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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, Stickland, Rachael, Sgarlata, Eleonora, Tallantyre, Emma C., Davidson, Alison E., Robertson, Neil P., Jones, Derek K., Wise, Richard G. and Tomassini, Valentina 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: 28 Mar 2022 10:35

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