This paper presents a general statistical methodology for the analysis of multivariate categorical data arising from observer reliability studies. The procedure essentially involves the construction of functions of the observed proportions which are directed at the extent to which the observers agree among themselves and the construction of test statistics for hypotheses involving these functions. Tests for interobserver bias are presented in terms of first-order marginal homogeneity and measures of interobserver agreement are developed as generalized kappa-type statistics. These procedures are illustrated with a clinical diagnosis example from the epidemiological literature.Read more
One method of evaluating the degree of neurologic impairment in MS has been the combination of grades (0 = normal to 5 or 6 = maximal impairment) within 8 Functional Systems (FS) and an overall Disability Status Scale (DSS) that had steps from 0 (normal) to 10 (death due to MS). A new Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) is presented, with each of the former steps (1,2,3 . . . 9) now divided into two (1.0, 1.5, 2.0 . . . 9.5). The lower portion is obligatorily defined by Functional System grades. The FS are Pyramidal, Cerebellar, Brain Stem, Sensory, Bowel & Bladder, Visual, Cerebral, and Other; the Sensory and Bowel & Bladder Systems have been revised. Patterns of FS and relations of FS by type and grade to the DSS are demonstrated.Read more
There has been much recent interest in using magnetic resonance diffusion imaging to provide information about anatomical connectivity in the brain, by measuring the anisotropic diffusion of water in white matter tracts. One of the measures most commonly derived from diffusion data is fractional anisotropy (FA), which quantifies how strongly directional the local tract structure is. Many imaging studies are starting to use FA images in voxelwise statistical analyses, in order to localise brain changes related to development, degeneration and disease. However, optimal analysis is compromised by the use of standard registration algorithms; there has not to date been a satisfactory solution to the question of how to align FA images from multiple subjects in a way that allows for valid conclusions to be drawn from the subsequent voxelwise analysis. Furthermore, the arbitrariness of the choice of spatial smoothing extent has not yet been resolved. In this paper, we present a new method that aims to solve these issues via (a) carefully tuned non-linear registration, followed by (b) projection onto an alignment-invariant tract representation (the "mean FA skeleton"). We refer to this new approach as Tract-Based Spatial Statistics (TBSS). TBSS aims to improve the sensitivity, objectivity and interpretability of analysis of multi-subject diffusion imaging studies. We describe TBSS in detail and present example TBSS results from several diffusion imaging studies.Read more
The International Panel on MS Diagnosis presents revised diagnostic criteria for multiple sclerosis (MS). The focus remains on the objective demonstration of dissemination of lesions in both time and space. Magnetic resonance imaging is integrated with dinical and other paraclinical diagnostic methods. The revised criteria facilitate the diagnosis of MS in patients with a variety of presentations, including "monosymptomatic" disease suggestive of MS, disease with a typical relapsing-remitting course, and disease with insidious progression, without clear attacks and remissions. Previously used terms such as "clinically definite" and "probable MS" are no longer recommended. The outcome of a diagnostic evaluation is either MS, "possible MS" (for those at risk for MS, but for whom diagnostic evaluation is equivocal), or "not MS."Read more
New evidence and consensus has led to further revision of the McDonald Criteria for diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. The use of imaging for demonstration of dissemination of central nervous system lesions in space and time has been simplified, and in some circumstances dissemination in space and time can be established by a single scan. These revisions simplify the Criteria, preserve their diagnostic sensitivity and specificity, address their applicability across populations, and may allow earlier diagnosis and more uniform and widespread use.Read more
New diagnostic criteria for multiple sclerosis integrating magnetic resonance image assessment with clinical and other paraclinical methods were introduced in 2001. The "McDonald Criteria" have been extensively assessed and used since 2001. New evidence and consensus now strengthen the role of these criteria in the multiple sclerosis diagnostic workup to demonstrate dissemination of lesions in time, to clarify the use of spinal cord lesions, and to simplify diagnosis of primary progressive disease. The 2005 Revisions to the McDonald Diagnostic Criteria for MS should simplify and speed diagnosis, whereas maintaining adequate sensitivity and specificity.Read more
Multiple sclerosis is primarily an inflammatory disorder of the brain and spinal cord in which focal lymphocytic infiltration leads to damage of myelin and axons. Initially, inflammation is transient and remyelination occurs but is not durable. Hence, the early course of disease is characterised by episodes of neurological dysfunction that usually recover. However, over time the pathological changes become dominated by widespread microglial activation associated with extensive and chronic neurodegeneration, the clinical correlate of which is progressive accumulation of disability. Paraclinical investigations show abnormalities that indicate the distribution of inflammatory lesions and axonal loss (MRI); interference of conduction in previously myelinated pathways (evoked electrophysiological potentials); and intrathecal synthesis of oligoclonal antibody (examination by lumbar puncture of the cerebrospinal fluid). Multiple sclerosis is triggered by environmental factors in individuals with complex genetic-risk profiles. Licensed disease modifying agents reduce the frequency of new episodes but do not reverse fixed deficits and have questionable effects on the long-term accumulation of disability and disease progression. We anticipate that future studies in multiple sclerosis will provide a new taxonomy on the basis of mechanisms rather than clinical empiricism, and so inform strategies for improved treatment at all stages of the disease.Read more
Genome-wide association studies have identified many noncoding variants associated with common diseases and traits. We show that these variants are concentrated in regulatory DNA marked by deoxyribonuclease I (DNase I) hypersensitive sites (DHSs). Eighty-eight percent of such DHSs are active during fetal development and are enriched in variants associated with gestational exposure-related phenotypes. We identified distant gene targets for hundreds of variant-containing DHSs that may explain phenotype associations. Disease-associated variants systematically perturb transcription factor recognition sequences, frequently alter allelic chromatin states, and form regulatory networks. We also demonstrated tissue-selective enrichment of more weakly disease-associated variants within DHSs and the de novo identification of pathogenic cell types for Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, and an electrocardiogram trait, without prior knowledge of physiological mechanisms. Our results suggest pervasive involvement of regulatory DNA variation in common human disease and provide pathogenic insights into diverse disorders.Read more
Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system and is the most common cause of neurologic disability in young adults. Despite antiinflammatory or immunosuppressive therapy, most patients have progressive neurologic deterioration that may reflect axonal loss. We conducted pathological studies of brain tissues to define the changes in axons in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Brain tissue was obtained at autopsy from 11 patients with multiple sclerosis and 4 subjects without brain disease. Fourteen active multiple-sclerosis lesions, 33 chronic active lesions, and samples of normal-appearing white matter were examined for demyelination, inflammation, and axonal pathologic changes by immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy. Axonal transection, identified by the presence of terminal axonal ovoids, was detected in all 47 lesions and quantified in 18 lesions.
Transected axons were a consistent feature of the lesions of multiple sclerosis, and their frequency was related to the degree of inflammation within the lesion. The number of transected axons per cubic millimeter of tissue averaged 11,236 in active lesions, 3138 at the hypocellular edges of chronic active lesions, 875 in the hypocellular centers of chronic active lesions, and less than 1 in normal-appearing white matter from the control brains.
Transected axons are common in the lesions of multiple sclerosis, and axonal transection may be the pathologic correlate of the irreversible neurologic impairment in this disease.Read more