National Multiple Sclerosis Society Researchers Find Analyzing MRI’s May Predict MS Progression

Multiple Sclerosis is a disabling illness that affects more than 2.3 million people around the world. MS is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50 and is two to three times more common in women than men. Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system which interrupts the flow of information to the brain and between the body and the brain such as; numbness and tingling in the extremities, fatigue, paralysis, cognitive impairment and sometimes blindness. Unfortunately, there has been no way to predict how a patient with MS will progress over time once they are diagnosed.

The law firm of Dell & Schaefer represents several individuals who are disabled due to this disease as they are unable to work in their occupations due to a myriad of symptoms that result from MS. Our clients suffering from MS whether the progressive form of the disease or relapsing and remitting MS face so many obstacles on a daily basis. Some suffer with disabling symptoms for years before being accurately diagnosed. Once diagnosed, they are told there is no way to know how quickly their disease will progress and often times are told there really is not much that can be done to stop the progression of MS.

The Study

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help diagnose MS, but they aren’t detailed enough to track the damage that occurs as the disease progresses or to predict who will experience long-term disability.

Researchers found that magnetic resonances spectroscopy which uses magnetic resonance technology to analyze the chemical components of the brain, and creates a graphic display showing the amount of specific molecules detected was able to reliably predict MS progression. The team of researchers tested the idea that creating a ratio of the levels of two molecules N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) and myo-inositol (ml), reflecting both nervous system damage and increases in astrocytes, would correlate with MS progression.

This study is significant for those who are stricken with the disease as well as their treating physicians in order to help predict how quickly their disease may progress and to make better treatment decisions over the course of the disease.

Solutions for Progressive MS

Researchers are diligently studying this disease and looking for ways in which to slow or completely stop its progression. In progressive stages of MS, there are few or no relapses, and few or no recovery or remission periods when major symptoms improve. Some of the burning questions that are being addressed through research include:

  • What factors influence the transition from relapsing stages of MS to progressive MS?
  • Can the disease-modifying therapies prevent, delay, or slow long-term MS progression?
  • What new therapies will stop progressive MS?
  • What causes degeneration of nerve fibers—thought to be the cause of long-term disability—and how can that be stopped or reversed?

This new study gives MS patients and their loved ones hope that one day there will be a cure for this disabling illness that has affected the lives of so many.

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