Monday, June 29, 2015

Unemployed Persons with MS Perceive Greater Cognitive Dysfunction

A recent Dutch study examined the relationship between subjective and objective executive functioning and employment status in relapsing-remitting MS patients (n=55; 85 percent female; mean age: 47 years; 36 percent employed). Patients underwent neurological, cognitive and psychological assessments at their homes, including an extensive battery of executive tests.

Compared to employed patients, those who were unemployed experienced:
  • Longer disease duration
  • Higher distractibility; difficulty sustaining attention
  • More cognitive fatigue
  • More difficulties with organizing and planning (reported by 60 percent of the unemployed patients, but only 25 percent of employed patients)
The employed group consisted of RRMS patients who had a paid job (n=20), either full-time (15 percent), part-time (55 percent), or less than 12 hours a week (25 percent). The unemployed group consisted of patients without a paid job, including homemakers, volunteers, patients receiving disability or unemployment benefits, patients on prolonged medical leave, or early retirement.

Researchers observed below average executive performance in 4-51 percent of the RRMS patients on some aspect of executive functioning, with the highest percentages related to decreased processing speed (in 20 percent of patients) and impaired performance related to visuospatial memory and response (in 51 percent). Possible influential factors such as age, educational level, physical functioning, and self-reported depression, anxiety, physical and social fatigue did not differ between groups.

Read this post in its entirety:
Employment and MS: Self-Reported Cognitive Problems in the Unemployed

1 comment:

  1. So which came first the Cognitive issues or the unemployment? As a former exec (MBA) I know that I now cannot consistently perform at the same level as I did prior to MS...processing speed slowdown parallels fatigue. Notice they left out verbal skills...