Helen Tremlett, PhD, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, talks about the comorbidities in multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). Comorbidities are more common in the MS population compared to matched general population controls even before the classical onset of MS. The most prevalent comorbidities present in MS patients are anxiety, depression, hyperlipidemia, and chronic lung disease. In the NMOSD population, less is known about the prevalence of comorbidities. However, a recent study suggests that Parkinson’s disease and ischaemic heart disease are more common in the NMOSD population than in the matched general population controls. The study also compared the NMOSD and MS populations and found that the risk of comorbidities investigated was similar between the two populations. Additionally, ongoing studies are investigating the association of comorbidities with the risk of future relapse and risk of future disability progression in MS to understand the relevance of comorbidities in those patients. Future research should focus on understanding if managing comorbidities could benefit MS patients by reducing relapse or disability risks. This interview took place at the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) Congress 2022 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
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