November 5, 2003
Boston Cure Project
A team of Israeli researchers have come up with a way to track disability progression in MS and predict future progression in individuals and groups. They constructed disability curve charts that are similar to the height/weight charts used by pediatricians to track the growth of their patients. In the MS charts, EDSS (disability score) is plotted against duration of MS in the same way growth charts plot height/weight against age. These charts were developed using data from 1001 people with MS who were tracked for up to 10 years, and then validated using data from an additional 268 participants.
These charts can be used to compare someone's rate of progression with the general MS population (e.g., a female with an EDSS of 4 after one year is at the 95th percentile, or is more disabled than 95% of all other females with MS at the one year point). The researchers also state that the charts enable prediction of an individual's progression because people tend to stay in the same percentile range over time. For instance, 75% of people assigned to the 25th percentile will remain there after 10 years. Finally, the researchers suggest that these charts can be used to assess and plan treatment strategies -- e.g., someone who moves upward into the next higher percentile range might be a good candidate for an aggressive intervention.
Developing these charts to track progression seems like such an obvious idea -- wonder why nobody has done it before now?
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