Johns Hopkins scientists report the discovery of a protein found only in cerebrospinal fluid that they say might be useful in identifying a subgroup of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) or identifying those at risk for the debilitating autoimmune disorder.
MS strikes over 10,000 Americans each year, most of whom are women, and causes weakness, numbness, a loss of muscle coordination, and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control. It is a disorder in which the immune system destroys myelin, the covering of nerves that helps transmit signals. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is the watery fluid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord.
The federally funded Hopkins research, reported in the February issue of the Annals of Neurology, is important, the researchers say, because unlike other autoimmune diseases in which the body attacks its own tissues, MS cannot be diagnosed with a simple blood or other test.
Eric Vohr | EurekAlert!
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