Pain, cognition and quality of life associate with structural measures of brain volume loss in multiple sclerosis

Nora E. Fritz, Snehashis Roy, Jennifer Keller, Jerry Prince, Peter A. Calabresi, Kathleen M. Zackowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by physical and mental impairments that often result in pain and reduced quality of life. OBJECTIVE: To understand the relationship of pain, quality of life, and cognition to structural measures of brain volume. METHODS: Behavioral measures were assessed in a single session using standardized questionnaires and rating scales. Brain volume measures were assessed with structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). RESULTS: Twenty-nine individuals with relapsing-remitting MS and 29 age-matched controls participated in this study. Pain, quality of life, and cognition were significantly interrelated. Higher fluid attenuation inversion recovery weighted lesion volume was significantly associated with increased reports of pain (p=0.01), lower physical quality of life (p<0.0001), and lower cognitive performance (p=0.001) in our cohort. CONCLUSIONS: Assessment of pain and quality of life along with structural MRI highlights the importance of understanding structure-function relationships in MS and suggests that therapists should not only evaluate individuals for cognition and quality of life, but should consider rehabilitation goals that target these areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-544
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 14 2016


  • Multiple Sclerosis, quality of life, pain, cognition, MRI, brain volume, lesion volume

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology

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