Moderating effects of coping on the relationship between stress and the development of new brain lesions in multiple sclerosis.
ABSTRACT Many patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) report that stress can trigger disease exacerbations. Considerable research has supported a relationship between stress and both clinical exacerbation and the development of new brain lesions. However, these relationships are not always consistent either within patients or across patients, suggesting the presence of moderators. This study examined the hypothesis that coping moderates the subsequent relationship between stress and the development of new brain lesions in MS.
Thirty-six patients (mean age = 44.4; 22 women, 14 men) with relapsing forms of MS were assessed once every 4 weeks for 28-100 weeks. New brain lesions were identified using monthly Gd+ MRI. Stress was measured within 24 hours before MRI using a modified version of the Social Readjustment Rating Scale that assessed Conflict and Disruption in Routine. Coping was measured at baseline using the Coping with Health Injuries and Problems questionnaire, which produces four scales: distraction, instrumental, palliative, and emotional preoccupation. Data were analyzed using mixed effects logistic regression to account for within-subject correlations. Analyses were lagged such that stress assessments predicted new Gd+ MRI brain lesions 8 weeks later.
As reported previously, stress was significantly related to the development of new Gd+ brain lesions 8 weeks later (OR = 1.62, p =.009). Greater use of distraction was found to be a significant moderator of the relationship between stress and new Gd+ lesions (OR = 0.69, p =.037) such that greater use of distraction was associated with a decreased relationship between stress and new Gd+ lesions. Increased instrumental coping was marginally associated with a decreased relationship between stress and new Gd+ lesions (OR = 0.77, p =.081), while increased emotional preoccupation was marginally associated with an increased relationship between stress and new Gd+ lesions (OR = 1.46, p =.088). There was no significant moderating effect for palliative coping (p =.27) and no significant main effects for any coping variables and the subsequent development of new Gd+ brain lesions (p values >.21).
These findings provide modest support for the hypothesis that coping can moderate the relationship between stress and the MS disease activity. Several limitations in this study are discussed. While these findings suggest areas of potentially fruitful research, readers are cautioned that these are preliminary results; inferences regarding the clinical importance of these findings are premature.
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ABSTRACT: Previous studies of stress in multiple sclerosis patients have suggested that life events may alter the onset and development of MS. However, results have been inconsistent because of infrequent monitoring and reporting bias. We followed fifty female MS patients for 1 year to determine characteristics of life events associated with MS exacerbations, and examine the influence of cardiovascular activity. Subjects completed weekly life-event checklists. The short- and long-term threat of each event was determined using the Life Events and Difficulties Schedule. Neurologic symptoms were also monitored weekly. MS exacerbations were confirmed by a neurologist blinded to psychosocial events. Cardiovascular reactivity to an acute psychological stressor was determined at study onset, and resting heart rate and blood pressure were monitored monthly. Forty-two percent of life events were associated with exacerbations in the subsequent 6 weeks. Logistic regression confirmed that exacerbations were more likely during at-risk periods following life events and were relatively independent of the threat level and type of stressor. Participants with higher cardiovascular reactivity to acute stress and higher baseline heart rate demonstrated a greater number of exacerbations and proportion of weeks ill. Using multiple regression, we found that disability level, medication usage, cardiovascular reactivity, baseline heart rate, and life event density explained approximately 30% of the variance in the proportion of weeks ill. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that stress is a potential trigger of MS disease activity and suggest that autonomic tone and stress reactivity may play a role in the development of stress-related exacerbations.Brain Behavior and Immunity 06/2003; 17(3):141-151. DOI:10.1016/S0889-1591(03)00047-3 · 6.13 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Als »Matratzengruft« hatte der Dichter Heinrich Heine seine letzte Bleibe 1856 beschrieben und seinen Zustand als ein Unleben, das nicht zu ertragen sei. Seine Multiple Sklerose hatte ihn ans Bett gefesselt, ihn seiner Autonomie beraubt und ihm die Lebenslust entrissen.
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ABSTRACT: Depression-be it a formal diagnosis based on consensus clinical criteria, or a collection of symptoms revealed by a self-report rating scale-is common in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and adds substantially to the morbidity and mortality associated with this disease. This Review discusses the prevalence and epidemiology of depression in patients with MS, before covering aetiological factors, including genetics, brain pathology, immunological changes, dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and psychosocial influences. Treatment options such as antidepressant drugs, cognitive-behavioural therapy, mindfulness-based therapy, exercise and electroconvulsive therapy are also reviewed in the context of MS-related depression. Frequent comorbid conditions, namely pain, fatigue, anxiety, cognitive dysfunction and alcohol use, are also summarized. The article then explores three key challenges facing researchers and clinicians: what is the optimal way to define depression in the context of diseases such as MS, in which the psychiatric and neurological symptoms overlap; how can current knowledge about the biological and psychological underpinnings of MS-related depression be used to boost the validity of this construct; and can intervention be made more effective through use of combination therapies with additive or synergistic effects, which might exceed the modest benefits derived from their individual components?Nature Reviews Neurology 08/2014; 10(9). DOI:10.1038/nrneurol.2014.139 · 14.10 Impact Factor