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MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS
NEWS

Majority of People With MS Report Communication Changes

Posted on October 13, 2021
Medically reviewed by
Amit M. Shelat, D.O.
Article written by
Torrey Kim

  • A new study investigates the impact of communication changes in the lives of people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • The majority of study participants with MS indicated they have experienced issues with language and verbal communication since being diagnosed with the condition.
  • The study’s authors call for more awareness about the option of speech-language pathology services for those with MS.

Living with multiple sclerosis can lead to a wide variety of symptoms. Among those that could impact quality of life are communication issues, according to a new study.

A team of scientists from Australia’s University of Sydney reviewed online questionnaires from 260 people with MS to evaluate whether they experienced any changes that affected their ability to communicate. The study authors found that the majority of participants — 75.8 percent — said they had experienced communication changes, such as:

  • Language changes
  • Cognitive shifts
  • Speech changes (known as dysarthria)
  • Voice issues
  • Fluency changes

Stress, heat, and fatigue were among the factors that influenced communication changes, the study participants reported. Although the majority of study participants did indicate that they were affected by communication problems, just 11.2 percent had accessed services provided by speech-language pathologists, the researchers said.

Communication issues can have an impact far beyond simply being another MS symptom. In daily life, problems with communicating were found to affect participants’ interpersonal relationships, psychological well-being, career pathways, workforce identity, and social lives.

The study authors concluded that the health care community should work harder to raise awareness of how speech-language pathology services can help those with MS manage changes in communication. Helping people with MS navigate these issues when they arise could reduce the impact of communication changes on other areas of life.

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.
Amit M. Shelat, D.O. is a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and the American College of Physicians. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about him here.
Torrey Kim is a freelance writer with MyHealthTeam. Learn more about her here.

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