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Prodromal multiple sclerosis: considerations and future utility

Harding, Katharine E., Kreft, Karim L., Ben-Shlomo, Yoav and Robertson, Neil P. ORCID: 2024. Prodromal multiple sclerosis: considerations and future utility. Journal of Neurology 271 (4) , pp. 2129-2140. 10.1007/s00415-023-12173-4

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A multiple sclerosis (MS) prodrome has recently been described and is characterised by increased rates of healthcare utilisation and an excess frequency of fatigue, bladder problems, sensory symptoms and pain, in the years leading up to clinical onset of disease. This important observation may have several potential applications including in the identification of risk factors for disease, the potential to delay or prevent disease onset and early opportunities to alter disease course. It may also offer possibilities for the use of risk stratification algorithms and effective population screening. If standardised, clearly defined and disease specific, an MS prodrome is also likely to have a profound influence on research and clinical trials directed at the earliest stages of disease. In order to achieve these goals, it is essential to consider experience already gleaned from other disorders. More specifically, in some chronic neurological disorders the understanding of disease pro-drome is now well advanced and has been successfully applied. However, understanding of the MS prodrome remains at an early stage with key questions including the length of the prodrome, symptom specificity and potential benefits of early intervention as yet unanswered. In this review we will explore the evidence available to date and suggest future research strategies to address unanswered questions. In addition, whilst current understanding of the MS prodrome is not yet sufficient to justify changes in public health policy or MS management, we will consider the practical utility and future application of the MS prodrome in a wider health care setting.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0340-5354
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 March 2024
Date of Acceptance: 23 December 2023
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2024 12:30

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