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Predictors of training-related improvement in visuomotor performance in patients with multiple sclerosis: a behavioural and MRI study

Lipp, Ilona, Foster, Catherine ORCID:, Stickland, Rachael ORCID:, Sgarlata, Eleonora, Tallantyre, Emma C. ORCID:, Davidson, Alison E., Robertson, Neil P. ORCID:, Jones, Derek K. ORCID:, Wise, Richard G. ORCID: and Tomassini, Valentina ORCID: 2021. Predictors of training-related improvement in visuomotor performance in patients with multiple sclerosis: a behavioural and MRI study. Multiple Sclerosis 7 (7) , pp. 1088-1101. 10.1177/1352458520943788

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Background: The development of tailored recovery-oriented strategies in multiple sclerosis requires early identification of an individual’s potential for functional recovery. Objective: To identify predictors of visuomotor performance improvements, a proxy of functional recovery, using a predictive statistical model that combines demographic, clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. Methods: Right-handed multiple sclerosis patients underwent baseline disability assessment and MRI of the brain structure, function and vascular health. They subsequently undertook 4 weeks of right upper limb visuomotor practice. Changes in performance with practice were our outcome measure. We identified predictors of improvement in a training set of patients using lasso regression; we calculated the best performing model in a validation set and applied this model to a test set. Results: Patients improved their visuomotor performance with practice. Younger age, better visuomotor abilities, less severe disease burden and concurrent use of preventive treatments predicted improvements. Neuroimaging localised outcome-relevant sensory motor regions, the microstructure and activity of which correlated with performance improvements. Conclusion: Initial characteristics, including age, disease duration, visuo-spatial abilities, hand dexterity, self-evaluated disease impact and the presence of disease-modifying treatments, can predict functional recovery in individual patients, potentially improving their clinical management and stratification in clinical trials. MRI is a correlate of outcome, potentially supporting individual prognosis.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1352-4585
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 July 2020
Date of Acceptance: 30 June 2020
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 04:31

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