Adolescent girls with obesity were at a higher risk for increased morbidity from multiple sclerosis or clinically isolated syndrome compared with boys, according to study recently published in Neurology.

Researchers identified 75 newly diagnosed cases of multiple sclerosis (MS) or clinically isolated syndrome (CSI) through the Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) Pediatric Acquired Demyelinating Diseases Cohort between 2004 and 2010. The majority of patients were girls aged 11 to 18 years.

Body mass index (BMI) was obtained prior to symptom onset in girls with MS or CSI and through the KPSC Children’s health study for the underlying cohort. Researchers assigned weight classes of normal weight, overweight, moderate obesity and extreme obesity based on BMI specific for age and sex.

Overall, study results showed that obesity was associated with a significantly increased risk of multiple sclerosis or clinically isolated syndrome among girls but not among boys. Patients with moderately to extreme obesity were more likely to present with transverse myelitis vs. normal or overweight children, according to the researchers.

For more information:

Langer-Gould A. Neurology. 2013;doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e31828154f3.

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