The authors evaluated data on more than 5000 patients. 60% of MS patients aged
50 years could still walk a distance of 100 meters unaided, as could 40% of
patients at age 60. These figures are better than previously assumed. This much
more favorable prognosis has also been confirmed by other researchers. On the
average, it takes 20 to 29 years from the time of diagnosis for 50% of a
collective of MS patients to be able to walk no more than 100 meters. In earlier
studies, this stage of disability was generally expected to be reached after
only 15 years.
According to the registry data, MS is diagnosed an average
of 3.5 years after its clinical onset. For this reason, Flachenecker and
coauthors stress that it is important for family practitioners and other
physicians in the community to refer any patient with unexplained neurological
deficits to a neurologist.