METHODS: A systematic review was conducted to include all relevant published MS/ NMOSD studies in the SEA indexed in MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus and CENTRAL from the inception of these databases to August 1, 2019. Quantity of research productivity was measured in terms of the total published documents. Quality of research impact was evaluated by assessing the study designs of the published reports, publications in journals with impact factor (IF) and PlumX Metrics (citations, usage, captures, mentions and social medias). Population size, gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, percentage (%) of GDP allocated to research and development (R&D), and the total number of neurologists reported in each country were obtained from reliable published data.
RESULTS: Out of 3,547 articles identified, only 142 articles fulfilled the eligibility criteria; therefore, the total number of publications in the SEA region related to MS/ NMOSD was deemed low in quantity. Most studies were cross-sectional and case reports/ series; hence, most studies offered low level of evidence. Since the aggregate scores in citations, usage, captures, mentions, and social medias in PlumX Metrics and publications in journals with IF were low, the overall quality of the published articles was considered low. Thailand (57 articles), Malaysia (40) and Singapore (29) contributed to the majority of publications on the topic-. GDP per capita was statistically correlated with usage. Percent GDP for R&D was positively correlated with total publications, usage, captures and social mediaindices.
CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the scientific impact of MS/ NMOSD in the SEA was considered low in quantity and quality. This study must encourage researchers in the SEA to produce greater volumes of high-quality publications in this particular field and motivate governments to increase % GDP for R&D for the benefit of patients suffering fromthese rare and disabling conditions.