Progression events defined by home-based assessment of motor function in multiple sclerosis: protocol of a prospective study


  • E.M. Dorsch
  • H.M. Röhling
  • D. Zocholl
  • L. Hafermann
  • F. Paul
  • T. Schmitz-Hübsch


  • Frontiers in Neurology


  • Front Neurol 14: 1258635


  • BACKGROUND: This study relates to emerging concepts of appropriate trial designs to evaluate effects of intervention on the accumulation of irreversible disability in multiple sclerosis (MS). Major starting points of our study are the known limitations of current definitions of disability progression by rater-based clinical assessment and the high relevance of gait and balance dysfunctions in MS. The study aims to explore a novel definition of disease progression using repeated instrumental assessment of relevant motor functions performed by patients in their home setting. METHODS: The study is a prospective single-center observational cohort study with the primary outcome acquired by participants themselves, a home-based assessment of motor functions based on an RGB-Depth (RGB-D) camera, a camera that provides both depth (D) and color (RGB) data. Participants are instructed to perform and record a set of simple motor tasks twice a day over a one-week period every 6 months. Assessments are complemented by a set of questionnaires. Annual research grade assessments are acquired at dedicated study visits and include clinical ratings as well as structural imaging (MRI and optical coherence tomography). In addition, clinical data from routine visits is provided semiannually by treating neurologists. The observation period is 24 months for the primary endpoint with an additional clinical assessment at 27 month to confirm progression defined by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). Secondary analyses aim to explore the time course of changes in motor parameters and performance of the novel definition against different alternative definitions of progression in MS. The study was registered at Deutsches Register für Klinische Studien (DRKS00027042). DISCUSSION: The study design presented here investigates disease progression defined by marker-less home-based assessment of motor functions against 3-month confirmed disease progression (3 m-CDP) defined by the EDSS. The technical approach was chosen due to previous experience in lab-based settings. The observation time per participant of 24, respectively, 27 months is commonly conceived as the lower limit needed to study disability progression. Defining a valid digital motor outcome for disease progression in MS may help to reduce observation times in clinical trials and add confidence to the detection of progression events in MS.