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Neurotherapeutics. 2015 Apr;12(2):394-402. doi: 10.1007/s13311-014-0322-x.

Patient-Perceived Outcomes and Quality of Life in ALS.

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Department of Neurology, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, EC 037, Hershey, PA, 17033, USA,


A variety of outcome measures are used in clinical practice and in research to assess patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, there may be discordance between traditional outcome measures such as strength and physical function, and patient-perceived measures of well-being. One such self-perceived measure, reflecting the patient's view, is quality of life (QOL). QOL in patients with severe medical disorder is often underestimated by others. Patients with ALS often have high QOL, and this may persist throughout the disease due to shifting expectations and to reprioritization of factors contributing to QOL. QOL instruments can measure health-related QOL (HRQOL) or global QOL, and can be generic or disease-specific. HRQOL refers primarily to physical and mental health. Global QOL is much broader, and is also determined by non-health-related factors. The choice of a QOL instrument depends on whether the setting is routine patient care or clinical research, whether or not the outcome of a specific intervention is being assessed, and upon the expected efficacy or toxicity of the intervention. Global QOL instruments are best for individual clinical patient care or for comparing groups. HRQOL or a combination of HRQOL and global QOL instruments are most appropriate for assessing specific interventions.

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