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ISSN: 2376-0389

Journal of Multiple Sclerosis
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Research Article

Parity Associated with Long-Term Disease Progression in Women with Multiple Sclerosis

Barbara Teter1,2, Katelyn S Kavak1,2, Channa Kolb1,2, Patricia K Coyle2,3 and Bianca Weinstock-Guttman1,2* on behalf of the New York State Multiple Sclerosis Consortium

1 Jacobs Comprehensive MS Treatment and Research Center, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA

2 New York State Multiple Sclerosis Consortium, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA

3 Neurology, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY, USA

Corresponding Author:
Bianca Weinstock-Guttman MD
Jacobs Comprehensive MS Treatment and Research Center
100 High Street, Buffalo, NY 14203, USA
Tel: 716-859-7051
Fax: 716-859-7573
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: March 18, 2014; Accepted date: April 24, 2014; Published date: April 26, 2014

Citation: Teter B, Kavak KS, Kolb C, Coyle PK, and Guttman BW (2014) Parity Associated with Long-Term Disease Progression in Women with Multiple Sclerosis. J Mult Scler 1:101. doi:10.4172/2376-0389.1000101

Copyright: © 2014 Barbara T, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Background: Pregnancy in multiple sclerosis (MS) is marked by a decrease in relapse activity with a corresponding rebound in the first months postpartum. Because MS typically occurs during childbearing years, it is important to determine the long term effect of pregnancy.

Design/Methods: Subjects were part of the New York State Multiple Sclerosis Consortium registry. 1,195 parous and 328 nulliparous women with clinically definite MS age 45 or older were analyzed to determine time to a disability milestone, Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) 6.0. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to examine the effect of parity on time from MS disease onset to EDSS 6.0, adjusted for confounding factors.

Results: The average disease duration for 1,523 women was 18.1 years. During a mean follow-up period of 5.6 years 23.1% of the parous group reached EDSS 6.0, compared to 26.5% of the nulliparous women. Cox survival curves between parous and nulliparous women were significantly different (HR=.68, CI=.53-.87, p=.002), with parous women showing a longer time to reach the disability outcome. Follow-up analyses stratified by MS type showed that parity remained a significant predictor of disease progression in relapsing remitting (RRMS) patients, whereas this effect was not observed within progressive subtypes.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that parous women with RRMS take a longer time to reach a well-defined disability milestone (i.e. use of cane) compared to nulliparous women, suggesting that pregnancy may convey a long term benefit. Further research is needed to determine why pregnancy might be protective against long term MS disability progression.


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