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Hypertension Linked with Brain Atrophy in MS

Eur J Neurol; ePub 2018 Aug 13; Jakimovski, et al

Hypertension and heart disease contribute to advanced brain atrophy in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, according to a recent study. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), however, did not contribute to additional lesion accrual, although CVD comorbidities in MS patients may contribute to neurodegenerative tissue injury that can be detected with brain MRI. 194 MS patients and 43 controls without neurologic disease were followed for 5‐years. Full physical and neurological evaluations, plus structured questionnaire responses investigating CVD and risk factors, were collected. Lesion and brain atrophy outcomes were assessed with 3T MRI. Researchers found:

  • Patients with diagnosis of heart disease showed higher white matter and whole brain volume loss compared to those without (‐4.2% vs ‐0.7% and ‐3.4% vs ‐1.6%, respectively).
  • The percentage lateral ventricle volume change in MS patients with hypertension was higher compared to non‐hypertensive patients (24.5% vs 14.1%).
  • Hyperlipidemia, smoking, and obesity/overweight were not associated with progression of MRI‐derived outcomes.
  • CVDs did not contribute to larger lesion volume accrual over the 5‐year period.
  • The presence of CVDs was not associated with MRI‐derived changes in the controls.


Jakimovski D, Gandhi S, Paunkoski I, et al. Hypertension and heart disease are associated with development of brain atrophy in multiple sclerosis: A 5‐year longitudinal study. [Published online ahead of print August 13, 2018]. Eur J Neurol. doi:10.1111/ene.13769.

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