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Variety of self-help interventions improve quality of life for people with MS

Canadian researchers summarise the various self-help techniques that improve quality of life for people with MS

This systematic review of the research evidence from McGill University in Canada examined the specific health interventions that have been used to make a difference to quality of life (QOL) in people with MS.

To do this, the researchers chose the appropriate research methods to study all the high quality papers that have previously been published where QOL has been measured as an outcome.

The findings are very important. They show that self-management produces a small but definite improvement in QOL; these self-management approaches include health promotion education and chronic disease self-management courses.

The medications tested in these studies were those for specific MS symptoms, not the disease-modifying drugs like the interferons. The study showed that these medications also have a small but significant benefit on QOL, particularly levetiracetam for control of neuropathic pain.

Cognitive training has a moderate effect on QOL, particularly memory and attention training, as does exercise, with resistance and aerobic training having the biggest effects.

Surprisingly perhaps, psychological interventions have the biggest and most significant effect on QOL; the interventions include cognitive behaviour therapy and mindfulness meditation. Interestingly, the biggest effect of all the interventions overall is from mindfulness meditation.

For those of you who have adopted all the aspects of the OMS program, but found meditation too hard, it might be worth reconsidering, given the potentially enormous proven benefits of this therapy. 

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