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Acute optic neuritis: a prospective study of risk factors for multiple sclerosis.
  1. M A Hely,
  2. P G McManis,
  3. T J Doran,
  4. J C Walsh,
  5. J G McLeod


    Eighty two patients with isolated optic neuritis were studied prospectively to determine the frequency with which multiple sclerosis developed and the factors which increased its risk. Patients were followed for 6 to 264 months (mean, 57 months). Twenty six patients (32%) developed clinically definite or probable multiple sclerosis during the period of follow-up. Actuarial analysis predicted that 42% would develop multiple sclerosis by 7 years. Of those patients who developed multiple sclerosis, 92% had symptoms within 4 years of the first attack of optic neuritis. The highest incidence of multiple sclerosis occurred in the 21-40 year age group. There was an increased risk of MS in patients with HLA-DR2 and HLA-B7 tissue types. The frequency of HLA-DR4 was increased in patients with optic neuritis alone compared to controls and to patients with multiple sclerosis, but further studies are required to confirm this finding.

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