After comparing changes in grip strength in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to other assessment tools currently used, such as the timed 25-foot walk and Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score, researchers have found that hand function has a strong correlation with quality of life measures in people with MS.
In a five year study of 61 MS patients (37 relapsing remitting, 24 secondary progressive), researchers found that both weaker and dominate hand grip strength correlated significantly with slower timed 25-foot walk time.
Following adjustment for age, disease subtype, symptom duration and sex, the scientists observed a marginally statistically significant annual decline of 0.68 pounds in weaker hand grip function and of 0.78 pounds in dominant hand function. They also noted a small but important rate of decline in dominant hand function in progressive patients.
Dr Meghan Romba, MD, Neuroimmunology and her team believe further studies in MS patients are warranted to establish monitoring grip strength as a clinical outcome measure, as well as establish a minimal clinically important change in grip strength.
Source: MS-UK (06/06/17)