Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Multiple sclerosis not as progressive or disabling as once thought

23.01.2004


In the most comprehensive study of how multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms change over time, Mayo Clinic researchers have found that less than half of patients studied developed worsening disability within 10 years. Their report appears in the current edition of the journal Neurology [Pittock SJ et al. (2004). Neurology 62:51-59].



Knowing how the symptoms of MS change over time provides good news for patients newly diagnosed with MS, who may feel the disease leads to inevitable and uniform decline in physical functioning. It also offers vital information for public health planners charged with meeting future needs of MS patients.

In their study, the Mayo Clinic researchers provide encouraging evidence that for many patients the disability from MS remains mild -- so much so that of 99 patients who were walking unassisted when examined in 1991, 71 retained that ability in 2001. And only about 20 percent of patients who did not require a wheelchair in 1991 needed one 10 years later.


"The fact that most MS patients don’t get progressively worse over 10 years is the really great news," says Moses Rodriguez, M.D., the neurologist who led the Mayo Clinic research team.

Survival was slightly reduced compared with the general U.S. population, however, and 30 percent of patients progressed to a more disabling MS state -- such as needing a cane or a wheelchair -- over the 10-year follow-up period.

The finding that most MS is not as progressively disabling as once thought is counter to the common perception of MS as a disease marked by a steady decline in motor function. These new results are extremely encouraging to the Mayo Clinic researchers, who treat patients in addition to conducting research.

Adds Sean Pittock, M.D., another member of the Mayo Clinic research team: "Natural history studies like this one can provide a long-term benchmark against which outcomes of treatment and placebo groups can be compared, and in addition can help in counseling patients because it can help them envision a likely future."

Significance of the Mayo Clinic Research

The Mayo Clinic research is the first comprehensive and scientifically rigorous natural history of MS to document how the disease changes over 10 years’ time. It is important because:

1. Mayo Clinic’s unique database of MS patients provides context. Several generations of Mayo Clinic scientists have been systematically studying MS since 1905. While other researchers have performed large-population studies -- notably in London, Ontario, Canada; in Iceland; and in Northern Ireland -- Mayo Clinic’s computerized, centralized diagnostic index and excellent record keeping enable researchers to ascertain the status of nearly 100 percent of the MS patients they’ve studied.

2. In terms of scientific depth and statistical power, it will likely not be repeated. Mayo Clinic doctors tested, interviewed and conducted physical exams from all MS patients studied, a total of 162 living in Olmsted County in 1991. Olmsted is the southeastern Minnesota county in which Mayo Clinic is located. Researchers visited the patients at home or in the nursing home if necessary.

Ten years later, research team members returned to the field to find the same patients -- and found all but one of them. They administered the same battery of tests to document change over time of increasingly severe MS symptoms. These ranged from moderate gait impairment, to the need to use a cane or a wheelchair to get around.

"This astounding continuity of patient base gives the Mayo Clinic study a statistical power rarely seen in studies of living patients, and not likely to be equaled in subsequent efforts," says Dr. Rodriguez.

Multiple Sclerosis at a Glance

MS is a disease of the central nervous system that affects an estimated 200,000 Americans. Neither the cause nor the cure of MS is known. MS is characterized by a pattern of attack and remission of a variety of symptoms. These include numbness or weakness in one or more limbs; uncoordinated or unsteady gait and blurred vision or problems with eye movements. Nerve fibers malfunction to produce MS symptoms when the protective sheath around them is damaged. Researchers suspect the damage may be caused by a virus or by environmental pathogens.

No one knows why, but women are slightly more likely to get MS than men, and northern states’ populations face greater risk than southern states’ populations. A November 2003 study published in Neurology by the same Mayo Clinic research team upholds this geographic association.

Bob Nellis | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mayo.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

nachricht Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>