Multiple sclerosis is a disease which affects people in many different ways. For some, it can be relatively mild, while for others it can be very aggressive and cause high levels of disability in a short period of time. The more aggressive presentation of MS has been called “malignant MS” or “highly active MS” or simply “aggressive MS.” This type of MS would be different from advanced MS, in that disability accumulates very quickly, up to Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score 6.0, within the first few years after diagnosis. Patients with aggressive onset MS, or AOMS, may have smaller windows of opportunity for receiving the most effective treatment to slow down the disease.
Studying aggressive onset MS (AOMS)
To date, there are no established criteria or biomarkers by which neurologists can easily identify cases of aggressive MS. To learn more about this type of MS, researchers in New York reviewed the published literature to carefully select a set of criteria with early clinical features and MRI findings that doctors can use to identify these cases. They published their findings in August 2016 in the Journal of Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. The criteria included: 1) two or more relapses in the year after disease onset and two or more gadolinium-enhancing lesions on brain MRI scans; or 2) one relapse if it results in sustained disability (at least EDSS 3.0) along with two or more gadolinium-enhancing lesions.
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Aggressive MS Needs Early Aggressive Treatment