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Higher BMI Indicates Severity in Women's MS

April 18, 2016

The severity of multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms might correlate to female patients' Body Mass Index (BMI), according to authors of a cross-sectional study presented at the 68th AAN Annual Meeting.

Although the correlation was seen as “modest” it was seen as something that could lead to the development of better and more accurate treatment.

Obesity is “an inflammatory state marked by increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as leptin and interleukin 6, and it may be a risk factor for MS,” the researchers noted. To assess the possible association between MS disease severity and BMI, they conducted a cross-sectional study of neurologist-confirmed MS at two outpatient clinics, in Livingston, NJ and New York, NY. Only participants who were relapse-free for three months were enrolled in the study.

BMI and Patient Determined Disease Steps (PDDS) were recorded for a total of 1,024 patients, and Multiple Sclerosis Severity Scores (P-MSSS) were calculated using PDDS and disease duration data.

BMI scores correlated significantly with P-MSSS in the female population, but not among the male participants.” the researchers wrote. “In a multiple regression model, BMI was a significant predictor of P-MSSS but accounted for only 2% of the variance.”