Multiple sclerosis characteristics in African American patients in the New York State Multiple Sclerosis Consortium

Mult Scler. 2003 Jun;9(3):293-8. doi: 10.1191/1352458503ms909oa.


The objective of this study was to determine the clinical characteristics of multiple sclerosis (MS) in African American (AA) patients in the New York State Multiple Sclerosis Consortium (NYSMSC) patient registry. The NYSMSC is a group of 18 MS centers throughout New York State organized to prospectively assess clinical characteristics of MS patients. AAs comprise 6% (329) of the total NYSMSC registrants (5602). Demographics, disease course, therapy, and socioeconomic status were compared in AA registrants versus nonAfrican Americans (NAA). There was an increased female preponderance and a significantly younger age at diagnosis in the AA group. AA patients were more likely to have greater disability with increased disease duration. No differences were seen in types of MS and use of disease modifying therapies. Our findings suggest a racial influence in MS. Further genetic studies that consider race differences are warranted to elucidate mechanisms of disease susceptibility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / ethnology
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Disabled Persons
  • Employment
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Medicaid
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications
  • Multiple Sclerosis / ethnology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / genetics
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology
  • New York / ethnology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries