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Factors associated with disability progression in multiple sclerosis

Tuesday, 17 April, 2012 - 17:00
Campus: Brussels Health Campus
Faculty: Medicine and Pharmacy
auditorium R. Vanden Driessche
Marie Beatrice D'hooghe
phd defence

The mechanisms underlying clinical heterogeneity
in multiple sclerosis (MS) are poorly understood.
Evidence suggests that modifiable factors can
influence relapses and disability in MS. We
studied associations of several explanatory
variables in relation to the progression of
disability in MS. We used the time to EDSS 6 as
measure of disability progression. This step,
requiring a cane or support to walk a distance of
100 m, is considered to be a milestone in the
progression of MS. In a cohort of women with
predominantly relapsing onset MS, having
children after MS onset was associated with a
reduced risk to reach EDSS 6 compared to not
having children after MS onset. In participants,
registered by the Flemish MS society, stratifying
the analysis according to relapsing onset and
progressive onset MS resulted in different
patterns of associations for reproductive events,
sun exposure, consumption patterns and health
promotion behaviour.

The design of the studies does not allow to
establish a causal relationship. However, the
difference in assocations between relapsing onset
and progressive onset MS lends support to the
hypothesis that different mechanisms are
underlying progression of disability.