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Cleveland Clinic Uses iPad as Assessment Tool for MS Patients


As reported in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), researchers at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio have found a way to use an Apple iPad to perform an array of tests related to MS assessment. As a person living with MS knows, being able to track how the disease affects an individual is a critical part of MS management.

The assessment is done by attaching the iPad to the back of a patient while having him/her walk and balance. Then, the app within provides precise data on posture. As another feature, a specially built attachment that sits on top of the iPad’s screen allows for dexterity testing. Using metal pegs, the patient switches between different holes as requested by a therapist, and the iPad software tracks the timing of the pegs being moved, translating that into an objective evaluation of dexterity. Also included are an eye test that analyzes low contrast vision and a simple cognitive processing test to get an idea of how well the brain is working.

Regarding the tests, researchers said, “This test, called the Multiple Sclerosis Performance Test (MSPT), represents a new approach to quantifying MS-related disability. The MSPT takes advantage of advances in computer technology, information technology, biomechanics, and clinical measurement science. MSPT scores were highly reproducible, correlated strongly with technician-administered test scores, discriminated MS from HC and severe from mild MS, and correlated with patient reported outcomes. Measures of reliability, sensitivity, and clinical meaning for MSPT scores were favorable compared with technician-based testing. The MSPT is a potentially transformative approach for collecting MS disability outcome data for patient care and research.”

The Cleveland Clinic team affirms that with neuroperformance testing increasingly applied in MS and other chronic neurological and neuropsychological disorders, MSPT could have the same effect on clinical care as standardized computer testing for those with MS.

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