Baetge SJ, Filser M, Renner A, Raithel LM, Lau S, Pöttgen J, Penner IK.

Objective: We aimed at examining the effects of a known metacognitive training in MS (MaTiMS) and its modification with an additional neuroeducational module and mindfulness-based exercises (MaTiMS-modified) on neuropsychiatric and cognitive outcomes in people with progressive multiple sclerosis (pwpMS). Exploratively, we investigated whether the modification may show an additional benefit. Methods: Both interventions were administered in small groups of ambulatory patients. Neuropsychological testing before and after the 3- to 4-week intervention phase comprised patient reported outcomes and cognitive tests. After 3, 6 and 12 months, participants completed online surveys. Analysis of change scores (between baseline and retest) with t-tests (Mann-Whitney U and Wilcoxon tests, respectively) and mixed ANCOVAs with repeated measures for comparison of both interventions were conducted. Results: A total of 65 pwpMS turned to a final sample of 50 (n = 15 excluded due to drop-outs, occurrence of relapse or steroid treatment). Change scores within MaTiMS revealed no significant effect on the PDQ-20 total score and only a significant effect on the subscale retrospective memory lasting 3 months with a moderate effect size. In contrast, MaTiMS-modified revealed a highly significant change in PDQ-20 total compared to baseline and significant improvements with small to moderate effect sizes on all PDQ-20 subscales (lasting until 3 months), in self-efficacy, stress, visuo-spatial working memory (moderate effect sizes), and fatigue (small effect size). While no interaction effect between time and group could be revealed, a significant main effect for time was found in PDQ-20 total. Conclusion: Both MaTiMS and MaTiMS-modified positively affected perceived cognitive deficits. However, our data speak in favor of additional benefits by adding neuroeducational and mindfulness-based exercises thus being valuable methods to support brain health including self-efficacy, perceived stress, and fatigue, even in patients with a chronic and progressive brain disease.

Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2023 Sep;94(9):718-725.

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