A study has suggested higher intakes of whole grains and legumes could have a possible protective role against neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMO), also known as Devic’s disease. The condition is an inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system characterised by severe, immune-mediated demyelination and axonal damage predominantly targeting optic nerves and spinal cord, which can sometimes be mistaken for multiple sclerosis (MS).
The case-control study identified 70 NMO cases with definite diagnosis based on 2015 international consensus criteria and 164 controls were selected in NMO specialist clinic, Sina hospital, Tehran, Iran. Information about routine dietary habits of all participants was collected over the course of one year before study participation.
The mean intakes of whole grains were 44.14g in the NMO group vs. 115.29g per day in the control group. When it came to legumes the NMO group was significantly lower than the control group (34.49 vs. 59.42g/day).
For comparing the mean consumption of whole grains and legumes in NMOSD and control group, independent-samples t-test was applied. In order to compute NMO odds across the whole grains and legumes quartiles, two logistic regression models were run, which were adjusted for age and gender in the first model and additionally adjusted for BMI, total energy intake, alcohol consumption status and cigarette smoking status in the second model.
Comparing with the first quartiles, 3th and 4th quartiles of whole grains and legumes have shown a significant decreased in NMO odds in both models. In a fully adjusted model, the odds of NMO reduced 88% in the third and 96% in the fourth quartiles of whole grains intake. Higher consumption of legumes resulted in 88% and 90% decrease in NMOSD odds in 3th and 4th quartiles, respectively.
Researchers concluded that this study suggests a possible protective role associated with higher intake of whole grains and legumes against the odds of developing NMO. Dietary factors are modifiable so this data could be valuable for reducing NMO risk.
This study was shared at ECTRIMS 2019, 24th annual conference of rehabilitation in MS, in Stockholm, Sweden.