There is limited research aimed at understanding the effects of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the Latino community. Although a study conducted in South California found the prevalence lower in Latino individuals than in Black or White individuals, clinicians are seeing a rise in MS diagnoses in the Hispanic community.
To better understand how MS affects Latino individuals living with this disease, Daniel Ontaneda, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues conducted a retrospective, cross-sectional study utilizing data from individuals in the Multiple Sclerosis Partners Advancing Technology and Health Solutions (MS PATHS) registry. MS PATHS gathers patient data generated from regular office visits to assist in research programs.
Ontaneda, an associate professor of neurology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, discussed the findings in a poster presentation this April at the 2023 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. The abstract was also published late last month in the journal Neurology.
The study included 388 Latinxoand 5,726 non-LatinoWhite patients with MS diagnoses. Each participant had undergone a brain MRI within one year of clinical visits. In comparison with White participants, Latino patients were younger (45 years vs.53 years) and had shorter disease duration (17 years vs. 20 years).
Despite these differences, Latino patients showed lower processing speed, slower walking speed, higher T2 lesion volume (an MRI marker of MS disease progression), and lower thalamic, cortical, and deep gray matter volume.
Ontaneda and colleagues concluded that Latinx patients with MS have more physical disability, cognitive dysfunction, loss of deep gray matter, and greater tissue injury than non-Latino White individuals despite being younger and having a shorter disease duration.