Twenty percent of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) had sarcopenia, according to a recent study published in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

The authors found that 17.64% of female patients and 21.21% of male patients had regional sarcopenia based on the values of sonographic thigh adjustment ratio (STAR), handgrip strength (HGS), and gait speed.

However, using bioelectric impedance analysis, whole-body sarcopenia was diagnosed in only 10.9% of patients. Patients with MS and sarcopenia had significantly lower scores for both sexes on HGS, STAR, gait speed, fat-free mass (FFM), and anterior thigh muscle thickness (anterior TMT) values when compared to patients with MS without sarcopenia.

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Skeletal muscle mass index was also found to be lower in patients with sarcopenia, but the difference was only significant in females. Patients with sarcopenia in the study tended to be older than patients without sarcopenia for males but that difference wasn’t observed in females.

MS duration and Expanded Disability Status Scale scores were higher in patients with sarcopenia for both sexes while no difference was observed between the 2 groups in body mass index, smoking, and treatment protocols, as well as calf and waist circumferences.

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“In addition to effective medical therapy, exercise programs designed in accordance with the needs of the individual in the early period can help prevent the development of sarcopenia as well as disability in MS patients,” the authors suggested.

Scores on the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS) were also significantly higher in both sexes for patients with MS and sarcopenia. Subscale analysis of the MFIS revealed that only the physical fatigue scores were significantly higher in both sexes.

Gait speed, HGS, FFM, SMMI, anterior TMT, STAR, and Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire values were also found to be significantly lower when compared to age- and sex-matched controls without MS. MFIS scores were higher in patients with MS compared to controls.

In total, 101 patients with relapsing-remitting MS and 55 controls were recruited for the study. All of the patients with MS could walk without assistance and had been diagnosed more than 2 years prior and had not had an attack within 6 months of the study. The patients with MS were composed of 68 females (67.3%) and 33 males (32.7%).


Yuksel H, Balaban M, Öztürk Tan Ö, Mungan S. Sarcopenia in patients with multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler Relat Disord. Published online December 26, 2021. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2021.103471