Maria A. Rocca1, Sarlota Mesaros1, Elisabetta Pagani1, Maria Pia Sormani1,2, Vittorio Martinelli3, Giancarlo Comi3, Massimo Filippi1
1Neuroimaging Research Unit, Institute of Experimental Neurology, Division of Neuroscience, Scientific Institute and University Hospital San Raffaele, Milan, Italy; 2Unit of Biostatistics, DISSAL, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; 3Department of Neurology, Scientific Institute and University Hospital San Raffaele, Milan, Italy
We assessed the value of thalamic damage (in terms of atrophy and magnetization transfer ratio-MTR), taken in isolation, and its short-term changes in predicting accumulation of disability over an 8-year period in 73 patients with relapse-onset multiple sclerosis (MS). At the end of follow up, 44 patients (60%) showed a significant disability worsening. A multivariable model included baseline thalamic fraction [p=0.01, odds ratio (OR)=0.62], and average lesion MTR percentage change after 12 months (p=0.04, OR=0.90) as independent predictors of disability worsening at 8 years (r2=0.29) suggesting that thalamic damage predicts the long-term accumulation of disability in MS.