No sex-specific difference in disease trajectory in multiple sclerosis patients before and after age 50

Citation:

Riley Bove, Alexander Musallam, Brian C Healy, Maria Houtchens, Bonnie I Glanz, Samia Khoury, Charles R Guttmann, Philip L De Jager, and Tanuja Chitnis. 2013. “No sex-specific difference in disease trajectory in multiple sclerosis patients before and after age 50.” BMC Neurol, 13, Pp. 73.

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: The disease course in multiple sclerosis (MS) is influenced by many factors, including age, sex, and sex hormones. Little is known about sex-specific changes in disease course around age 50, which may represent a key biological transition period for reproductive aging. METHODS: Male and female subjects with no prior chemotherapy exposure were selected from a prospective MS cohort to form groups representing the years before (38-46 years, N=351) and after (54-62 years, N=200)age 50. Primary analysis assessed for interaction between effects of sex and age on clinical (Expanded Disability Status Scale, EDSS; relapse rate) and radiologic (T2 lesion volume, T2LV; brain parenchymal fraction, BPF) outcomes. Secondarily, we explored patient-reported outcomes (PROs). RESULTS: As expected, there were age- and sex- related changes with male and older cohorts showing worse disease severity (EDSS), brain atrophy (BPF), and more progressive course.There was no interaction between age and sex on cross-sectional adjusted clinical (EDSS, relapse rate) or radiologic (BPF, T2LV) measures, or on 2-year trajectories of decline.There was a significant interaction between age and sex for a physical functioning PRO (SF-36): the older female cohort reported lower physical functioning than men (p=0.002). There were no differences in depression (Center for Epidemiological Study - Depression, CES-D) or fatigue (Modified Fatigue Impact Scale, MFIS) scores. CONCLUSIONS: There was no interaction between age and sex suggestive of an effect of reproductive aging on clinical or radiologic progression. Prospective analyses across the menopausal transition are needed.