Washington, July 30 (ANI): Researchers have revealed that cognitive testing, gender and brain lesions might help people with inactive or benign multiple sclerosis (MS) better predict their future with the disease.
People with benign MS are those who remain "fully functional" after 15 or more years from disease onset.
However, they occasionally develop renewed disease activity or progression, and can experience severe symptoms.
During the study, researchers looked at the cognitive test results and brain scans of 63 people with benign MS during a period of five years. Of those, 43 were women and 20 were men.
The cognitive tests included verbal and visual memory, attention, concentration and the speed at which the participant processed information.
While brain scans revealed the number of lesions associated with MS on the person's brain.
The study found that nearly 30 percent of people with benign MS significantly worsened over the course of five years.
People who failed more than two cognitive tests out of total 10 were 20 percent more likely to progress over time.
In addition, men with benign MS were nearly three times more likely to later experience signs of MS compared to women.
People with more brain lesions detected on scans were also more likely to develop signs of the disease.
"Our findings strongly suggest that a person's gender, cognitive state and amount of lesions on the brain are important factors for predicting MS progression," said study author Dr Maria Pia Amato, with the University of Florence in Italy.
"Our study highlights the importance of cognitively testing people with benign MS who appear to be healthy. This information might be important in tailoring the patient's treatment," Amato added.
The study appears in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. (ANI)