Aging makes me prone to halting the day-to-day rush, to turning around and contemplating my life trajectory as well as that of my loved ones. Having been in practice for more than 25 years, I have seen some of my long-term patients go through major inflections in their life trajectories, at times trying to help them through difficult transitions. It is, therefore, not a coincidence that I recently became aware of the life course perspective and its applications in health research. The life course perspective has been developed and used in diverse fields, including anthropology, sociology, social history, and psychology. It struck me that a chronic neurologic condition such as multiple sclerosis (MS) would lend itself to life course research: It involves genetic and environmental factors; is often diagnosed in early adulthood; causes lifelong and, in many cases, progressive symptoms and activity limitations; and has a complex web of contributors to disability, such as comorbidities. Yet, my very cursory bibliography search yielded very few relevant articles. The International Journal of MS Care (IJMSC) prides itself on welcoming manuscripts about emerging topics related to the multidisciplinary care of MS. As we enter a new year, I encourage our readers to consider using the prism of the life course perspective in their investigation of the comprehensive care of MS.
In keeping with the exploration of the lifetime impact of MS, this month’s continuing education article by O’Mahony and collaborators proposes strategies to enhance the health-related quality of life of children with MS and their parents, rooted in theoretical and clinical practice considerations. At the other end of the age spectrum, Motl and Baird report a cross-sectional association between physical activity and the physical dimension of health-related quality of life in individuals with MS aged 55 years and older. If, as the research leads us to believe, physical activity has an effect on quality of life, the detailed recommendations from Fakolade and colleagues could help clinicians design interventions to promote such activities for those with moderate to severe disability from MS, who are known to face multiple barriers, while also engaging their care partners in the process.
Investigating, and hopefully alleviating, the consequences of MS over a lifetime requires psychometrically sound and clinically meaningful outcome measures. This issue proposes elements of validity and reliability for the Multiple Sclerosis Resiliency Scale (Gromisch and colleagues), the Patient-Determined Disease Steps scale (Marrie and colleagues), and pinch strength measurements (Squillace and colleagues, focusing on adolescents with MS).
It is always a special pleasure for me to announce a manuscript focused on speech and language rehabilitation in MS, a topic too rarely addressed in the scientific literature. Crispiatico and colleagues, in their secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial of voice therapy in MS, found that the type of intervention and the individual’s level of fatigue were the top predictors of benefit.
I would be remiss if I didn’t extend a warm welcome to our newest editorial board member, Evan Cohen, PhD, MS, PT, NCS. He recently joined Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania, as an associate professor. Among his many contributions to MS rehabilitation, he was a coauthor of the seminal publication on the recommendations from the American Physical Therapy Association Neurology Section Task Force regarding outcome measures for individuals with MS. We look forward to his continued support of innovation in MS neurorehabilitation within our journal.
The 2023 IJMSC theme issue will focus on caregivers (or care partners) of individuals with MS, essential care team members. We welcome the submission of manuscripts relevant to the many facets and impacts of caregiving.
On behalf of our editorial and publishing team: Happy New Year!