Higher dietary quality is prospectively associated with lower MRI FLAIR lesion volume, but not with hazard of relapse, change in disability or black hole volume in people with Multiple Sclerosis

Publication Name

Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders


Background: The influence of diet quality on multiple sclerosis (MS) progression or inflammatory activity is not well understood. Methods: Study participants with MS from the AusLong cohort, were followed annually (10 years, n = 223 post-onset). At baseline, 5 and 10-year reviews, indices of dietary quality - the Australian Recommended Food Score (ARFS) and Diet Quality Tracker (DQT) - were calculated from self-reported dietary intake data of the preceding 12 months (Food Frequency Questionnaire, Dietary Questionnaire for Epidemiological Studies v2). Associations were examined between measures of dietary quality with measures of MS progression and inflammatory activity hazard of relapse, annualised disability progression (Expanded Disability Status Scale, EDSS) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) outcomes. MRI outcomes included fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR, T2 MRI) lesion volume and black hole volume (T1 MRI) in the juxtacortical, periventricular, and infratentorial regions of the brain, as well as total calculated from the sum of the three regions. Results: A higher diet quality (at least with the ARFS) was associated with lower FLAIR lesion volume in the periventricular region only (highest vs lowest quartile: β=-1.89,95%CI=-3.64, -0.13, p = 0.04, periventricular FLAIR region median (IQR) for 5-year review: 4.41 (6.06) and 10-year review: 4.68 (7.27)). Associations with black hole lesion volume, hazard of relapse, and annualised EDSS progression, lacked in significance and/or dose-dependency. Conclusion: We found evidence that diet quality may have a role in modulating one aspect of MS inflammatory activity (periventricular MRI FLAIR lesion volume), but not other MRI and clinical outcome measures.

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Funding Sponsor

National Multiple Sclerosis Society



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