More MS news articles for Aug 2001

Risk of MS differs among black, white patients

July 30, 2001

White patients have a greater risk of developing multiple sclerosis after optic neuritis, inflammation of the optic nerve. However, black patients have more severe neurological disability after five years of the attack, according to a study presented at the World Congress of Neurology meeting.

Researchers analyzed sequential numerical data obtained on all Optic Neuritis Treatment Trial patients who had a second neurological event after initial optic neuritis attack.

The researchers studied 42 black patients and 290 white patients.

Visual scale of the extended disability scale scores (EDSS) was used to document visual outcome and the scores on six subsets of the EDSS to document non-visual neurological outcome.

Overall, 38 percent of white patients developed a second event compared with 21 percent of black patients. Thirty-seven percent of white patients had visual events of 0.92 mean severity compared with 21 percent of black patients with 2.4 mean severity (P=.009).

Mean visual outcome at five years was 0.3 for white subjects and 2 for black subjects.

No differences were observed between EDSS subscores for the two groups in cognitive, motor, sensory, and sphincter functions.

More black individuals had events involving abnormal gait (73 percent) compared with white individuals (36 percent), but the difference was not significant.

The mean severity of cranial nerve events in white patients was 1.04 and among black patients it was 0.33. However, overall disability due to these nerve events was minimal in both patient groups. Mean total EDSS values at five years were 2.61 for black patients and 1.52 for white patients.