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Is malnutrition a problem for multiple sclerosis patients?

Published:April 04, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jocn.2013.12.024

      Abstract

      Nutritional problems associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) have been observed in a number of studies and case reports. However, the prevalence of malnutrition in MS patients is currently unknown. The primary aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of malnutrition in MS patients and to compare the frequency of malnutrition in MS to that of other diseases. The second aim of the study was to determine whether malnutrition was associated with MS type, disease duration or disability status in MS patients. One hundred two MS patients were included in the current study. The control group consisted of 50 patients with other chronic neurological diseases. Neurological examination scores, Kurtzke Functional System Scale scores, serum albumin levels, sedimentation rate and C reactive protein (CRP) were recorded for all patients. Chronic malnutrition was defined as serum albumin levels below 3.5 g/dl with normal sedimentation rate and CRP levels. Twelve MS patients and one control patient were diagnosed with chronic malnutrition, but the difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.062). In the MS group, MS type, disease duration, number of attacks, Expanded Disability State Score and Functional System Scale scores were not significantly different regardless of patients’ serum albumin levels. We found malnutrition was more prevalent in MS patients than in other chronic diseases. Malnutrition in MS patients was independent of disease course, disease duration, number of attacks, disability status and functional system involvement. These results should be confirmed with further prospective studies in larger MS populations from several facilities.

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