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Report Finds Decreased Life Expectancy for MS Patients

First large-scale U.S. study provides new information (January 21)

The first large-scale study in the U.S. on the mortality of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) provides new information about the life expectancy of people with the disease. The study appears in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

Investigators at Boston University Medical Center used health insurance claims data to identify a series of patients with MS and a comparison group of individuals from the same health plans who did not have MS. A total of 30,402 MS patients and 89,818 non-MS subjects who were in the OptumInsight Research (OIR) database from 1996 to 2009 were included in the study.

Data on deaths was obtained from government databases of death records. Annual mortality rates were 899/100,000 in MS patients and 446/100,000 in comparators. The median lifespan was 6 years less among the MS patients than among the non-MS group.

While early mortality due to MS is relatively rare, the new data confirm that, compared with the general population, MS patients in the U.S. do experience a decrease in life expectancy. Most of the information on survival patterns in MS has come from Europe, where populations, risk factors, and medical practice may differ from those in the U.S., the authors say.

Source: EurekAlert; January 21, 2014.

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