A new website, launched today by Royal Holloway on behalf of the BICAMS committee, will equip health professionals with the right tools to assist people with multiple sclerosis to understand their difficulties with memory and concentration.
Often called "MS fog," 50% of people with the disease experience these symptoms, which negatively affect quality of life, including family life, employment, leisure activities, driving safety and effective management of the disease.
"Assessment of these conditions is not currently available outside of specialist centres in any country," said Professor Dawn Langdon from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway who co-chairs the committee. "This website will significantly open up access for health professionals, leading to better treatment for patients. It is our hope that every person with MS will have access to cognitive assessment and effective management of their condition."
The BICAMS (Brief International Cognitive Assessment for MS) committee of 12 international experts identified a 15 minute cognitive assessment which can be used worldwide.
Health professionals using the website can input their patients' tests scores and in return receive information about their level of performance. The anonymised data will be saved and used to understand more about the cognitive difficulties experienced by people with MS. Many countries are contributing to the project, including the US, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Canada and the UK.
Co-chair Professor Ralph Benedict from Buffalo University in New York said: "This is a unique opportunity to collect data on MS cognition from all over the world, to increase our understanding and improve the assessment and management that we can offer MS patients."
The website is now live at: www.bicams.net/ and has received sponsorship from Bayer Healthcare.