SDMT effective in differentiating employment status in MS

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SDMT effective in differentiating employment status in MS

Postby MSUK » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:50 am

SDMT effective in differentiating employment status in MS individuals

Researchers at Kessler Foundation have studied the measurement tools used in multiple sclerosis for their effectiveness in predicting employment status. They compared the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), the Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite (MSFC), the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (PASAT), and the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), and found the SDMT effective in differentiating employed from unemployed individuals. The article, Unemployment in multiple sclerosis (MS): utility of the MS Functional Composite and cognitive testing, was published in the January 2014 issue of Multiple Sclerosis Journal (doi: 10.1177/1352458513488235). The authors are Lauren Strober, PhD, Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, Nancy Moore, PhD, and John DeLuca, PhD, of Kessler Foundation..... Read More - http://www.ms-uk.org/cognition
MS-UK - http://www.ms-uk.org/
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Re: SDMT effective in differentiating employment status in M

Postby DrGeoff » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:06 pm

Not what one would call a very surprising result.

The Kurtz EDSS is biased toward the ability of the patient to walk - which will only affect some types of employment.

The PASAT is actually part of the MSFC, so either the MSFC was not administered completely, or one of it's three components was administered a second time. This could well influence any results.

The SDMT is a very widely used test for a whole range of neurological disabilities from Dyslexia on up. Its big problem is that it is particularly sensitive to age and educational experience, and I would think that these would be good predictors of employment status for a wide range of conditions (not just MS).
To say that it is the only predictor of employment status, with an accuracy of 67 %, is a fancy way of saying that the study did not produce any useful data - 67% is not a lot better than chance in terms of probability.

This has all the signs of a "scatter-gun" study - throw a set of tests at two groups of subjects and hope that something significant come out.

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Re: SDMT effective in differentiating employment status in M

Postby centenarian100 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:39 pm

I know a better method than the SDMT or PASAT

just ask the patient, "Hey. You got a job?"
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Re: SDMT effective in differentiating employment status in M

Postby DrGeoff » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:05 pm

That's not a psychometric test, that's a survey.

The Kessler Foundation are a respected organization in the field of unemployment, but this study does give out the feeling that it was done just to get another report out.

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