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CMSC 2023 | CASA-MS research project updates

Alexander Burnham, MS, CCC-SLP, MSCS, The Boston Home, Dorchester, MA, describes the findings of the comprehensive assessment of severely affected multiple sclerosis (CASA-MS) program. CASA-MS compared existing MRI images of patients with different forms of MS, with the aim of predicting which patients would develop mild or aggressive forms of the condition. Images of 53 patients with advanced MS were compared to 53 age- and sex-matched controls with milder MS. The study suggested that MS disability is linked to grey matter lesions – the nerve cells that interpret sensory signals and act on muscle cells. Genome sequencing and the presence of biomarkers from blood were also analyzed, but there were no major statistical differences. Clinicians hope to continue to Phase II of the study, where higher resolution scans will be utilized, with an additional scan 12 months after the first. Dr Burnham also discusses a newly developed tool that only asks questions out loud, making it suitable for people who cannot write or are blind. This could be used as a brief repeatable screening tool to track cognitive changes in people with progressive MS. This interview took place at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) Congress 2023 in Aurora, CO.

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Alexander Burnham is a salaried employee of the Boston Home, Inc, the primary clinical site where he completes outcomes research.