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J Neuroimmunol. 2012 Feb 29;243(1-2):61-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2011.12.007. Epub 2012 Jan 18.

Associations of moderate alcohol consumption with clinical and MRI measures in multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, USA.



To examine the associations of alcohol consumption patterns with disability and brain injury in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.


This study included 423 subjects (272 MS patients, 151 healthy controls) participating in a study of clinical, environmental and genetic risk factors in MS. Disability was assessed with the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and the MS Severity Scale (MSSS). Brain injury was assessed using the quantitative MRI measures of T2-lesion volume (T2-LV), T1-LV, normalized volumes of brain parenchyma (NBV), gray matter (NGMV) and lateral ventricle (NLVV). Information related to alcohol-consumption patterns was obtained with standardized questionnaire during an in-person interview. The associations of alcohol consumption variables with disability and MRI measures were assessed in regression analyses.


The frequency of MS patients who did not consume alcohol after MS (19.4%) was higher than the frequency before MS (p<0.001). The EDSS, NGMV and NLVV exhibited a non-linear dependence on duration of alcohol consumption after MS onset: non-linear regression analyses indicated that EDSS and NLVV were lower and the NGMV was greater in MS patients who had consumed for a period of 15years or less after MS onset compared those who did not consume alcohol or consumed it for more than 15years.


The duration of alcohol consumption is associated with disability and MRI measures in MS. Prospective, longitudinal studies of the role of alcohol in MS disease progression are warranted.

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