Does the socioeconomic status explain why black people with MS have more disabilities?


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A new study suggests that, even when socioeconomic status differences are taken into account, black people with multiple sclerosis (MS) may have a more negative impact on the disease than white people with MS. The research is published as of June 30, 2021, online issue of Neurology. The study found that black people with MS had lower scores on certain neurological health measures, such as dexterity and walking tests, and showed more evidence of disease progression on brain scans.

“Although it is lower seems to be related to worsening neurological performance tests of with MS, we don’t see that for black people with MS, at least at the one time we examined it, ”said study author Lana Zhovtis Ryerson, MD, of NYU Langone Health in New York City and member of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study examined 1,214 people who identified as black and 7,530 people who identified as white. The researchers also examined neighborhood-based socioeconomic status in more detail for 288 of the study blacks and 1,046 of the whites.

The researchers also examined common neurological tests for people with MS. In a cognitive processing of 50 questions , blacks with MS, on average, scored five points less than whites with MS. For physical tests such as the 25-foot walk test, black people with MS were an average of 0.66 seconds slower. In a manual dexterity test, blacks with MS were an average of 2.11 seconds slower.

When you look , which may indicate , the researchers found that blacks had, on average, larger lesion volumes on brain scans compared to whites.

The researchers then examined the smallest group of people, using a more detailed measure of socioeconomic status. For white people with MS, lower family incomes were associated with slower cognitive processes and gait speeds, while a worse score on the socioeconomic test was associated with slower cognitive processes and manual dexterity speeds. For the black people in the study, lower incomes were only associated with less manual dexterity. Having worse socioeconomic scores was not associated with differences in cognitive, walking, or manual processing. speeds.

“Future studies should consider the role of unmeasured factors such as systemic racism to see if they can play a role in increased disability among blacks with MS,” Zhovtis Ryerson said. “These results also reinforce the need for more diverse clinical trials and research that focus on specific treatment strategies for black people to identify whether certain therapies or more aggressive early treatment can help curb disability over time. “.

One limitation of the study is that it was based on a point in time and may not reflect associations over time.

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Citation: Does the socioeconomic status explain why black people with MS have more disabilities? (2021, June 30), retrieved June 30, 2021 at

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