As our first funding project, ARMS founders responded to a very practical need: how to help the researchers working on a study to discover how to help people with MS remain in the workforce longer speed up the research process so their findings could be published sooner?
We felt that the Work Status Monitoring in Multiple Sclerosis study could have important practical personal and long-term financial implications for people with MS and their families so we responded to this need. The study hopes to learn the financial and psychological impact on a person with MS when time in the workforce can be extended by even a few years. The study also looks at workplace productivity, costs to state and federal government, and at stress on families of people with MS.
The Challenge to Participants and Research Assistants
Participants in this study, and countless others, fill out paper questionnaires while in the clinic waiting room. Due to MS numbness, some participants find it hard to fill out the questionnaires. Once completed, the questionnaires must then be keyed into a database by research assistants before the results can be analyzed. This takes time.
In administering tests, research assistants use scoring sheets and a pencil to note a participant's score. These sheets also need to be keyed manually into a database for analysis.
ARMS contributions were used to purchase iPads and to cover costs related to programming. Now, study participants can use a clinic iPad to enter their responses, which are then downloaded directly into the research database. Research assistants can enter test scores into their study database, too.
Automating the research process speeds up the time it takes to get data ready for analysis and that speeds up research.
The iPads will also available for use by other MS researchers in the MS Division of the University at Buffalo's Department of Neurology.
Dr. Benedict reports that as of June 17,
2014, two papers stemming from this research have been accepted for
publication in professional journals. After each is published, we will
post a summary on this page with direct links.
Photos from a July 16, 2014 presentation by Dr. Benedict of his research and celebration of our support to accelerate data collection for MS research.