Brain atrophy and disability progression in MS patients: a 10-year follow-up study

Diagnosis, monitoring and biomarkers:
The association between MRI biomarkers and long-term disability progression in MS patients was investigated. In addition to this the researchers looked at the rate of evolution of global, tissue-specific and regional atrophy in 81 patients with MS at baseline, five years and 10 years.

The study included MRI brain at 1.5T and neuropsychological assessment. Global and tissue-specific atrophy changes were assessed longitudinally, by calculating the percentage volume changes between different time points.

At the five-year time point, patients who had disability progression over this time showed increased loss of whole brain, cortical and putamen volume compared to patients with no disability progression. There was no significant change seen in white matter volume when comparing patients who progressed with those who did not progress.  

At the 10-year time point there was a trend for greater decrease in whole brain volume in the progressing patients.

Therefore this study shows that whole brain, cortical and putamen atrophy occurs throughout the 10- year follow-up but these changes are most pronounced in the group of MS patients who showed disability progression at five-year, but not at 10-year follow-up.

Authors: Jacobsen C, Hagemeier J
Source: J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2014 Feb 19. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2013-306906. [Epub ahead of print]
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