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Publish Date: August 26th, 2022


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic illness in which the body’s immune system attacks myelin, the substance that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers of the central nervous system. The result is a disabling disease that causes damage to the brain and spinal cord over time. Symptoms vary from mild to severe and can include paralysis and loss of vision. MS impacts over 2.3 million people across the world, the majority being women, who are most often diagnosed between 20-50 years of age.  Although disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) became available in the 1990s, to date there remains no cure.

Once diagnosed, clinicians use the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) to evaluate and measure functional levels in MS patients. Scores can help determine levels of care and treatment needed. The EDSS considers impairment in seven functional systems on an ordinal scale, with scores ranging from 0 to 10 in 0.5 increments.  A score of 0 indicates normal neurological status while scores of 6 and higher indicate the need for increasing ambulatory aid.  Although widely used in clinical trials and despite its importance in monitoring disease progression, use of the EDSS in routine clinical practice is limited due to the time required to complete the scale and the complexity of scoring.

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