Food and Behaviour Research

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A pro-inflammatory diet in people with multiple sclerosis is associated with an increased rate of relapse and increased FLAIR lesion volume on MRI in early multiple sclerosis: A prospective cohort study

Saul A, Taylor B, Blizzard L, Simpson-Yap S, Oddy W, Shivappa N, H├ębert J, Black L, Ponsonby A, Broadley S, Lechner-Scott J, Mei I (2023) Multiple Sclerosis May 6;13524585231167739  

Web URL: Read this article on PubMed


Background: A pro-inflammatory diet has been posited to induce chronic inflammation within the central nervous system (CNS), and multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease of the CNS.

Objective: We examined whether Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII®)) scores are associated with measures of MS progression and inflammatory activity.

Methods: A cohort with a first clinical diagnosis of CNS demyelination was followed annually (10 years, n = 223). At baseline, 5- and 10-year reviews, DII and energy-adjusted DII (E-DIITM) scores were calculated (food frequency questionnaire) and assessed as predictors of relapses, annualised change in disability (Expanded Disability Status Scale) and two magnetic resonance imaging measures; fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) lesion volume and black hole lesion volume.

Results: A more pro-inflammatory diet was associated with a higher relapse risk (highest vs. lowest E-DII quartile: hazard ratio = 2.24, 95% confidence interval (CI) = -1.16, 4.33, p = 0.02). When we limited analyses to those assessed on the same manufacturer of scanner and those with a first demyelinating event at study entry (to reduce error and disease heterogeneity), an association between E-DII score and FLAIR lesion volume was evident (β = 0.38, 95% CI = 0.04, 0.72, p = 0.03).

Conclusion: There is a longitudinal association between a higher DII and a worsening in relapse rate and periventricular FLAIR lesion volume in people with MS.