People with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience reduced income and earning potential as their mobility impairment increases, according to data collected from more than 8,100 participants of the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS) database, a worldwide self-reported MS patient registry.

“Approximately half of the people with MS will have mobility impairment within 15 years of their disease onset, and MS often affects people early in life during their most economically productive years," says Timothy L. Vollmer, MD, director of the NARCOMS project and professor, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. “People with MS typically develop increasing mobility impairment as their disease progresses, which can significantly impact their socioeconomic status, affecting their ability to stay in the workforce and to provide for their families."

Among the study’s key findings were:

-While there was increasing unemployment and drop in income as people experienced progression of mobility impairment, the greatest changes in income levels occurred when people with MS went from normal mobility to minimal mobility impairment.
-Reduction in both full- and part-time employment was observed with increasing levels of mobility impairment.
-The average age of respondents was 53.8 years old; some two-thirds (65.9%) reported being completely unemployed.
-The effect of mobility loss on income appeared to be greater among people with higher levels of education.

Data for the study included responses from 8,180 people with MS who completed fall 2006 and spring 2007 NARCOMS surveys, including questions on demographics and socioeconomic status. The study incorporated a cross-sectional data analysis of the relationship between socioeconomic factors and disability scales as measured by: the Patient Determined Disease Steps (PDDS), a validated 9-point measure similar to the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), a widely-used measure of disease-related disability; the Mobility Subscale of Performance Scales, where 0 = no disability and 6 = total disability; and demographic information such as employment, health insurance status, education level, income level, marital status, gender, and age.

[removed]NARCOMS is a project of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC)[/removed], which was was initiated in 1993 by the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC). As of December 2008, the number of Registry enrollments has reached 34,000 and new participants are joining every day. For more information on the NARCOMS registry, click here.

The study was supported by Acorda Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing therapies for spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and related nervous system disorders.

[Source: Acorda Therapeutics]