Fatigue in multiple sclerosis is related to relapses, autonomic dysfunctions and introversion: A quasi-experimental study
Number of pages
SourceMultiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, 36, (2019), article 101401
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC NRP
Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders
SubjectNeuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology; Neuro- en revalidatiepsychologie
Background: Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) might be partially due to inflammatory processes. If so, relapses should increase the fatigue level. Methods: Two groups of MS patients participated in this study. One suffered from a relapse and was treated by Methylprednisolone. The other group experienced a deterioration of their neurological condition but no relapse and received neurological rehabilitation. We assessed fatigue before admission, at admission and after discharge (t1, t2, t3). Furthermore, autonomic dysfunctions, depressive mood, apathy and extraversion were assessed at admission. Changes in fatigue were analysed with ANCOVAs and fatigue levels were analysed with regression analyses using clinical data and scores for depressive mood, apathy, extraversion and autonomic dysfunctions. Results: Only patients suffering from a relapse showed a significant increment in fatigue from t1 to t2. Regression analyses revealed that autonomic dysfunctions and introversion best explained the fatigue level. Conclusions: This study shows that a relapse is accompanied by an increase in MS-related fatigue. Moreover, autonomic dysfunctions and introversion, more than depression and apathy, play a major role in the explanation of MS-related fatigue. This finding represents additional evidence for the relationship between inflammation, vagal afferent signaling, autonomic dysfunctions, introversion and the feeling of MS-related fatigue.
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