Benjamin M. Segal, MD: The Multiple Sclerosis Prodrome


The chair of the department of neurology at The Ohio State University discussed the idea of the multiple sclerosis prodrome, presented in a plenary address at the MS Virtual 2020 meeting.

“There is this growing body of literature indicating that before people are actually diagnosed with definite MS, there is this period of time which can span quite a few years in which they are actually utilizing health services more frequently.”

At this year’s joint ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS meeting, MS Virtual 2020, the opening plenary address was given by Helen Tremlett, PhD, professor, and Canada Research Chair in Neuroepidemiology and Multiple Sclerosis, University of British Columbia. She discussed the novel idea of the multiple sclerosis (MS) prodrome, a period of time in which patients experience an increased usage of health care, as well as lifestyle changes, which she noted are recognizable 5 to 10 years prior the clinical recognition of MS.

This myriad of prodromal features, however, are nonspecific to MS, but they offer a potentially great insight into what may be the first signs of disease. As Benjamin M. Segal, MD, chair, Department of Neurology, and director, Neuroscience Research Institute, The Ohio State University, noted to NeurologyLive, there has long been the knowledge that the ongoing damage is undetectable early on. This new data, though, suggest it might be identifiable with further research.

Segal, who was the co-chair of the scientific program committee for MS Virtual 2020 and is the co-director of the Neurological Institute and The Stanley D. and Joan H. Ross Chair in Neuromodulation at Ohio State, provided a recap of this plenary talk and what his takeaways were. He also spoke to what he believes may happen as this MS prodrome is elucidated further.

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