Research Highlights: Effects of Covid-19 Pandemic on the Behavior of Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Original Article: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0241103

  • The Covid-19 virus emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019.
  • Covid-19 disease is caused by SARS-CoV-2.
  • Covid-19 became a pandemic in March 2020.
  • The pandemic is still happening and uncertainty circles around the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on patients with chronic diseases.
  • Chronic diseases include autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
  • Multiple sclerosis is a nervous system disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.
  • Multiple sclerosis damages the myelin sheath, the material that surrounds and protects your nerve cells.
  • Multiple sclerosis symptoms include numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of the body at a time, electric-shock sensations that occur with certain neck movements, and lack of coordination or unsteady gait.
  • To diminish the risk of Covid-19 viral infection and lessen the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the healthcare of multiple sclerosis patients, it is essential to understand the knowledge, attitudes, and various behavioral practices related to Covid-19 among multiple sclerosis patients.
  • This study aimed to look at the behavioral practices related to Covid-19 among patients with multiple sclerosis.
  • A total of 176 multiple sclerosis patients diagnosed at least one year before the survey were conveniently sampled online in Saudi Arabia.
  • Patient’s data was collected using a structured interview questionnaire in electronic Google form.
  • Researchers determined the reliability of the questionnaire by measuring its internal consistency in a pilot sample of 30 participants.
  • Overall, more than 80% of participants had good knowledge and attitudes towards Covid-19.
  • However, this did not correlate well with the impact on healthcare.
  • The study revealed that 46% of participants were anxious about taking their medication.
  • The study also revealed 32% of participants missed their hospital appointments.
  • Furthermore, 15% of the participants had a relapse but did not go to the hospital because of the pandemic.
  • 15.9% stopped their therapies.
  • 35.2% missed drug infusions or refills.
  • The study revealed overall good knowledge and attitudes related to Covid-19 among multiple sclerosis patients.
  • However, the healthcare impact was considerable, as 32% of the participants missed their hospital appointments, and another 15% had a relapse.
  • This highlights the significance of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the healthcare of patients with multiple sclerosis.
  • Measures to mitigate the effect of the pandemic on healthcare service delivery to patients with multiple sclerosis, such as telemedicine, should be strongly encouraged.
  • Telemedicine seeks to improve a patient’s health by permitting two-way, real time interactive communication between the patient, and the physician or practitioner at the distant site. 

Source:

Alnajashi H, Jabbad R (2020) Behavioral practices of patients with multiple sclerosis during Covid-19 pandemic. PLoS ONE 15(10): e0241103. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241103

https://medlineplus.gov/multiplesclerosis.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-sclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350269

https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/benefits/telemedicine/index.html


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