A 30-year study of outcomes in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients reports that radiological findings in the first year of disease onset, and the amount of disability evident at five years, helps to predict both the likelihood of a person advancing to secondary progressive MS (SPMS) and long-term survival.
The study, “A thirty year clinical and MRI observational study of multiple sclerosis and clinically isolated syndromes,” was published in the journal Annals of Neurology.
MS is a highly variable disease, with neurological disability in some people remaining relatively minor for years while in others it’s quickly significant.
Many studies have shown that MS-related factors evident early in the disease course can predict later outcomes.
Researchers in the U.K. and colleagues conducted a 30-year longitudinal study to find potential early markers that could be used to predict which patients go on to develop progressive MS or have their life shortened by the disease.
Between 1984–87, a multi-national group of scientists recruited 132 people with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), an episode of neurological symptoms that lasts at least 24 hours and could indicate a first course in MS disease.
These people were followed over time, clinically and radiologically (using imaging to detect abnormalities), and assessed at various time points: 1, 5, 10, 14, 20 and 30 years.
Data on their clinical outcomes were obtained from 120 of these patients at the 30-year mark. Of these, 80 people developed MS, and 16 (20%) died due to the disease.
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