Publications by authors named "Maria Laura Saladino"

24 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Effect of Disease-Modifying Therapy on Disability in Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis Over 15 Years.

Neurology 2021 02 28;96(5):e783-e797. Epub 2020 Dec 28.

From CORe (T.K., I.D., S.S., C.M.), Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne; MS Centre (T.K., I.D., S.S., C.M.), Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Australia; Karolinska Institute (T.S.), Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Neuroscience (T.S., V.J., A.v.d.W., O.S., H.B.), Central Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne; Burnet Institute (T.S.), Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology and Center of Clinical Neuroscience (D.H., E.K.H.), General University Hospital and Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic; Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sense Organs (M. Trojano), University of Bari, Italy; Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena (G.I.), Sevilla, Spain; Department of Neuroscience, Imaging and Clinical Sciences (A.L.), University "G. d'Annunzio," Chieti; Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences (A.L.), University of Bologna, IRCCS Istituto delle Scienze Neurologiche di Bologna, Italy; Hopital Notre Dame (A.P., M.G., P.D.), Montreal; CHUM and Universite de Montreal (A.P., M.G., P.D.); CISSS Chaudière-Appalache (P.G.), Levis, Canada; Department of Neurology (V.J., A.v.d.W., O.S., H.B.), Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Neuro Rive-Sud (F. Grand'Maison), Quebec, Canada; Department of Neuroscience (P.S., D.F.), Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria, Modena, Italy; Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (V.S.), Isfahan, Iran; Amiri Hospital (R. Alroughani), Kuwait City, Kuwait; Zuyderland Ziekenhuis (R.H.), Sittard, the Netherlands; Medical Faculty (M. Terzi), 19 Mayis University, Samsun; KTU Medical Faculty Farabi Hospital (C.B.), Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon, Turkey; School of Medicine and Public Health (J.L.-S.), University Newcastle; Department of Neurology (J.L.-S.), John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, Australia; UOC Neurologia (E.P.), Azienda Sanitaria Unica Regionale Marche-AV3, Macerata, Italy; Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc (V.V.P.), Brussels, Belgium; University of Parma (F. Granella); C. Mondino National Neurological Institute (R.B.), Pavia; Azienda Ospedaliera di Rilievo Nazionale San Giuseppe Moscati Avellino (D.S.), Italy; Flinders University (M. Slee), Adelaide; Westmead Hospital (S.V.), Sydney, Australia; Nemocnice Jihlava (R. Ampapa), Czech Republic; University of Queensland (P.M.), Brisbane; Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (P.M.), Brisbane, Australia; Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol (C.R.-T.), Badalona, Spain; CSSS Saint-Jérôme (J.P.), Canada; Hospital Universitario Donostia (J.O.), Paseo de Begiristain, San Sebastián, Spain; Hospital Italiano (E.C.), Buenos Aires, Argentina; Brain and Mind Centre (M.B.), University of Sydney, Australia; INEBA-Institute of Neuroscience Buenos Aires (M.L.S.), Argentina; Hospital de Galdakao-Usansolo (J.L.S.-M.), Galdakao, Spain; Liverpool Hospital (S. Hodgkinson), Sydney, Australia; Jahn Ferenc Teaching Hospital (C.R.), Budapest, Hungary; Craigavon Area Hospital (S. Hughes), UK; Jewish General Hospital (F.M.), Montreal, Canada; Deakin University (C.S.), Geelong; Monash Medical Centre (E.B.), Melbourne, Australia; South East Trust (O.G.), Belfast, UK; Perron Institute (A.K.), University of Western Australia, Nedlands; Institute of Immunology and Infectious Diseases (A.K.), Murdoch University; Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (A.K.), Perth, Australia; Department of Neurology (T.C.), Faculty of Medicine, University of Debrecen, Hungary; Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences (B.S.), Mumbai, India; St Vincents Hospital (N.S.), Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia; Veszprém Megyei Csolnoky Ferenc Kórház zrt (I.P.), Veszprem, Hungary; Royal Hobart Hospital (B.T.), Australia; Semmelweis University Budapest (M. Simo), Hungary; Central Military Emergency University Hospital (C.-A.S.), Bucharest; Titu Maiorescu University (C.-A.S.), Bucharest, Romania; BAZ County Hospital (A.S.), Miskolc, Hungary; and Box Hill Hospital (H.B.), Melbourne, Australia.

Objective: To test the hypothesis that immunotherapy prevents long-term disability in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), we modeled disability outcomes in 14,717 patients.

Methods: We studied patients from MSBase followed for ≥1 year, with ≥3 visits, ≥1 visit per year, and exposed to MS therapy, and a subset of patients with ≥15-year follow-up. Marginal structural models were used to compare the cumulative hazards of 12-month confirmed increase and decrease in disability, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) step 6, and the incidence of relapses between treated and untreated periods. Marginal structural models were continuously readjusted for patient age, sex, pregnancy, date, disease course, time from first symptom, prior relapse history, disability, and MRI activity.

Results: A total of 14,717 patients were studied. During the treated periods, patients were less likely to experience relapses (hazard ratio 0.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.43-0.82, = 0.0016), worsening of disability (0.56, 0.38-0.82, = 0.0026), and progress to EDSS step 6 (0.33, 0.19-0.59, = 0.00019). Among 1,085 patients with ≥15-year follow-up, the treated patients were less likely to experience relapses (0.59, 0.50-0.70, = 10) and worsening of disability (0.81, 0.67-0.99, = 0.043).

Conclusion: Continued treatment with MS immunotherapies reduces disability accrual by 19%-44% (95% CI 1%-62%), the risk of need of a walking aid by 67% (95% CI 41%-81%), and the frequency of relapses by 40-41% (95% CI 18%-57%) over 15 years. This study provides evidence that disease-modifying therapies are effective in improving disability outcomes in relapsing-remitting MS over the long term.

Classification Of Evidence: This study provides Class IV evidence that, for patients with relapsing-remitting MS, long-term exposure to immunotherapy prevents neurologic disability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011242DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7884998PMC
February 2021

Multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders in Argentina: comparing baseline data from the Argentinean MS Registry (RelevarEM).

Neurol Sci 2020 Jun 20;41(6):1513-1519. Epub 2020 Jan 20.

Sanatorio Güemes, CABA, Argentina.

The objective of this study was to describe and compare the baseline epidemiological data of multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) patients included in RelevarEM (Clinical Trials registry number NCT03375177).

Methods: RelevarEM is a longitudinal, strictly observational MS and NMOSD registry in Argentina. Epidemiological and comorbidity data from MS and NMOSD patients were described and compared. For comorbidities, the Charlson comorbidity index (CCI) was used to calculate the burden at entry. CCI was stratified in 0 and ≥ 1 and described for the entire cohort.

Results: A total of 1588 and 75 MS and NMOSD patients (respectively) were included. For MS patients, the mean age was 42 ± 7 years, female sex 65.3%, mean EDSS 2, and mean disease duration 8 ± 6 years. In NMOSD, the mean age was 40 ± 7 years, female sex 78.7%, mean disease duration 5 ± 3.5 years, and mean EDSS 2.5. The most frequent MS phenotype was RRMS in 82.4%. In MS, the CCI was 0 in 85.8.2% while ≥ 1 was in 14.2% of patients. Regarding phenotype stratification, CCI ≥ 1 was 3.9% in CIS, 13.5% in RRMS, 28.7% in SPMS, and 17.4% in PPMS (p < 0.001 between groups). In NMOSD, the CCI was 0 in 64% while ≥ 1 was in 36%. The MS/NMOSD ratio found was 21/1.

Conclusions: This is the first analysis of the longitudinal Argentinean registry of MS and NMOSD describing and comparing conditions that contributes to provide reliable real-world data in the country.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10072-019-04230-6DOI Listing
June 2020

Consensus recommendations on the management of multiple sclerosis patients in Argentina.

J Neurol Sci 2020 Feb 2;409:116609. Epub 2019 Dec 2.

Department of Neurology, Institute for Neurological Research Dr Raul Carrea, FLENI, Argentina.

Introduction: During the last 20 years, multiple sclerosis (MS) disease has seen major changes with new diagnostic criteria, a better identification of disease phenotypes, individualization of disease prognosis and the appearance of new therapeutic options in relapsing remitting as well as progressive MS. As a result, the management of MS patients has become more complex and challenging. The objective of these consensus recommendations was to review how the disease should be managed in Argentina to improve long-term outcomes in MS patients.

Methods: A panel of 36 experts in neurology from Argentina, dedicated to the diagnosis and care of MS patients, gathered both virtually and in person during 2018 and 2019 to carry out a consensus recommendation on the management of MS patients in Argentina. To achieve consensus, the methodology of "formal consensus-RAND/UCLA method" was used.

Results: Recommendations focused on diagnosis, disease prognosis, tailored treatment, treatment failure identification and pharmacovigilance process.

Conclusions: The recommendations of these consensus guidelines attempt to optimize the health care and management of patients with MS in Argentina.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2019.116609DOI Listing
February 2020

Risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: A longitudinal study.

Mult Scler 2020 01 9;26(1):79-90. Epub 2019 Aug 9.

CORe, Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/L4 Centre, Melbourne Brain Centre at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

Background: The risk factors for conversion from relapsing-remitting to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis remain highly contested.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the demographic, clinical and paraclinical features that influence the risk of conversion to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Methods: Patients with adult-onset relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and at least four recorded disability scores were selected from MSBase, a global observational cohort. The risk of conversion to objectively defined secondary progressive multiple sclerosis was evaluated at multiple time points per patient using multivariable marginal Cox regression models. Sensitivity analyses were performed.

Results: A total of 15,717 patients were included in the primary analysis. Older age (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.02,  < 0.001), longer disease duration (HR = 1.01,  = 0.038), a higher Expanded Disability Status Scale score (HR = 1.30,  < 0.001), more rapid disability trajectory (HR = 2.82,  < 0.001) and greater number of relapses in the previous year (HR = 1.07,  = 0.010) were independently associated with an increased risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Improving disability (HR = 0.62,  = 0.039) and disease-modifying therapy exposure (HR = 0.71,  = 0.007) were associated with a lower risk. Recent cerebral magnetic resonance imaging activity, evidence of spinal cord lesions and oligoclonal bands in the cerebrospinal fluid were not associated with the risk of conversion.

Conclusion: Risk of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis increases with age, duration of illness and worsening disability and decreases with improving disability. Therapy may delay the onset of secondary progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458519868990DOI Listing
January 2020

Traffic Lights Intervention Reduces Therapeutic Inertia: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Multiple Sclerosis Care.

MDM Policy Pract 2019 Jan-Jun;4(1):2381468319855642. Epub 2019 Jun 21.

Institute of Neuroscience Buenos Aires (INEBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Therapeutic inertia (TI) is a common phenomenon among physicians who care for patients with chronic conditions. We evaluated the efficacy of the traffic light system (TLS) educational intervention to reduce TI among neurologists with MS expertise. In this randomised, controlled trial, 90 neurologists who provide care to MS patients were randomly assigned to the TLS intervention ( = 45) or to the control group ( = 45). The educational intervention employed the TLS, a behavioral strategy that facilitates therapeutic choices by facilitating reflective decisions. The TLS consisted in a short, structured, single session intervention of 5-7 min duration. Participants made therapeutic choices of 10 simulated case-scenarios. The primary outcome was a reduction in TI based on a published TI score (case-scenarios in which a participant showed TI divided by the total number of scenarios where TI was possible ranging from 0 to 8). All participants completed the study and were included in the primary analysis. TI was lower in the TLS group (1.47, 95% CI 1.32-1.61) compared to controls (1.93; 95% CI 1.79-2.08). The TLS group had a lower prevalence of TI compared to controls (0.67, 95% CI 0.62-0.71 vs. 0.82, 95% CI 0.78-0.86; = 0.001). The multivariate analysis, adjusted for age, specialty, years of practice, and risk preference showed a 70% reduction in TI for the TLS intervention compared to controls (OR 0.30; 95% CI 0.10-0.89). In this randomized trial, the TLS strategy decreases the incidence of TI in MS care irrespective of age, expertise, years for training, and risk preference of participants, which would lead to better patient outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2381468319855642DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6589979PMC
June 2019

The Role of Prescribing Generic (Non-proprietary) Drugs in the Prevalence of Therapeutic Inertia in Multiple Sclerosis Care.

Front Neurol 2018 12;9:835. Epub 2018 Oct 12.

Department of Neurology, Institute of Neuroscience Buenos Aires (INEBA) Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The prescription of generic (non-proprietary) compared to brand-name drugs is increasing worldwide. In many developing and emerging countries, generics companies market products at similar costs as brand-name competitors benefiting from more flexible compliance rules and regulations for marketing their products in the health system. Together, this phenomenon may influence prescriber's behavior (e.g., maintaining the same treatment despite guideline's recommendations or despite evidence of disease progression). To compare the prevalence of therapeutic inertia (TI) between primary prescription of brand-name vs. generic drugs in the management of MS in Argentina. We conducted a population-based online study comprising 117 neurologists with expertise in MS. Participants answered questions regarding their clinical practice, most commonly prescribed disease modifying agents, and therapeutic choices of 10 simulated case-scenarios that assessed TI. Inertia was defined as the lack of treatment initiation or escalation despite evidence of clinical and radiological activity (8 case-scenarios, 720 individual responses). We created the generic-brand name score (GBS) according to the 5 most frequently prescribed generic ( = 16) vs. brand-name ( = 9) drugs for MS, where scores higher than 1 indicated higher prescription of generic drugs and scores lower than 1 indicated higher prescription of brand-name agents. Candidate predictors of prescribing generic drugs included demographic data, MS specialist vs. general neurologist, practice setting, years of practice, volume of MS patients, risk preferences, costs of annual treatment. population-based prospective study using including neurologists who care for patients with multiple sclerosis across Argentina. prescription of generic vs. brand-name MS drugs Therapeutic inertia (TI), defined as lack of treatment escalation when goals are unmet. Secondary outcomes included factors associated with generic drug prescription and costs of MS treatment. Ninety participants completed the study (completion rate 76.9%). TI was observed in 153 (21.3%) of participants' responses. The evaluation of aggregate responses revealed a mean GBS score (SD) of 3.44 (2.1), with 46 (51.1%) participants having a GBS equal to or higher than 1. Older age (OR 1.19; 95% CI 1.00-1.42), being a general neurologist (OR 3.91; 95% CI 1.19-12.8), and being more willing to take risks in multiple domains (SOEP score OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.01-1.12) were associated with higher prescription of generic drugs in MS care. Costs of treatment were not associated with prescribing generic drugs. There was no difference in the annual costs of MS treatment for primary prescribers of brand-name vs. generic drugs (67,500 US$ vs. 67,496 US$; = 0.99). The evaluation of individual responses revealed that participants with higher prescription of generics-reflected by a higher GBS-had higher incident risk of TI (mean GBS 3.61 for TI vs. 2.96 for no TI; < 0.001). Multivariate analysis revealed that a prescription of generic agents was associated with an increased incident risk of TI (OR 1.56; 95%CI 1.07-2.29). There was no difference in the annual costs of MS treatment for participants that exhibited TI vs. those without TI (67,426 US$ vs. 67,704 US$; = 0.66). General neurologist, older age, and willingness to take risks were associated with increased prescription of generic drugs despite similar costs compared to brand-name agents. In our study, the prescription of generic-MS drugs was associated with a higher incident risk of therapeutic inertia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2018.00835DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6194175PMC
October 2018

Argentinean recommendations on the identification of treatment failure in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis patients.

J Neurol Sci 2018 02 4;385:217-224. Epub 2018 Jan 4.

Department of Neurology, Institute for Neurological Research Dr Raul Carrea, FLENI, Argentina.

One of the biggest challenges in multiple sclerosis (MS) is the definition of treatment response/failure in order to optimize treatment decisions in affected patients. The objective of this consensus was to review how disease activity should be assessed and to propose recommendations on the identification of treatment failure in RRMS patients in Argentina.

Methods: A panel of experts in neurology from Argentina, dedicated to the diagnosis and care of MS patients, gathered both virtually and in person during 2016 and 2017 to carry out a consensus recommendation on the identification of treatment failure in RRMS patients. To achieve consensus, the methodology of "formal consensus-RAND/UCLA method" was used.

Results: Recommendations were established based on published evidence and the expert opinion. Recommendations focused on disease management, disease activity markers and treatment failure identification were determined. Main consensus were: ≥2 relapses during the first year of treatment and/or ≥3 new or enlarged T2 or T1 GAD+ lesions and/or sustained increase of ≥2 points in EDSS or ≥100% in T25FW defines treatment failure in RRMS patients.

Conclusions: The recommendations of this consensus guidelines attempts to optimize the health care and management of patients with MS in Argentina.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2018.01.004DOI Listing
February 2018

Towards personalized therapy for multiple sclerosis: prediction of individual treatment response.

Brain 2017 Sep;140(9):2426-2443

Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, 300 Grattan St, Melbourne, 3050, Australia.

Timely initiation of effective therapy is crucial for preventing disability in multiple sclerosis; however, treatment response varies greatly among patients. Comprehensive predictive models of individual treatment response are lacking. Our aims were: (i) to develop predictive algorithms for individual treatment response using demographic, clinical and paraclinical predictors in patients with multiple sclerosis; and (ii) to evaluate accuracy, and internal and external validity of these algorithms. This study evaluated 27 demographic, clinical and paraclinical predictors of individual response to seven disease-modifying therapies in MSBase, a large global cohort study. Treatment response was analysed separately for disability progression, disability regression, relapse frequency, conversion to secondary progressive disease, change in the cumulative disease burden, and the probability of treatment discontinuation. Multivariable survival and generalized linear models were used, together with the principal component analysis to reduce model dimensionality and prevent overparameterization. Accuracy of the individual prediction was tested and its internal validity was evaluated in a separate, non-overlapping cohort. External validity was evaluated in a geographically distinct cohort, the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Registry. In the training cohort (n = 8513), the most prominent modifiers of treatment response comprised age, disease duration, disease course, previous relapse activity, disability, predominant relapse phenotype and previous therapy. Importantly, the magnitude and direction of the associations varied among therapies and disease outcomes. Higher probability of disability progression during treatment with injectable therapies was predominantly associated with a greater disability at treatment start and the previous therapy. For fingolimod, natalizumab or mitoxantrone, it was mainly associated with lower pretreatment relapse activity. The probability of disability regression was predominantly associated with pre-baseline disability, therapy and relapse activity. Relapse incidence was associated with pretreatment relapse activity, age and relapsing disease course, with the strength of these associations varying among therapies. Accuracy and internal validity (n = 1196) of the resulting predictive models was high (>80%) for relapse incidence during the first year and for disability outcomes, moderate for relapse incidence in Years 2-4 and for the change in the cumulative disease burden, and low for conversion to secondary progressive disease and treatment discontinuation. External validation showed similar results, demonstrating high external validity for disability and relapse outcomes, moderate external validity for cumulative disease burden and low external validity for conversion to secondary progressive disease and treatment discontinuation. We conclude that demographic, clinical and paraclinical information helps predict individual response to disease-modifying therapies at the time of their commencement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awx185DOI Listing
September 2017

Higher latitude is significantly associated with an earlier age of disease onset in multiple sclerosis.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2016 Dec 3;87(12):1343-1349. Epub 2016 Nov 3.

Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Background: Age at onset (AAO) in multiple sclerosis (MS) is an important marker of disease severity and may have prognostic significance. Understanding what factors can influence AAO may shed light on the aetiology of this complex disease, and have applications in the diagnostic process.

Methods: The study cohort of 22 162 eligible patients from 21 countries was extracted from the MSBase registry. Only patients with MS aged ≥16 years were included. To reduce heterogeneity, only centres of largely European descent were included for analysis. AAO was defined as the year of the first symptom suggestive of inflammatory central nervous system demyelination. Predictors of AAO were evaluated by linear regression.

Results: Compared with those living in lower latitudes (19.0-39.9°), onset of symptoms was 1.9 years earlier for those at higher latitudes (50.0-56.0°) (p=3.83×10). A reciprocal relationship was seen for ambient ultraviolet radiation (UVR), with a significantly increasing AAO for patients with MS per each quartile increment of ambient UVR (p=1.56×10). We found that the AAO of female patients was ∼5 months earlier than male patients (p=0.002). AAO of progressive-onset patients with MS were ∼9 years later than relapsing-onset patients (p=1.40×10).

Conclusions: An earlier AAO in higher latitude regions was found in this worldwide European-descent cohort and correlated inversely with variation in latitudinal UVR. These results suggest that environmental factors which act at the population level may significantly influence disease severity characteristics in genetically susceptible populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jnnp-2016-314013DOI Listing
December 2016

Defining secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

Brain 2016 09 7;139(Pt 9):2395-405. Epub 2016 Jul 7.

1 Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia 2 Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

A number of studies have been conducted with the onset of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis as an inclusion criterion or an outcome of interest. However, a standardized objective definition of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis has been lacking. The aim of this work was to evaluate the accuracy and feasibility of an objective definition for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, to enable comparability of future research studies. Using MSBase, a large, prospectively acquired, global cohort study, we analysed the accuracy of 576 data-derived onset definitions for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and first compared these to a consensus opinion of three neurologists. All definitions were then evaluated against 5-year disease outcomes post-assignment of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: sustained disability, subsequent sustained progression, positive disability trajectory, and accumulation of severe disability. The five best performing definitions were further investigated for their timeliness and overall disability burden. A total of 17 356 patients were analysed. The best definition included a 3-strata progression magnitude in the absence of a relapse, confirmed after 3 months within the leading Functional System and required an Expanded Disability Status Scale step ≥4 and pyramidal score ≥2. It reached an accuracy of 87% compared to the consensus diagnosis. Seventy-eight per cent of the identified patients showed a positive disability trajectory and 70% reached significant disability after 5 years. The time until half of all patients were diagnosed was 32.6 years (95% confidence interval 32-33.6) after disease onset compared with the physicians' diagnosis at 36 (35-39) years. The identified patients experienced a greater disease burden [median annualized area under the disability-time curve 4.7 (quartiles 3.6, 6.0)] versus non-progressive patients [1.8 (1.2, 1.9)]. This objective definition of secondary progressive multiple sclerosis based on the Expanded Disability Status Scale and information about preceding relapses provides a tool for a reproducible, accurate and timely diagnosis that requires a very short confirmation period. If applied broadly, the definition has the potential to strengthen the design and improve comparability of clinical trials and observational studies in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/aww173DOI Listing
September 2016

Predictors of long-term disability accrual in relapse-onset multiple sclerosis.

Ann Neurol 2016 07 1;80(1):89-100. Epub 2016 Jun 1.

Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sense Organs, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.

Objective: To identify predictors of 10-year Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) change after treatment initiation in patients with relapse-onset multiple sclerosis.

Methods: Using data obtained from MSBase, we defined baseline as the date of first injectable therapy initiation. Patients need only have remained on injectable therapy for 1 day and were monitored on any approved disease-modifying therapy, or no therapy thereafter. Median EDSS score changes over a 10-year period were determined. Predictors of EDSS change were then assessed using median quantile regression analysis. Sensitivity analyses were further performed.

Results: We identified 2,466 patients followed up for at least 10 years reporting post-baseline disability scores. Patients were treated an average 83% of their follow-up time. EDSS scores increased by a median 1 point (interquartile range = 0-2) at 10 years post-baseline. Annualized relapse rate was highly predictive of increases in median EDSS over 10 years (coeff = 1.14, p = 1.9 × 10(-22) ). On-therapy relapses carried greater burden than off-therapy relapses. Cumulative treatment exposure was independently associated with lower EDSS at 10 years (coeff = -0.86, p = 1.3 × 10(-9) ). Furthermore, pregnancies were also independently associated with lower EDSS scores over the 10-year observation period (coeff = -0.36, p = 0.009).

Interpretation: We provide evidence of long-term treatment benefit in a large registry cohort, and provide evidence of long-term protective effects of pregnancy against disability accrual. We demonstrate that high annualized relapse rate, particularly on-treatment relapse, is an indicator of poor prognosis. Ann Neurol 2016;80:89-100.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.24682DOI Listing
July 2016

Contribution of different relapse phenotypes to disability in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2017 Feb 11;23(2):266-276. Epub 2016 Jul 11.

Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia/Department of Neurology, Melbourne Brain Centre at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

Objective: This study evaluated the effect of relapse phenotype on disability accumulation in multiple sclerosis.

Methods: Analysis of prospectively collected data was conducted in 19,504 patients with relapse-onset multiple sclerosis and minimum 1-year prospective follow-up from the MSBase cohort study. Multivariable linear regression models assessed associations between relapse incidence, phenotype and changes in disability (quantified with Expanded Disability Status Scale and its Functional System scores). Sensitivity analyses were conducted.

Results: In 34,858 relapses recorded during 136,462 patient-years (median follow-up 5.9 years), higher relapse incidence was associated with greater disability accumulation (β = 0.16, p < 0.001). Relapses of all phenotypes promoted disability accumulation, with the most pronounced increase associated with pyramidal (β = 0.27 (0.25-0.29)), cerebellar (β = 0.35 (0.30-0.39)) and bowel/bladder (β = 0.42 (0.35-0.49)) phenotypes (mean (95% confidence interval)). Higher incidence of each relapse phenotype was associated with an increase in disability in the corresponding neurological domain, as well as anatomically related domains.

Conclusion: Relapses are associated with accumulation of neurological disability. Relapses in pyramidal, cerebellar and bowel/bladder systems have the greatest association with disability change. Therefore, prevention of these relapses is an important objective of disease-modifying therapy. The differential impact of relapse phenotypes on disability outcomes could influence management of treatment failure in multiple sclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458516643392DOI Listing
February 2017

Multiple sclerosis in Latin America: A different disease course severity? A collaborative study from the MSBase Registry.

Mult Scler J Exp Transl Clin 2015 Jan-Dec;1:2055217315600193. Epub 2015 Aug 17.

Multiple Sclerosis Center, Hospital Italiano, Argentina.

Limited data suggest that multiple sclerosis (MS) in Latin America (LA) could be less severe than in the rest of the world. The objective was to compare the course of MS between LA and other regions.

Methods: Centers from 18 countries with >20 cases enrolled in the MSBase Registry participated. Patients with MS with a disease duration of >1 year and <30 years at time of EDSS measurement were evaluated. The MS Severity Score (MSSS) was used as a measure of disease progression. Comparisons among regions (North America, Europe, Australia and LA), hemispheres and countries were performed.

Results: A total of 9610 patients were included. Patients were from: Europe, 6290 (65.6%); North America, 1609 (16.7%); Australia, 1119 (11.6%); and LA, 592 (6.1%). The mean MSSS in patients from LA was 4.47 ± 2.8, 4.53 ± 2.8 in North America, 4.51 ± 2.8 in Europe and 4.49 ± 2.7 in Australia. Mean MSSS in the northern hemisphere was 4.51 ± 1.6 compared to 4.48 ± 1.9 in the southern hemisphere. No differences were found for MSSS among hemispheres ( = 0.68), regions ( = 0.96) or countries ( = 0.50).

Conclusions: Our analyses did not discover any difference in mean MSSS among patients from different regions, hemispheres or countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2055217315600193DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5408755PMC
August 2015

The effect of oral immunomodulatory therapy on treatment uptake and persistence in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2016 Apr 21;22(4):520-32. Epub 2015 Jul 21.

Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Objective: We aimed to analyse the effect of the introduction of fingolimod, the first oral disease-modifying therapy, on treatment utilisation and persistence in an international cohort of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods: MSBASIS, a prospective, observational sub-study of the MSBase registry, collects demographic, clinical and paraclinical data on patients followed from MS onset (n=4718). We conducted a multivariable conditional risk set survival analysis to identify predictors of treatment discontinuation, and to assess if the introduction of fingolimod has altered treatment persistence.

Results: A total of 2640 patients commenced immunomodulatory therapy. Following the introduction of fingolimod, patients were more likely to discontinue all other treatments (hazard ratio 1.64, p<0.001) while more patients switched to fingolimod than any other therapy (42.3% of switches). Patients switched to fingolimod due to convenience. Patients treated with fingolimod were less likely to discontinue treatment compared with other therapies (p<0.001). Female sex, country of residence, younger age, a high Expanded Disability Status Scale score and relapse activity were all independently associated with higher rates of treatment discontinuation.

Conclusion: Following the availability of fingolimod, patients were more likely to discontinue injectable treatments. Those who switched to fingolimod were more likely to do so for convenience. Persistence was improved on fingolimod compared to other medications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458515594041DOI Listing
April 2016

Male Sex Is Independently Associated with Faster Disability Accumulation in Relapse-Onset MS but Not in Primary Progressive MS.

PLoS One 2015 5;10(6):e0122686. Epub 2015 Jun 5.

John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, Australia.

Background: Multiple Sclerosis is more common in women than men and females have more relapses than men. In a large international cohort we have evaluated the effect of gender on disability accumulation and disease progression to determine if male MS patients have a worse clinical outcome than females.

Methods: Using the MSBase Registry, data from 15,826 MS patients from 25 countries was analysed. Changes in the severity of MS (EDSS) were compared between sexes using a repeated measures analysis in generalised linear mixed models. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to test for sex difference in the time to reach EDSS milestones 3 and 6 and the secondary progressive MS.

Results: In relapse onset MS patients (n = 14,453), males progressed significantly faster in their EDSS than females (0.133 vs 0.112 per year, P<0.001,). Females had a reduced risk of secondary progressive MS (HR (95% CI) = 0.77 (0.67 to 0.90) P = 0.001). In primary progressive MS (n = 1,373), there was a significant increase in EDSS over time in males and females (P<0.001) but there was no significant sex effect on the annualized rate of EDSS change.

Conclusion: Among registrants of MSBase, male relapse-onset patients accumulate disability faster than female patients. In contrast, the rate of disability accumulation between male and female patients with primary progressive MS is similar.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0122686PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4457630PMC
March 2016

Predictors of disability worsening in clinically isolated syndrome.

Ann Clin Transl Neurol 2015 May 27;2(5):479-91. Epub 2015 Mar 27.

Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sense Organs, University of Bari Bari, Italy.

Objective: To assess demographic, clinical, magnetic resonance imaging, and treatment exposure predictors of time to 3 or 12-month confirmed disability worsening in clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) and early multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods: We utilized the MSBase Incident Study (MSBasis), a prospective cohort study of outcome after CIS. Predictors of time to first 3 and 12-month confirmed expanded disability status scale worsening were analyzed using Cox proportional hazards regression.

Results: About 1989 patients were analyzed, the largest seen-from-onset cohort reported to-date. A total of 391 patients had a first 3-month confirmed disability worsening event, of which 307 were sustained for 12 months. Older age at CIS onset (adjusted hazard ratio: aHR 1.17, 95% 1.06, 1.30), pyramidal (aHR 1.45, 95% CI 1.13, 1.89) and ambulation (HR 1.60, 95% CI 1.09, 2.34) system dysfunction, annualized relapse rate (aHR 1.20, 95% CI 1.18, 1.22), and lower proportion of observation time on treatment were associated with 3-month confirmed worsening. Predictors of time to 12-month sustained worsening included pyramidal system dysfunction (Hazard ratio: aHR 1.38, 95% CI 1.05, 1.83), and older age at CIS onset (aHR 1.17, 95% CI 1.04, 1.31). Greater proportion of follow-up time exposed to treatment was associated with greater reductions in the rate of worsening.

Interpretation: This study provides class IV evidence for a strong protective effect of disease-modifying treatment to reduce disability worsening events in patients with CIS and early MS, and confirms age and pyramidal dysfunction at onset as risk factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acn3.187DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4435703PMC
May 2015

Comparative effectiveness of glatiramer acetate and interferon beta formulations in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2015 Aug 5;21(9):1159-71. Epub 2014 Dec 5.

Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, and Department of Neurology, Box Hill Hospital, Monash University, Box Hill, Australia.

Background: The results of head-to-head comparisons of injectable immunomodulators (interferon β, glatiramer acetate) have been inconclusive and a comprehensive analysis of their effectiveness is needed.

Objective: We aimed to compare, in a real-world setting, relapse and disability outcomes among patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) treated with injectable immunomodulators.

Methods: Pairwise analysis of the international MSBase registry data was conducted using propensity-score matching. The four injectable immunomodulators were compared in six head-to-head analyses of relapse and disability outcomes using paired mixed models or frailty proportional hazards models adjusted for magnetic resonance imaging variables. Sensitivity and power analyses were conducted.

Results: Of the 3326 included patients, 345-1199 patients per therapy were matched (median pairwise-censored follow-up was 3.7 years). Propensity matching eliminated >95% of the identified indication bias. Slightly lower relapse incidence was found among patients treated with glatiramer acetate or subcutaneous interferon β-1a relative to intramuscular interferon β-1a and interferon β-1b (p≤0.001). No differences in 12-month confirmed progression of disability were observed.

Conclusion: Small but statistically significant differences in relapse outcomes exist among the injectable immunomodulators. MSBase is sufficiently powered to identify these differences and reflects practice in tertiary MS centres. While the present study controlled indication, selection and attrition bias, centre-dependent variance in data quality was likely.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458514559865DOI Listing
August 2015

Seasonal variation of relapse rate in multiple sclerosis is latitude dependent.

Ann Neurol 2014 Dec 20;76(6):880-90. Epub 2014 Oct 20.

Department of Neurology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia.

Objective: Previous studies assessing seasonal variation of relapse onset in multiple sclerosis have had conflicting results. Small relapse numbers, differing diagnostic criteria, and single region studies limit the generalizability of prior results. The aim of this study was to determine whether there is a temporal variation in onset of relapses in both hemispheres and to determine whether seasonal peak relapse probability varies with latitude.

Methods: The international MSBase Registry was utilized to analyze seasonal relapse onset distribution by hemisphere and latitudinal location. All analyses were weighted for the patient number contributed by each center. A sine regression model was used to model relapse onset and ultraviolet radiation (UVR) seasonality. Linear regression was used to investigate associations of latitude and lag between UVR trough and subsequent relapse peak.

Results: A total of 32,762 relapses from 9,811 patients across 30 countries were analyzed. Relapse onset followed an annual cyclical sinusoidal pattern with peaks in early spring and troughs in autumn in both hemispheres. Every 10° of latitude away from the equator was associated with a mean decrease in UVR trough to subsequent relapse peak lag of 28.5 days (95% confidence interval = 3.29-53.71, p = 0.028).

Interpretation: We demonstrate for the first time that there is a latitude-dependent relationship between seasonal UVR trough and relapse onset probability peak independent of location-specific UVR levels, with more distal latitude associated with shorter gaps. We confirm prior meta-analyses showing a strong seasonal relapse onset probability variation in the northern hemisphere, and extend this observation to the southern hemisphere.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.24287DOI Listing
December 2014

Risk of relapse phenotype recurrence in multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2014 Oct 28;20(11):1511-22. Epub 2014 Apr 28.

Royal Melbourne Hospital, AustraliaUniversity of Melbourne, Australia.

Objectives: The aim was to analyse risk of relapse phenotype recurrence in multiple sclerosis and to characterise the effect of demographic and clinical features on this phenotype.

Methods: Information about relapses was collected using MSBase, an international observational registry. Associations between relapse phenotypes and history of similar relapses or patient characteristics were tested with multivariable logistic regression models. Tendency of relapse phenotypes to recur sequentially was assessed with principal component analysis.

Results: Among 14,969 eligible patients (89,949 patient-years), 49,279 phenotypically characterised relapses were recorded. Visual and brainstem relapses occurred more frequently in early disease and in younger patients. Sensory relapses were more frequent in early or non-progressive disease. Pyramidal, sphincter and cerebellar relapses were more common in older patients and in progressive disease. Women presented more often with sensory or visual symptoms. Men were more prone to pyramidal, brainstem and cerebellar relapses. Importantly, relapse phenotype was predicted by the phenotypes of previous relapses. (OR = 1.8-5, p = 10(-14)). Sensory, visual and brainstem relapses showed better recovery than other relapse phenotypes. Relapse severity increased and the ability to recover decreased with age or more advanced disease.

Conclusion: Relapse phenotype was associated with demographic and clinical characteristics, with phenotypic recurrence significantly more common than expected by chance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458514528762DOI Listing
October 2014

Sex as a determinant of relapse incidence and progressive course of multiple sclerosis.

Brain 2013 Dec 18;136(Pt 12):3609-17. Epub 2013 Oct 18.

1 Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

The aim of this work was to evaluate sex differences in the incidence of multiple sclerosis relapses; assess the relationship between sex and primary progressive disease course; and compare effects of age and disease duration on relapse incidence. Annualized relapse rates were calculated using the MSBase registry. Patients with incomplete data or <1 year of follow-up were excluded. Patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis were only included in the sex ratio analysis. Relapse incidences over 40 years of multiple sclerosis or 70 years of age were compared between females and males with Andersen-Gill and Tweedie models. Female-to-male ratios stratified by annual relapse count were evaluated across disease duration and patient age and compared between relapse-onset and primary progressive multiple sclerosis. The study cohort consisted of 11 570 eligible patients with relapse-onset and 881 patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Among the relapse-onset patients (82 552 patient-years), 48,362 relapses were recorded. Relapse frequency was 17.7% higher in females compared with males. Within the initial 5 years, the female-to-male ratio increased from 2.3:1 to 3.3:1 in patients with 0 versus ≥4 relapses per year, respectively. The magnitude of this sex effect increased at longer disease duration and older age (P < 10(-12)). However, the female-to-male ratio in patients with relapse-onset multiple sclerosis and zero relapses in any given year was double that of the patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Patient age was a more important determinant of decline in relapse incidence than disease duration (P < 10(-12)). Females are predisposed to higher relapse activity than males. However, this difference does not explain the markedly lower female-to-male sex ratio in primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Decline in relapse activity over time is more closely related to patient age than disease duration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awt281DOI Listing
December 2013

Predictors and dynamics of postpartum relapses in women with multiple sclerosis.

Mult Scler 2014 May 9;20(6):739-46. Epub 2013 Oct 9.

Department of Neurology, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, UK.

Background: Several studies have shown that pregnancy reduces multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses, which increase in the early postpartum period. Postpartum relapse risk has been predicted by pre-pregnancy disease activity in some studies.

Objective: To re-examine effect of pregnancy on relapses using the large international MSBase Registry, examining predictors of early postpartum relapse.

Methods: An observational case-control study was performed including pregnancies post-MS onset. Annualised relapse rate (ARR) and median Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores were compared for the 24 months pre-conception, pregnancy and 24 months postpartum periods. Clustered logistic regression was used to investigate predictors of early postpartum relapses.

Results: The study included 893 pregnancies in 674 females with MS. ARR (standard error) pre-pregnancy was 0.32 (0.02), which fell to 0.13 (0.03) in the third trimester and rose to 0.61 (0.06) in the first three months postpartum. Median EDSS remained unchanged. Pre-conception ARR and disease-modifying treatment (DMT) predicted early postpartum relapse in a multivariable model.

Conclusion: Results confirm a favourable effect on relapses as pregnancy proceeds, and an early postpartum peak. Pre-conception DMT exposure and low ARR were independently protective against postpartum relapse. This novel finding could provide clinicians with a strategy to minimise postpartum relapse risk in women with MS planning pregnancy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458513507816DOI Listing
May 2014

Persistence on therapy and propensity matched outcome comparison of two subcutaneous interferon beta 1a dosages for multiple sclerosis.

PLoS One 2013 21;8(5):e63480. Epub 2013 May 21.

Departments of Medicine and Neurology, University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

Objectives: To compare treatment persistence between two dosages of interferon β-1a in a large observational multiple sclerosis registry and assess disease outcomes of first line MS treatment at these dosages using propensity scoring to adjust for baseline imbalance in disease characteristics.

Methods: Treatment discontinuations were evaluated in all patients within the MSBase registry who commenced interferon β-1a SC thrice weekly (n = 4678). Furthermore, we assessed 2-year clinical outcomes in 1220 patients treated with interferon β-1a in either dosage (22 µg or 44 µg) as their first disease modifying agent, matched on propensity score calculated from pre-treatment demographic and clinical variables. A subgroup analysis was performed on 456 matched patients who also had baseline MRI variables recorded.

Results: Overall, 4054 treatment discontinuations were recorded in 3059 patients. The patients receiving the lower interferon dosage were more likely to discontinue treatment than those with the higher dosage (25% vs. 20% annual probability of discontinuation, respectively). This was seen in discontinuations with reasons recorded as "lack of efficacy" (3.3% vs. 1.7%), "scheduled stop" (2.2% vs. 1.3%) or without the reason recorded (16.7% vs. 13.3% annual discontinuation rate, 22 µg vs. 44 µg dosage, respectively). Propensity score was determined by treating centre and disability (score without MRI parameters) or centre, sex and number of contrast-enhancing lesions (score including MRI parameters). No differences in clinical outcomes at two years (relapse rate, time relapse-free and disability) were observed between the matched patients treated with either of the interferon dosages.

Conclusions: Treatment discontinuations were more common in interferon β-1a 22 µg SC thrice weekly. However, 2-year clinical outcomes did not differ between patients receiving the different dosages, thus replicating in a registry dataset derived from "real-world" database the results of the pivotal randomised trial. Propensity score matching effectively minimised baseline covariate imbalance between two directly compared sub-populations from a large observational registry.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0063480PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3660604PMC
December 2013

Geographical variations in sex ratio trends over time in multiple sclerosis.

PLoS One 2012 25;7(10):e48078. Epub 2012 Oct 25.

Department of Neuroscience and Sense Organs, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.

Background: A female/male (F/M) ratio increase over time in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients was demonstrated in many countries around the world. So far, a direct comparison of sex ratio time-trends among MS populations from different geographical areas was not carried out.

Objective: In this paper we assessed and compared sex ratio trends, over a 60-year span, in MS populations belonging to different latitudinal areas.

Methods: Data of a cohort of 15,996 (F = 11,290; M = 4,706) definite MS with birth years ranging from 1930 to 1989 were extracted from the international MSBase registry and the New Zealand MS database. Gender ratios were calculated by six decades based on year of birth and were adjusted for the F/M born-alive ratio derived from the respective national registries of births.

Results: Adjusted sex ratios showed a significant increase from the first to the last decade in the whole MS sample (from 2.35 to 2.73; p = 0.03) and in the subgroups belonging to the areas between 83° N and 45° N (from 1.93 to 4.55; p<0.0001) and between 45° N to 35° N (from 1.46 to 2.30; p<0.05) latitude, while a sex ratio stability over time was found in the subgroup from areas between 12° S and 55° S latitude. The sex ratio increase mainly affected relapsing-remitting (RR) MS.

Conclusions: Our results confirm a general sex ratio increase over time in RRMS and also demonstrate a latitudinal gradient of this increase. These findings add useful information for planning case-control studies aimed to explore sex-related factors responsible for MS development.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0048078PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3485003PMC
May 2013