Spinal Fluid Could Be First Clue To Multiple Sclerosis, Study
Cerebral spinal fluid maybe one of the first hints that a person may have multiple sclerosis, new research suggests. According to a study published in PLoS One, grey matter is found in people with first attacks of multiple sclerosis. This could have significant implications for treatment of the disorder.
Dr. Steven E. Schutzer, of Rutgers University Medical School led a research team which used special imaging techniques to look for early warning signs of MS attacks. They were working from previous knowledge some imaging studies suggest that gray matter (as opposed to white matter) is involved in the early stages of multiple sclerosis, a notion which is in disagreement with other studies.
In order to better understand which of the two trains of thought is most accurate, Schutzer and his colleagues selected twenety-seven people in order to identify cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) proteins. The volunteers were divided into three groups: first attack MS patients (9), relapse remitting controls (12) and non MS controls (6).
When Schutzer and his colleagues compared the CSF of first time MS patients to those who had already had the disease and healthy controls, they found that certain proteins are unique to first time multiple sclerosis patients. The proteins were components of axon, synapse and neurons - all belonging to gray matter tissue. Gray matter is part of the central nervous system (CNS) and contains cell bodies which basically acts as the body's coordination center.
Interestingly enough, Schutzer's imaging of the myelin components (the white matter) didn't distinguish the three groups. In other words, white matter didn't seem to be significant to first attack multiple sclerosis.
The significance of the discovery made by Scutzer et al isn't to be taken lightly. Multiple sclerosis is a disorder that interferes with the nervous system thus making it harder to think, move, eat, and talk. People with MS tend to tire more easily and experience chronic pain.
The disorder derives its name from scarring (sclerea) of the white matter of the brain and spinal cord. Yet, according to the results of Schutzer's study, MS also damages gray matter. In fact, these researchers assert that "[G]ray matter rather than myelin is more proximally involved in the initiation of MS."
The study is remarkable because it suggests that testing of the spinal fluid could provide an early warning of multiple sclerosis.
Though this study relied on a small sample size it opens the door to further research which could pave the way to diffferent methods for multiple sclerosis diagnosis and treatment.
“Faithful is He who calls you, and He will also bring it to pass.” Thessalonians 5:24
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Schutzer SE, Angel TE, Liu T, Schepmoes AA, Xie F, Bergquist J, Vécsei L, Zadori D, Camp DG 2nd, Holland BK, Smith RD, & Coyle PK (2013). Gray matter is targeted in first-attack multiple sclerosis. PloS one, 8 (9) PMID: 2403969
Multiple Sclerosis - wikipedia
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