Age & MS Status Independently Impact HRQOL
Data indicate that individuals with MS experience decreased HRQOL compared with the general population, but research is lacking on changes in MS as a function of aging. To investigate this relationship, researchers examined HRQOL across the adult lifespan among patients with MS (N=206) and healthy controls (N=93). The study team categorized both patients with MS and healthy controls into three age groups: young (20-39), middle-aged (40-59), and older (60-79). Participants completed a series of questionnaires that included the SF-36 as a measure of HRQOL, and the researchers computed composite physical and mental HRQOL scores from the SF-36. No overall interaction was seen for HRQOL scores (V=0.002; F4,586=0.165), but there were main effects seen for group (MS vs control: V=0.217; F2,292=40.48; P<0.001) and age (V=0.078; F4,586=5.92; P<0.001) on HRQOL scores. The primary effect of group suggested a large difference in Physical Composite Scores and a modest difference in Mental Composite Scores for those with MS compared with controls. The primary effect of age suggested that, as patients age, Physical Composite Scores went down and Mental Composite Scores went up, regardless of group. The results indicate that HRQOL is impacted independently by age and MS status; the researchers noted that future studies should include interventions, such as physical activity, for decreasing the effects on MS status of HRQOL across the lifespan.