Epub 2011 Mar 3.

Patient reported outcomes in benign multiple sclerosis.

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Partners Multiple Sclerosis Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical Institute, Brookline, MA 02445, USA.



Benign MS patients have a mild course of disease and show no or minimal accumulation of disability over time. Little is known about the patient reported outcomes (PROs) in benign MS.


The objective of the study was to compare PROs in benign MS patients and patients with similar disease duration or disability status, and to investigate how the definition of benign MS affected this outcome.


Two groups of Benign MS patients (disease duration ≥15 years, Expanded Disability Status Scale [EDSS] score ≤1.5 [Benign-1.5], or ≤3.0 [Benign-3]) were compared with four other MS groups: disease duration ≥15 years, EDSS score >3.0 (Late-MS); disease duration <15 years, and EDSS score ≤1.5 (Low-EDSS-1.5), or ≤3.0 (Low-EDSS-3); disease duration ≤5 years (Early-MS). PROs included measures of QOL, fatigue, depression, and social support. Cognitive function was also assessed.


Both benign groups had better PROs than Late MS patients on all measures (p < 0.05). QOL, depression, and fatigue were significantly different between Benign-1.5 and Early-MS groups (p < 0.01). Benign-1.5 had higher mental health QOL than Low EDSS-1.5, but was otherwise similar. Benign-3 patients had worse depression than Early-MS (p < 0.01), and worse cognition compared with Low-EDSS-3 (p = 0.033). Benign-1.5 had higher QOL and lower fatigue (p < 0.005) than Benign-2-3, and showed a marginally significant difference in cognitive functioning (p = 0.055).


Patients with benign MS had better PROs than other groups of MS patients, suggesting that both disease duration and disability influence PROs. The study also showed a difference in PROs based on the way benign MS was defined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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