Bone mineral density in patients with multiple sclerosis, hereditary ataxia or hereditary spastic paraplegia after at least 10 years of disease - a case control study

BMC Neurol. 2016 Dec 5;16(1):252. doi: 10.1186/s12883-016-0771-4.


Background: Although disability is considered the main cause of low bone mineral density (BMD) in multiple sclerosis (MS), other factors related to the disease process or treatment could also be involved. The aim of this study was to assess whether patients with MS are more likely to develop low BMD (osteopenia or osteoporosis) than patients with the non-inflammatory neurological diseases Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP) and Hereditary Ataxia (HA).

Methods: We performed a case control study comparing BMD (spine, hip and total body) and biochemical measures of bone metabolism in 91 MS patients and 77 patients with HSP or HA, matched for age, gender and disability. Both patient groups had lived with the disease for at least 10 years.

Results: In total 74.7% of the patients with MS and 75.3% of the patients with HSP or HA had osteopenia (-2.5 < T- score < -1.0) or osteoporosis (T- score ≤ -2.5) in one or more sites. Osteoporosis was more common in patients with MS than with HSP/HA (44.0 vs 20.8%, p =0.001). This difference was not significant after correction for confounders (p = 0.07), nor were any of the biochemical markers.

Conclusion: Most patients with disabling neurological diseases like MS and HSP/HA develop osteopenia or osteoporosis. MS patients had osteoporosis more frequently than HA/HSP patients, though the difference was not significant after adjusting for confounders. Osteoporosis and bone health should be considered in all patients with both inflammatory and degenerative chronic neurological diseases.

Keywords: Bone Mineral Density; Case control; Hereditary Ataxia; Hereditary Spastic Paraparesis; Multiple Sclerosis; Osteoporosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / etiology*
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Disease Progression*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications*
  • Osteoporosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Osteoporosis / metabolism
  • Spastic Paraplegia, Hereditary / complications*
  • Spinocerebellar Degenerations / complications*