More MS news articles for June 2001

Comparisons of patient self-report, neurologic examination, and functional impairment in MS

Neurology 2001;56:934-937
© 2001 American Academy of Neurology

E.L.J. Hoogervorst, MD;, L.M.L. van Winsen, MD;, M.J. Eikelenboom, MD;, N.F. Kalkers, MD;, B.M.J. Uitdehaag, MD; and C.H. Polman, MD

From the Departments of Neurology (Drs. Hoogervorst, van Winsen, Eikelenboom, Kalkers, Uitdehaag, and Polman) and Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Dr. Uitdehaag), Academic Hospital, Free University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Hoogervorst, Academic Hospital "Vrije Universiteit," Department of Neurology, Postbox 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, the Netherlands; e-mail:


To compare the recently developed Guy’s Neurologic Disability Scale (GNDS), based on patient self-report, with both neurologist rating of neurologic examination abnormalities using the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and observations of functional impairment on the Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite (MSFC) in the assessment of disease impact in MS.


Two hundred ninety MS patients were recruited at an outpatient clinic. Impairment and disability were assessed using GNDS, EDSS, and MSFC. Correlations between GNDS, EDSS, MSFC, and their corresponding components were studied for the total population, MS phenotypes, and three disability strata.


Mean scores were 4.6 (SD, 2.0) for EDSS, 0.0 (SD, 0.8) for MSFC, and 14.6 (SD, 7.9) for GNDS. Good correlations were found between GNDS and EDSS (r = 0.73), between GNDS and MSFC (r = -0.68), and between different subcategories of the GNDS and EDSS, MSFC, and their corresponding components. Remarkably good correlations were found between lower limb function and all three scales. Poor correlations were also found, especially between different measurements focusing on cognitive function.


The good correlations between GNDS and both EDSS and MSFC were mainly due to the importance of spinal-cord–related neurologic functions in all three scoring systems. A marked discrepancy was found for the assessment of cognition between objective measurements and subjective complaints. Because patients’ self-reporting correlates well with results of physical examination, GNDS can offer a valuable way to measure disease impact in MS. However, GNDS is not an adequate screen of cognitive dysfunction.