THURSDAY, March 2, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Multiple sclerosis (MS) is more likely to progress to advanced disease among patients who suffer from fatigue and limited use of their legs, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, to be held from April 22 to 28 in Boston.
The researchers evaluated 155 patients, aged 50 and older, who had been diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS at least 15 years earlier. All of the patients’ symptoms and their levels of disability were assessed when the study began. These evaluations were repeated five years later.
Overall, 30 percent of the participants experienced a worsening of their disease and developed progressive MS after five years. The researchers found these patients were four times as likely to experience fatigue. This was true even after the researchers considered other possible contributing factors, such as age, time since diagnosis, and the severity of their disability. The patients who developed progressive MS were also older and were three times as likely to report weakness and spasms in their legs. They also had more severe disabilities at the study’s start.
“While more research needs to be done, this study brings us closer to understanding which older adults with MS may be at higher risk of getting worse,” study author Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, M.D., of the University of Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in New York, said in an American Academy of Neurology news release. “With the aging population, this information will be vital as people with MS, their families and policy makers make decisions about their care.”
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