To help physicians predict the likelihood that a patient’s multiple sclerosis will advance significantly in the near term, Rebecca Betensky and her collaborators have developed a formula, which they continue to refine. Using data from a small group of patients, they calculated patients’ likelihood of progressing along the expanded disability status scale (EDSS), which ranges from normal (0) to bedridden (9).
This graph shows the likelihood of a patient progressing from EDSS 1 to a sustained level of EDSS 3 or higher as suggested by a measurement derived from magnetic resonance scans reflecting the extent of tissue loss from the brain. Stratification according to this measurement, known as the brain parenchymal fraction group (BPF), is closely associated with EDSS level. As the graph shows, the lower a patient’s BPF group, the greater the chances that MS will advance quickly and significantly within two visits (12 months).