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AAN 2022 | Updates in epidemiology data in NMOSD

Michael Levy, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, discusses updates in epidemiology data in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), including new findings on race predisposition. A recent study indicated that mortality rates for African Americans with NMOSD are significantly higher than in non-African Americans. The reasons behind such disparity are being investigated: it could be a result of access to care, response to certain medications, or an innate factor in their immune system that may be genetically based. Dr Levy highlights an increase in awareness, which has led to an abundance of genetic studies being set in motion and will allow further investigation. Additionally, one of the most considerable uncertainties is response to medications; clinical trials have demonstrated poor representation of African Americans – accounting for less than 20% of the population sample across all three trials conducted. There is an assumption that the medications would be useful across all ethnicities. However, this needs to be assessed. This interview took place at the American Academy of Neurology 2022 Congress in Seattle, WA.