Recently new disease-modifying treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) were introduced wich can change the natural course of the disease. In clinical trials with these new agents the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) is often used as a primary outcome instrument to measure neurological impairment and disability. A number of limitations have been identified when using the EDSS, some of wich are because the EDSS is an ordinal scale that is heavily biased to locomotor function. In this study we applied the box and block test of manual dexterity in normal subjects and relapsing-remitting MS patients. The results were that 64.8% of the female and 80.7% of the male patients had significant changes on this task compared with normal subjects, and as this test is easily applied and is sensitive in detecting upper extremity functional ability, we recommend its use in clinical trials to evaluate new drugs in MS patients.
box and block test of manual dexterity; multiple sclerosis; disability scales