(HealthDay News) – For patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), Timed 25-Foot Walk (T25FW) benchmarks of ≥6 seconds (6–7.99 seconds) and ≥8 seconds are clinically meaningful, according to a study published online Oct. 30 in Neurology.

Myla D. Goldman, MD, from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and colleagues identified candidate clinically meaningful T25FW benchmarks in 159 MS patients and prospectively validated them in 95 subjects using 13 measures of ambulation and cognition, patient-reported outcomes, and optical coherence tomography.

The researchers found that a change in occupation due to MS, occupational disability, walking with a cane, and needing “some help” with instrumental activities of daily living correlated with a T25F of 6–7.99 seconds. Collecting Supplemental Security Income and government health care, walking with a walker, and inability to do instrumental activities of daily living correlated with a T25F ≥8 seconds. Data were stratified by T25FW benchmarks (<6 seconds, 6–7.99 seconds, and ≥8 seconds) in prospective validation and group main effects were identified in 12 of the 13 objective and subjective measures (P<0.05).

“Longitudinal and larger studies are needed to confirm the clinical utility and relevance of these proposed T25FW benchmarks and to parse out whether there are additional benchmarks in the lower (<6 seconds) and higher (>10 seconds) ranges of performance,” the authors conclude.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Biogen Idec, which partially funded the study.

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