Background: Patients with subacute myelo-optico-neuropathy (SMON) suffer from a number of serious neurological symptoms that adversely affect their activities of daily living (ADL). However, the effects of these neurological symptoms on functional capacity and life satisfaction have not been reported. Methods: We analyzed data from 1,300 SMON patients aged 55-94 years that was obtained at medical check-ups carried out by the SMON Research Committee in 2004-2006 in Japan. The neurological symptoms investigated were visual impairment, dysbasia, symptoms of the lower extremities, and sensory symptoms. Neurological symptoms were classified by severity. The Barthel Index, the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology Index of Competence, and the participant's response to the question " Are you satisfied with life?" were used to evaluate ADL, functional capacity, and life satisfaction, respectively. Data were analyzed using a proportional odds model with the scores for these items as ordinal dependent variables. Results: For most neurological symptoms, scores for ADL, functional capacity, and life satisfaction were significantly lower in participants with severe or moderate neurological symptoms than in those with nearly normal results upon examination. The odds ratio for life satisfaction due to superior functional capacity was significant after adjustment for sex, age, and ADL score. Conclusion: The presence of neurological symptoms in SMON patients was associated with low functional capacity, life satisfaction, and ADL. Our results suggest that the life satisfaction of SMON patients can be increased by improving their functional capacity.
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