Initiating Difficult Conversations With Patients Based on Hard Data: Daniel Ontaneda, MD, PhD


The associate professor of neurology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western University provided commentary on the need for clinicians to be transparent with patients with MS about potential differences in disease course. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"If I have a patient who is Latinx or Hispanic, what will that influence? Because I know that they might have greater lesion volume, or that they might do worse. To ignore it would be a mistake."

For the patient-clinician relationship to be successful, communication is often key. It’s a 2-way street, and beneficial for both parties to be transparent about topics of importance related to a patient’s condition. At the 2023 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, held April 22-27, in Boston, Massachusetts, new data showed greater physical disability, cognitive dysfunction, greater lesion burden, and loss of deep and cortical gray matter in Latinx patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) despite being younger and having shorter disease duration than Whites.

The study, which featured 660 Latinx and 9957 White individuals, prompts questions about how clinicians should approach Latinx patients with the disease, and whether the data influences treatment decisions. At the meeting, lead investigator Daniel Ontaneda, MD, PhD, sat down to discuss the tough conversations clinicians need to have with their patients, and why they owe it to patient communities to be honest about what data suggests. Ontaneda, associate professor of neurology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western University, also talked about the importance genetics plays in disease trajectory, and why the various ancestorial ties within the Latinx community make treatment optimization even more difficult.

Click here for more coverage of AAN 2023.

1. Ontaneda D, Cohen JA, Mowry EM, et al. Latinx with multiple sclerosis have greater disability and loss of deep and cortical gray matter. Presented at: 2023 AAN Annual Meeting; April 22-27; Abstract S31
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