A new study published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology found that sleep disturbances may play a major role in secondary fatigue in multiple sclerosis (MS).

An MS researcher at the Kessler Foundation, Lauren Strober, PhD, conducted a study in 107 patients aged 20–64 from local MS clinics and chapters of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society throughout the country.All participants were employed with a definite MS diagnosis. They all completed an online survey that measured disease variables, psychological functioning, well-being, health behaviors, adjustment and coping to MS, and overall quality of life. Sixty-one percent of patients were classified as “poor sleepers,” and 25% of those MS individuals were experiencing secondary fatigue due to sleep disturbances and another 7% were affected by depression.

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Dr. Strober notes MS-related fatigue is a common and disabling symptom for patients with MS. Finding out what contributes to this fatigue can improve quality of life and keep people engaged in activities. She added, “Routine screening for sleep problems and treatment of sleep disturbances may reduce fatigue and its debilitating effects.” Further research is needed to obtain objective measurement of sleep and fatigue rather than reliance on self-report measures.

For more information visit KesslerFoundation.org.