Pittsburgh-based Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is conducting a pilot study to ascertain whether it is possible to predict good days and bad days for people who have multiple sclerosis, thereby helping them improve their quality of life.
Nearly 100 participants in a recently completed four-week pilot program provided meaningful data by completing a daily journal and wearing a body sensor patch. The goal of the pilot program is to help determine if factors such as weather, activity levels and sleep can help predict the onset of fatigue.
"We want to see if those symptoms are actually not as unpredictable as once thought," said Highmark vice president Paul Puopolo. "Highmark is the only organization approaching fatigue from a lifestyle-based process. This is a program that could change lives. It would be a forecast, not a cure, and it wouldn't be a 100 percent sure thing. But if it works, it could give those with MS just a little more control of their lives and their disease.
"Any indicators or predictors that emerge from the pilot could help people with MS forecast when they could be affected by their symptoms. It would give them the chance to proactively plan around potential fatigue spells, have a higher degree of control and plan their most important activities for what would be anticipated to be successful days."
Data from the study is being analyzed and Highmark expects to know the results within the next few months.
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