Predicting Multiple Sclerosis: Challenges and Opportunities

Front Neurol. 2022 Feb 8;12:761973. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2021.761973. eCollection 2021.


Determining effective means of preventing Multiple Sclerosis (MS) relies on testing preventive strategies in trial populations. However, because of the low incidence of MS, demonstrating that a preventive measure has benefit requires either very large trial populations or an enriched population with a higher disease incidence. Risk scores which incorporate genetic and environmental data could be used, in principle, to identify high-risk individuals for enrolment in preventive trials. Here we discuss the concepts of developing predictive scores for identifying individuals at high risk of MS. We discuss the empirical efforts to do so using real cohorts, and some of the challenges-both theoretical and practical-limiting this work. We argue that such scores could offer a means of risk stratification for preventive trial design, but are unlikely to ever constitute a clinically-helpful approach to predicting MS for an individual.

Keywords: Multiple Sclerosis; environmental risk score; genetics; polygenic risk score; prediction.

Publication types

  • Review