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Norwegian Multiple Sclerosis Competence Centre and Research Group

Background and aims

These projects aims to further advance the knowledge about the incidence, distribution and possible risk factors relating to multiple sclerosis.

Ongoing projects

Why do patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) die young? Comorbidity and predictors of long-term survival in MS

Our objective is to increase the understanding of comorbid diseases and the reason for premature death in multiple sclerosis (MS), by using epidemiological methods. The study is a population- based registry cohort with data from Norwegian MS registry and Biobank, Norwegian Cancer Registry, Cause of Death Registry, Population Registry and Norwegian Educational Database.A growing amount of evidence indicates that comorbidity has major impact on MS patients’ disease burden, disability progression, survival, and health care utilization, which are consequential for patients, their caregivers and society. Time frame for the project is until 2021.

Please contact: Nina Grytten Torkildsen (postdoctor)

E-mail: nina.grytten@helse-bergen.no
Phone: +47 55 97 55 03

Norwegian Multiple Sclerosis Competence Centre
Dept. of Neurology
Haukeland University Hospital
5021 Bergen

Cancer risk in multiple sclerosis patients, siblings, and healthy controls: a prospective, longitudinal cohort study

The objective was to prospectively investigate cancer risk in multiple sclerosis (MS) by comparing MS patients to siblings without MS and to non- MS population controls. Data on MS patients born between 1930 and 1979 were retrieved from the Norwegian MS Registry and prevalence studies from Norway, cancer from the Norwegian Cancer Registry, and education from the Norwegian Educational Registry. Patients were linked to siblings by personal identification number by Norwegian Population Registry. Cox proportional hazard regression, adjusted for age, gender, residence and education was used to estimate cancer risk among 6935 MS patients, 9346 siblings without MS and 38055 non-MS controls. Cancer has consequences on MS patients premature death, and the disclosure of risk of cancer among MS patients is important to increase survival.Time frame: 2019

Please contact: Nina Grytten Torkildsen (postdoctor)

E-mail: nina.grytten@helse-bergen.no
Tel: +47 55975503

Norwegian Multiple Sclerosis Competence Centre
Dept. of Neurology
Haukeland University Hospital
5021 Bergen

Multiple sclerosis: The impact of environmental-and life style factors.

Multiple sclerosis is a neuro-inflammatory disease caused by an interaction of genetic and environmental risk factors. Our object is to explore the role of smoking, obesity and previous Epstein-Barr infection regarding disease activity and treatment response in MS by using epidemiological methods. The background for all studies is the OFAMS study, a randomized controlled multicenter study from 2004-2008 in which 92 patients with relapsing remitting MS were followed for two years with repeated MRIs, clinical evaluations and serum samples, 6 months without treatment and 18 months with interferon-beta treatment (1). Four reports have been published so far. (2-5) Time frame for the project is until 2021.

Please contact: Silje Stokke Kvistad (PhD-candidate)

E-mail: sgns@helse-bergen.no
Phone: + 47 55 97 58 47

Norwegian Multiple Sclerosis Competence Centre
Dept. of Neurology
Haukeland University Hospital
5021 Bergen

1. Torkildsen O, Wergeland S, Bakke S, Beiske AG, Bjerve KS, Hovdal H, et al. omega-3 fatty acid treatment in multiple sclerosis (OFAMS Study): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Archives of neurology. 2012;69(8):1044-51.
2. Kvistad S, Myhr KM, Holmoy T, Bakke S, Beiske AG, Bjerve KS, et al. Antibodies to Epstein-Barr virus and MRI disease activity in multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis. 2014;20(14):1833-40.
3. Kvistad SS, Myhr KM, Holmoy T, Saltyte Benth J, Wergeland S, Beiske AG, et al. Body mass index influence interferon-beta treatment response in multiple sclerosis. Journal of neuroimmunology. 2015;288:92-7.
4. Kvistad SS, Myhr KM, Holmoy T, Benth JS, Wergeland S, Beiske AG, et al. Serum levels of leptin and adiponectin are not associated with disease activity or treatment response in multiple sclerosis. Journal of neuroimmunology. 2018;323:73-7.
5. Kvistad S, Myhr KM, Holmoy T, Benth JS, Loken-Amsrud KI, Wergeland S, et al. No association of tobacco use and disease activity in multiple sclerosis. Neurology(R) neuroimmunology & neuroinflammation. 2016;3(4):e260.

Mor og Barn studien (risikofaktorer for MS)

More information coming soon.

Please contact: Trond Riise 

Lifestyle factors and their influence on long-term disability progression in MS

Objective: We aimed to evaluate whether vitamin D levels, tobacco use and body mass index (BMI) were associated with long-term disability in MS, assessed by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). 

Methods: In a cohort of 80 patients with MS, 25-hydroxyvitamin (25(OH)D), cotinine (marker for tobacco use) BMI and EDSS score were repeatedly measured during 24 months. Around 10 years later, the EDSS score was repeated to assess their current disability status. We used logistic regression to estimate the association between levels of 25(OH)D, cotinine and BMI, and the change in EDSS score during 10 years. 

Results: We found a significant association between higher 25(OH)D levels and lower increase in EDSS over 10 years. For tobacco use and smoking no clear associations were found. 

Time frame: All analyses are performed, and a manuscript with the results have been submitted to a peer-review Journal. 

Contact information: Kristin Wesnes, PhD-student at Department of Clinical Medicine, e-mail: kristin.wesnes@uib.no.