Hispanic/Latino Patients Experience MS Onset Earlier than White Participants, New Research Suggests

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According to research presented at the 2023 Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC), the age at onset (AAO) of multiple sclerosis (MS) was on average 5 years earlier for Hispanic/Latino patients than White non-Hispanic/Latino patients. Disease course also varied within individual Hispanic/Latino ethnic groups.

The retrospective, cross-sectional study recruited 3335 participants from the MS PATHS network of 7 MS care institutions who identified either as Hispanic/Latino or as White non-Hispanic/Latino. Participants were diagnosed with MS between 2010 and 2020 and had an AAO > 18 y. There were 247 (7.4%) Hispanic/Latino and 3089 (92.6%) White non-Hispanic/Latino participants. The Wilcoxon rank sum test and the Fisher exact test were used to compare ethnicity and clinical/sociodemographic attributes. Only education varied significantly between ethnicity groups, with White non-Hispanic/Latino participants reporting more education (14.3 y) than Hispanic/Latin participants (15 y).

Researchers applied multivariable multinomial logistic regression to evaluate associations between ethnicity and disease course, adjusting for AAO. Hispanic/Latino participants were found to have younger AAOs, even when restricting to a disease duration of no greater than 10 y. AAOs for Hispanic/Latino participants were younger by an average of 4.8 y (SD = 0.4; P = 1.3 x 10–5) after adjusting for covariances. Although MS course did not differ significantly between Hispanic/Latino and White non-Hispanic/Latino participants, in the adjusted model, white Hispanic/Latino participants were more likely to present with clinically isolated syndrome compared with non-White Hispanic/Latino participants, who were more likely to present with progressive MS.

The study authors, from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, the Cleveland Clinic, and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, note that additional studies are needed to fully characterize risk profiles and disease course for Hispanic/Latino patients with MS.

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