Some of the issues identified in relation to gender and MS include:
* MS is more common in women, but severity of the disease may be worse in men.
* The prevalence of MS and ratio of women to men has increased during the 20th century and continues to increase.
* In studies involving men with MS, male gender was predictive of a shorter time period before an assistive walking device was required. For example, men were quicker to need devices such as canes after diagnosis.
* Men have a higher rate of cerebellar involvement and a higher risk of primary-progressive disease, both of which are factors associated with a poorer prognosis. A study has found that progranulin gene variability increases the risk of PPMS in men.
* The disease in women tends to be more inflammatory with greater number of gadolinium-enhancing lesions. Men tend to develop more “black holes” as seen on MRI scans.
* Some studies have shown gender has no effect on life expectancy in MS. Some studies have shown shorter than expected life expectancies of men with MS, others have shown longer than expected life expectancies. Perhaps MS in men doesn’t make a difference after all in longevity.
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MS in Men and Women: Does Gender Matter?