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MRI Found to Be Useful in Predicting Multiple Sclerosis

Modified Barkhof criteria may have moderate value in predicting change to multiple sclerosis

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with a clinically isolated syndrome treated with interferon beta-1b, the modified Barkhof criteria may provide some value in predicting conversion to clinically definite multiple sclerosis (CDMS), according to a multicenter, randomized study published in the November issue of the Archives of Neurology.

Bastiaan Moraal, M.D., of the Vrije University Medical Center in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues analyzed data from 468 patients with a recent initial clinical demyelinating event. Patients either received three years of interferon beta-1b or placebo followed by at least a year of this treatment. All underwent baseline MRI.

Overall, the researchers found that 42 percent converted to CDMS. Of the Barkhof criteria, those with the highest prognostic value were the baseline presence of at least nine T2-weighted lesions and at least three periventricular lesions (hazard ratios, 1.64 and 1.66, respectively). The authors found no particular advantage in using at least three Barkhof criteria as a set cutoff.

"In general, the percentage of patients converting to CDMS was higher in the presence (compared with the absence) of all baseline MRI variables. In particular, the modified Barkhof criteria showed moderate predictive value for conversion to CDMS, although all patients were treated for at least one year with interferon beta-1b," the authors conclude.

The study was sponsored by Bayer Schering Pharma AG. Several authors reported financial and consulting relationships with a variety of pharmaceutical companies.

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