Results further implicate iron deposits in brain in MS impairments
The mental impairment and problems with walking experienced by patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are linked to damage in the brains gray matter, with MRI findings suggesting the damage is due to toxic deposits of iron, researchers from the University at Buffalo have shown for the first time.
Previous breakthrough work by the team had linked deep gray matter iron deposits to the disease course of MS, brain atrophy and overall disability, but not to cognition or ambulation. Results of these latest studies were presented today (Oct. 21, 2003) at the annual meeting of the American Neurological Association in San Francisco.
The researchers, affiliated with the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC) and Jacobs Neurological Institute, use specialized, computer-assisted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to focus on hypointensity, or unnatural darkness, of gray matter structures as seen on so-called T2-weighted images. This condition is referred to as T2 hypointensity. Using this approach, they were able to show that structures in the brains deep gray matter of MS patients contained T2 hypointensity compared with normal individuals, suggesting higher-than-normal levels of iron deposits, and confirmed the relationship of T2 hypointensity to MS symptoms.
Lois Baker | University at Buffalo
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