Background: There have been few reports on longitudinal change in activities of daily living (ADL), functional capacity, and life satisfaction in patients with subacute myelo-optico-neuropathy (SMON). Methods: A total of 1309 SMON patients 40 to 79 years of age underwent a medical examination conducted by the SMON Research Committee during the period from 1993 through 1995 (baseline) in Japan; 666 (51%) were followed-up after 12 years and were thus eligible for analysis. We calculated scores for ADL, functional capacity, and life satisfaction at baseline, and at 3, 6, 9, and 12 years after baseline, using data from medical examinations conducted in 1993 through 2007. The Barthel Index, the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology Index of Competence, and the patient's response to the question "Are you satisfied with life?" were used to assess ADL, functional capacity, and life satisfaction, respectively. Results: As compared with baseline, the mean scores for ADL, functional capacity, and life satisfaction were all significantly lower after 12 years in men and women, with the exception of life satisfaction in women. The change in scores for functional capacity from baseline to year 12 was significantly associated with change in life satisfaction; however, the changes in ADL and age at baseline were not. Conclusions: We observed decreases in ADL, functional capacity, and life satisfaction among SMON patients. Our results suggest that a decrease in life satisfaction can be prevented by maintaining or improving functional capacity.
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