M. ALISSA WILLIS, MD
Leo Tolstoy wrote, “Spring is the time of plans and projects.” Though this frequently quoted line from Anna Karenina may seem cliché, it rings true for me as an academic neurologist. There is a predictable cycle to each year: we welcome a new class of residents and students in July, interview for the next class during the winter, and start planning for graduation and the new academic year in March. Our International Journal of MS Care (IJMSC) editorial and publishing team members also have been busy making plans and completing projects. Readers who have followed us for several years may have noticed the evolution of the print issue’s colors, text, and style. We are working to get manuscripts to publication faster while maintaining high-quality peer review and the diversity of topics related to multidisciplinary multiple sclerosis (MS) care. The 2023 IJMSC theme issue is scheduled for November/December, but it is already taking shape. “The Role of the Care Partner” will be led by guest editor Marcia Finlayson, PhD, OT Reg (Ont), OTR. We welcome submission of manuscripts related to caregivers in MS.
Although we are planning an entire issue focused on care partners, we recognize that the impact of parental MS on children and adolescents is often overlooked. Haker and colleagues remind us that children can be both positively and negatively affected by a parent’s illness. Further work is needed to understand factors contributing to the psychosocial impact on the family but, clearly, family dynamics should be considered in a holistic assessment of quality of life (QOL) in MS. Freeman and colleagues looked at another important aspect of QOL when they analyzed outcomes and health care service utilization in individuals older than 50 years with MS. Among other findings, their work showed that infections were more frequent in the aging MS cohort compared with controls. Although not a surprising finding, the infection risk underscores the importance of encouraging vaccinations when appropriate. Interprofessional collaboration on vaccination practices, as Reindel and colleagues demonstrate, can improve adherence to recommendations and ensure that this important contributor to QOL is addressed.
Assessing fall risk is also important in a holistic QOL assessment. Again, interprofessional collaboration is needed to guide best practices in fall risk assessment and prevention. This month’s continuing education article by McArthur and colleagues describes a personalized online intervention to prevent falls in individuals who use wheelchairs or scooters. Edwards and colleagues report on fall risk assessment in a more ambulatory MS cohort. Backward walking (BW) speed could be a quick fall prediction tool in MS as it is in other neurological populations. BW interventions already used for other neurologic conditions may also benefit individuals with MS, according to work done by DelMastro and colleagues. Fatigue can impact the success of a BW rehab program or any physical intervention in MS. Ware and colleagues bring us back to interprofessional collaboration in their mixed method assessment of interoceptive and emotional contributors to fatigue and implications for developing an exercise plan.
Multiple sclerosis rehabilitation is increasingly complex, as you can see from many of our recently published issues. Translating this new knowledge into practice will be the theme of the upcoming annual meeting of our European partners, Rehabilitation in Multiple Sclerosis, which will be held May 4–6, 2023 in Genoa, Italy.
In addition, the IJMSC team is working on several projects for the upcoming Consortium of MS Centers annual meeting. We hope that you will join us in Aurora, Colorado, May 31–June 3, 2023!