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 UIC researchers find unique organ-specific signature profiles for blood vessel cells
18.02.2020 | University of Illinois at Chicago

nachricht Remdesivir prevents MERS coronavirus disease in monkeys
14.02.2020 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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: A step towards controlling spin-dependent petahertz electronics by material defects

The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.

Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...

Im Focus: Freiburg researcher investigate the origins of surface texture

Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.

Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...

Im Focus: Skyrmions like it hot: Spin structures are controllable even at high temperatures

Investigation of the temperature dependence of the skyrmion Hall effect reveals further insights into possible new data storage devices

The joint research project of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that had previously demonstrated...

Im Focus: Making the internet more energy efficient through systemic optimization

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently completed a 5-year research project looking at how to make fibre optic communications systems more energy efficient. Among their proposals are smart, error-correcting data chip circuits, which they refined to be 10 times less energy consumptive. The project has yielded several scientific articles, in publications including Nature Communications.

Streaming films and music, scrolling through social media, and using cloud-based storage services are everyday activities now.

Im Focus: New synthesis methods enhance 3D chemical space for drug discovery

After helping develop a new approach for organic synthesis -- carbon-hydrogen functionalization -- scientists at Emory University are now showing how this approach may apply to drug discovery. Nature Catalysis published their most recent work -- a streamlined process for making a three-dimensional scaffold of keen interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

"Our tools open up whole new chemical space for potential drug targets," says Huw Davies, Emory professor of organic chemistry and senior author of the paper.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting: Around 70 Laureates set to meet with young scientists from approx. 100 countries

12.02.2020 | Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

"Make two out of one" - Division of Artificial Cells

19.02.2020 | Life Sciences

High-Performance Computing Center of the University of Stuttgart Receives new Supercomuter "Hawk"

19.02.2020 | Information Technology

A step towards controlling spin-dependent petahertz electronics by material defects

19.02.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>