Relapse numbers and earlier intervention by disease modifying drugs are related with progression of less brain atrophy in patients with multiple sclerosis


      • Preventing brain atrophy of patients with MS is an urgent matter.
      • Annualized atrophy rate of NBV and attack number was significantly correlated.
      • Time from drug initiation was negatively correlated with attack number.
      • Negative correlation was found between time from drug initiation and atrophy rate.


      Long term effect between disease-modifying drugs (DMDs) treatment duration and brain atrophy rate has not been fully investigated in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). The aim of this study was to investigate whether DMDs could slow down the progression of brain atrophy in patients with RRMS by comparing DMDs-treated group with non-treated group during a certain period of time.
      This was a retrospective investigation. Forty-nine RRMS patients underwent two brain MRI scans more than one year apart. Between scans, patients were treated with fingolimod (n = 16), interferon-beta (n = 23) or not treated with DMD (n = 10). Correlations between clinical characteristics and brain volume were calculated by statistical parametric mapping-12.
      In all 49 patients, the total attack number before 1st MRI scan and the annualized rate of total lesion volume change between the two scans showed a positive correlation with annualized atrophy rate of grey matter volume (GMV) plus white matter volume (WMV). In patients with DMDs (n = 39), the period from drug initiation to 1st MRI scan was negatively correlated with the annualized atrophy rate of GMV + WMV and number of attacks between scans.
      The number of total previous attacks could be a predictor of subsequent MS progression. Early intervention by DMDs could prevent brain atrophy in patients with MS.


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