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Questionnaires can be a good predictor of survival rates in multiple sclerosis

The way in which patients with multiple sclerosis answer questionnaires could help to predict their survival rate from the disease, a study has found.

The research, carried out at Imperial College London in collaboration with University Medical Centre Göttingen, shows that MS patients with higher scores on a standardised questionnaire were more likely to die in the next 10 years compared to those who recorded lower scores.

Researchers believe the study is the first to show that such patient-reported outcomes, captured by simple questionnaires, can be used to predict clinical outcomes in neurological diseases, like MS.

They stress that while these tools cannot yet be used to accurately predict individual patients’ survival, at a group level they could help to compare the effectiveness of treatment options, and tailor healthcare to an individual’s needs.

“Our research shows that by answering a set series of questions, patients can have an important role in predicting long-term prognosis in diseases like MS, and that these types of questionnaire should be used by doctors to get a better idea of the patient’s health,” said Dr Joel Raffel, from the Department of Medicine and who led the research, published in PLOS Medicine.