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Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence

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Multiple Sclerosis, Cognitive Dysfunction, and Daily Living

Aaron Turner answers the question, "Why be concerned about cognitive dysfunction?" Cognitive function is very related both to activities of daily living and quality of life. For example, work status and work performance is particularly important to people in their younger years. A study published in 2001 looked at individuals with MS over a period of 10 years. Only 10% of the people who did not report cognitive impairment said they stopped or modified their work at ten year follow-up. In contrast, 70% of cognitively impaired individuals stated they had to stop or modify their work. Also, cognitive impairment impacts social functioning.

The same study asked the question, "How much has your social contact been severely limited by MS?" Only 10% of people with no cognitive impairment reported their social contacts were severely limited. In contrast, over 70% of those who were cognitively impaired reported MS had a significant impact on their social contact. And there is evidence that cognitive impairment can affect people's abilities to self-manage, including taking medications as prescribed.
(6 minutes)

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