Latinx with MS have greater disability, loss of cortical gray matter

April 25, 2023
Multiple sclerosis affects an increasing number of Latinx patients. The clinical and radiological characteristics of Latinx MS are not well understood, and may have biological or social underpinnings. A research team set out to uncover the clinical and MRI features of Latinx with MS. 

A retrospective cross-sectional study in the MS PATHS network by a research team – led by the Cleveland Clinic – was conducted with Latinx and white non-Latinx with an MS diagnosis. A total of 660 Latinx and 9957 white subjects were identified, with 388 Latinx and 5726 white subjects in the MRI group. Brain MRIs conducted within one year of clinical visits were included in the MRI group. Clinical and quantitative MRI measures were extracted from MS PATHS, including age- and education-adjusted processing speed tests. Mixed effect models were used to examine clinical and MRI differences between Latinx and white subjects while adjusting for factors such as education, insurance, and employment. 

Compared with white subjects, Latinx were younger, had shorter disease duration, and had a lower processing speed z-score. Latinx had higher T2 lesion volume, and lower thalamic volume compared to white subjects. Adjusted mixed models showed that Latinx subjects had lower processing speed, brain parenchymal fraction, thalamic volume, cortical volume, and deep gray matter volume, as well as, slower walking speed, nondominant manual dexterity, and higher PDDS.

According to the study’s authors, the findings suggest Latinx, despite being younger and having a shorter disease duration than whites, had more physical disability, cognitive dysfunction, greater lesion burden, and loss of deep and cortical gray matter.

The findings were presented at the AAN 2023 Annual Meeting in Boston.

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