Congratulations to the Recipient of the Progress Grant for NMOSD!

SRNA would like to congratulate the recipient of the Progress Grant for NMOSD, Dr. Sammita Satyanarayan! As part of The Eclipse Fund in memory of Pauline H. Siegel, the Progress Grant for NMOSD funds research aimed to improve understanding of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), focused on specifically Asian and African American populations. In studies on NMOSD, we see that this disorder disproportionately affects those who are Black or Asian, unlike MS, which is more common among those who are White. Also, those who are Black or Asian seem to be younger at onset and have more brain symptoms or MRI abnormalities than those who are White.

The purpose of the Progress Grant for NMOSD is to help the broader NMOSD community understand how to improve diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life of people with NMOSD. Dr. Sammita Satyanarayan is conducting research on “Assessing the impact of social disparities of health on disability and access to care in NMOSD patients.” She is a neuroimmunology fellow at the Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, NY. Her study is focused on evaluating how the factors of people’s lives, called social determinants of health, impact their access to care, disability, and disease process in people with NMOSD.

Some of the social determinants of health Dr. Satyanarayan is studying include education access and quality, health care access and quality, neighborhood and built environment, social and community context, and economic stability. Differences in these factors can lead to differences in the disease process, which are called disparities. Better understanding of these factors can help medical professionals start addressing disparities while providing care to their patients.

In her research, Dr. Satyanarayan is measuring how social determinants of health affect access to care and disability. Access to care can be measured by the time between symptom onset to diagnosis, the time it takes to receive the first disease-modifying treatment, and the type of disease-modifying therapy received. Disability, on the other hand, is measured by patient reported outcomes, such as ambulation status and activities of daily living; physician reported status, such as ambulation status; standardized and validated disability scores, such as the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and the Timed 25-Foot Walk; and examination of vision and visual acuity. Dr. Satyanarayan’s study will include both prospective and retrospective data and will include data from three academic medical centers – Mt. Sinai Hospital, University of Southern California, and Massachusetts General Hospital. You can learn more about the research study by viewing Dr. Satyanarayan’s presentation at the 2021 Rare Neuroimmune Disorders Symposium (RNDS) here.

We look forward to learning more about health disparities in people with NMOSD from Dr. Satyanarayan’s research, and we are hopeful that it will lead to better care for those in the NMOSD community. The Progress Grant for NMOSD is made possible by a grant from Horizon Therapeutics.