Significantly increased levels of multiple sclerosis (MS) disease activity can be seen in MRI scans during the spring and summer months, researchers found. ...
Geographic differences may further contribute to seasonality patterns, which could be additionally problematic in studies where data are pooled from geographically disparate centers.
This concern about seasonality influencing clinical trials, particularly early-phase trials that typically rely on MRI, was echoed in an editorial by two researchers from Washington University in St. Louis.
..."The seasonal variability in MS activity detected by MRI could greatly bias results, either positively or negatively," they cautioned.
An important contribution of this study is its further support for the concept that the environment influences MS, according to Cross and Parks.
"If the critical environmental factors could be identified, this information would undoubtedly provide important clues regarding the mechanisms of disease progression in MS," they wrote.