Pregnancy can delay the onset of multiple sclerosis (MS) by more than 3 years. This has been confirmed by an international study, led by researchers at the University of Monash (Australia), and its results have implications both for a better understanding of the causes of MS and for the potential use of hormone therapy to delay the onset of MS. symptoms.
MS is four times more prevalent in women. It is estimated that more than 2.5 million people worldwide have EM and women are four times more likely to have the disease than men.
The study, published today in the journal “JAMA Neurology”, aimed to analyze whether pregnancy can delay the onset of MS, which is very often diagnosed in women of childbearing age.
The research is part of a series of dozens of high-impact MS research studies conducted using the MSBase database of more than 70,000 people with MS in 35 countries. The global initiative, which has been operating for more than 20 years, is led by Professor Helmut Butzkueven, from the Department of Neuroscience at Monash University.
The researchers, led by Vilija Jokubaitis, analyzed more than 3,600 women attending four MS clinics in two countries (Czech Republic and Australia), all of whom were enrolled in MSBase.
The study found that women who had been pregnant were diagnosed with their first MS symptoms, on average, 3.3 years later, compared to women who had never been pregnant. A similar delay in the onset of MS was also seen in women who had delivered a baby to term, with a delay in onset of, on average, 3.4 years.
Jokubaitis suggests that pregnancy could reduce the abnormal overactivity of the immune system that causes MS, potentially in the long term. “At present, we do not know exactly how pregnancy slows the development of MS, but we believe it has to do with alterations made to a woman’s DNA,” he says.
He MSBase registration since 2001 includes patients from 35 countries with multiple sclerosis since. MSBase coordinates and collects data from 160 partner clinics and follows more than 71,000 patients. It supports 56 investigator-initiated prospective studies, including multiple national and regional registries in Australia, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Canada, the Middle East, and North Africa.
According to Professor Butzkueven, data like the one appearing today in “JAMA Neurology” could not come from smaller studies. ‘They provide an overview of the causes of MS and also help clinicians decide the best treatment strategies to prevent long-term disability in MS. Many of our big questions take 10 years or more to get the answers, and only long-term systematic registry data sets like MSBase, involving 10 out of 1000 patients, can do this. ”
MSBase data contains information on disease onset, long- and short-term effects of new and existing treatments, relapses, and levels of disability for each patient over time.
According to Professor Butzkueven, data sets as large as that of MSBase are important in determining the long-term benefits and risks of treatments, as well as in allowing ‘individualized outcome prediction: information on the probable course of a disease of a patient. individual, which is very important as MS can affect each person so differently.
MSBase is now building a revolutionary new research and care platform. “The big challenge in MS is to have treatments to stop and reverse the progressive phase of MS,” says Professor Butzkueven. We need new biomarkers of progression to build cheap, effective and rapid trials of the future. The MSBase Registry and Monash University are now strategically partnering to make this happen.