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5 More Things You May Not Know About Multiple Sclerosis

5 More Things You May Not Know About Multiple Sclerosis

  • In a large study of Swedish patients with MS, their parents, and carefully matched controls, no consistent increased frequency for any autoimmune disease was found among parents of patients. The negative findings unequivocally show a true absence of autoimmune disease aggregation in patients with MS and their families. You can find more information here.
  • Using one of the world’s largest data sets, Gold and colleagues found HIV infection to be associated with a significantly decreased risk of MS. If subsequent studies show that HIV or its treatment has a protective effect, “this would be the largest protective effect of any factor yet observed in relation to the development of MS,” the authors wrote. You can find more information here.
  • Patients in this study took interferon-β1a for 1 year and then the MS drug recommended by their neurologist. After 6 months, patients who received the TB vaccine had 3 brain lesions MS compared with 7 lesions among those who received placebo. At study end, MS had not developed in 58% of the vaccinated patients compared with 30% of unvaccinated patients. You can find more information here.
  • Forty eight genetic variants that influence the risk of multiple sclerosis have been identified by scientists of the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium.
  • Because MRI is highly sensitive to inflammation and demyelinating plaques, roughly 90% of MS diagnoses are based on MRI findings.

This slide show summarizes highlights of 5 recent studies on multiple sclerosis. Among the key points from each of the studies:

1. There is an absence of autoimmune disease aggregation in patients with multiple sclerosis and their families.
2. HIV infection is associated with a significantly decreased risk of MS.
3. A vaccine used to prevent tuberculosis may help prevent MS.
4. There is substantial overlap with genes involved in MS and in other autoimmune diseases.
5. The vast majority of MS diagnoses are now based on MRI findings.
 

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