Cardiovascular risk factors are associated with increased lesion burden and brain atrophy in multiple sclerosis

Natalie Kappus, Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, Jesper Hagemeier, Cheryl Kennedy, Rebecca Melia, Ellen Carl, Deepa P. Ramasamy, Mariya Cherneva, Jacqueline Durfee, Niels Bergsland, Michael G. Dwyer, Channa Kolb, David Hojnacki, Murali Ramanathan, Robert Zivadinov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Cardiovascular (CV) risk factors have been associated with changes in clinical outcomes in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Objectives To investigate the frequency of CV risks in patients with MS and their association with MRI outcomes. Methods In a prospective study, 326 patients with relapsing-remitting MS and 163 patients with progressive MS, 61 patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) and 175 healthy controls (HCs) were screened for CV risks and scanned on a 3T MRI scanner. Examined CV risks included hypertension, heart disease, smoking, overweight/obesity and type 1 diabetes. MRI measures assessed lesion volumes (LVs) and brain atrophy. Association between individual or multiple CV risks and MRI outcomes was examined adjusting for age, sex, race, disease duration and treatment status. Results Patients with MS showed increased frequency of smoking (51.7% vs 36.5%, p=0.001) and hypertension (33.9% vs 24.7%, p=0.035) compared with HCs. In total, 49.9% of patients with MS and 36% of HCs showed ≥2 CV risks (p=0.003), while the frequency of ≥3 CV risks was 18.8% in the MS group and 8.6% in the HCs group ( p=0.002). In patients with MS, hypertension and heart disease were associated with decreased grey matter (GM) and cortical volumes ( p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-187
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Surgery
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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