Thesis topic proposal
Sámuel Komoly
Population-based epidemiology of the neuromyelitis optica (NMO) spectrum in Hungary based on a national register; “head-to-head” comparison of NMO epidemiology between Hu


Institute: University of Pécs
clinical medicine
Doctoral School of Clinical Neurosciences

Thesis supervisor: Sámuel Komoly
co-supervisor: Zsolt Illés
Location of studies (in Hungarian): PTE ÁOK Pécs, Szigeti u. 12.
Abbreviation of location of studies: ÁOK

Description of the research topic:

The neuromyelitis optica (NMO) spectrum covers inflammatory demyelinating diseases of the CNS mediated by pathogenic antibodies against the water-channel AQP4 and myelin protein MOG. Despite of diagnostic criteria, the NMO spectrum may be difficult to distinguish from multiple sclerosis (MS). Misdiagnosis can result in flaring up of NMO due to incorrect medication, while NMO misdiagnosis leads to inappropriate treatment of MS. A recent study also indicated that overlapping entities may influence epidemiological data of MS. Recently, several European countries (Austria, France, Germany, and UK) have created a national NMO network, which conduct collaborative studies and set up guidelines. Considering these facts, here we plan (i) to examine the national epidemiology of NMO spectrum in Hungary: we will use an existing national database at Pécs, which is based on results of anti-AQP4 antibody testing provided for the whole country, and also on an existing collaborative national network. (ii) We will create a national database and registry. (iii) In international collaboration, we will compare the NMO epidemiology in Europe using the same database/registry criteria in Hungary and Denmark to establish population-based epidemiological data in both countries. The Danish part of the project has been already accepted in Denmark as a PhD project. We will address if NMO prevalence differs among European countries similar to MS. Using these national NMO databases and already available population-based MS epidemiology data in Hungary and Denmark, we will also examine, if higher prevalence of MS is associated with lower prevalence of NMO among European populations, a difference existing among Asian and European populations. (iv) Anti-MOG antibody testing will be established in Odense (University of Southern Denmark) using a cell-based assay, and will be provided for AQP4-seronegative Hungarian and Danish samples: both AQP4 and MOG-seropositive NMO epidemiology will be established and compared between the two countries. The project will contribute to create a national Hungarian NMO network similar to a few European countries. This may help in setting up collaborative international research and developing national guidelines. The study will tighten collaborative research between the University of Southern Denmark and the University of Pecs, and provide a basis for a number of future joint studies.

Number of students who can be accepted: 1

Deadline for application: 2023-05-19

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