This study provides an understanding of the course of the progressive phase of MS. In the future, this can be used to evaluate the impact of the disease modifying drugs in altering this long term outcome. However, this study refers to 'population averages' and few people are actually average! As anyone with MS knows, this is a highly variable disease and it is difficult to accurately predict the disease course in a given individual.
Previously, there was concern that once secondary-progressive MS is reached that all patients will progress at a similar (rather rapid) rate, regardless of what went before. This study shows that this might not be true as those who progressed slowly during the relapsing-remitting years also progressed slowly once secondary-progressive MS was reached. This is
good news to those doing well during their relapsing-remitting years. Once they reach secondary-progressive MS, there might be less to fear than previously thought.