Misdiagnosis of a severely paralyzing disease can now be averted due to a blood test developed by Mayo Clinic researchers and their Japanese collaborators. Often misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica (NMO) also causes blindness in many sufferers. The findings of this international collaborative effort appear in the current issue of The Lancet.
The finding will help doctors correctly treat NMO -- also known as Devics syndrome -- sooner and more effectively. In some countries, misdiagnosis may be as high as 30 percent. Early diagnosis is important because NMO is best treated differently than multiple sclerosis. Treatment requires immune suppressive medications in the first instance, rather than the immune modulatory treatments typically prescribed for MS. Therefore, a patient who has NMO, but is misdiagnosed with MS, may not receive optimal care at the earliest possible time.
NMO affects the optic nerves and spinal cord -- and within five years causes half of affected patients to lose vision in at least one eye. Many lose the ability to walk independently. The prognosis for loss of sight and permanent paralysis is much worse for patients who have NMO than for those who have MS. MS is not confined to optic nerve and spinal cord involvement. However, the symptoms of the two diseases overlap, and optic nerve and spinal cord involvement occur in both. NMO is particularly difficult to distinguish from MS in the early phases of the disease.
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At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
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