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Multiple Sclerosis Message Board


Multiple Sclerosis Board Index


I agree with Mom-of-Two...ask your doctor about this.

I'm not sure if the blood test is commercially available yet in the U.S. If not, I hope it is soon if it all pans out. The study released in July 2003 was from an Austrian research group. Here's what was said in the NNMS bulletin about this:

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"A new study by Austrian scientists, if confirmed, may help doctors predict whether a person experiencing a single episode of specific neurological symptoms will ultimately develop clinically definite multiple sclerosis (MS), an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that can be difficult to diagnose. The group analyzed the blood for antibodies (immune system proteins) that attach to two proteins in myelin, the nerve-insulating material which is damaged by an immune attack in MS. Thomas Berger, MD, and colleagues (University of Innsbruck, Austria) report their results in the July 10, 2003 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine (2003;349:139-45).

Speeding the diagnosis of MS is an important and necessary goal. The diagnosis of clinically definite MS requires evidence of two neurological events suggesting inflammation and loss of myelin in the brain and/or spinal cord separated in time and in location. Studies have shown that individuals who experience "clinically isolated syndrome" - CIS, a single occurrence of a sign or symptom of myelin loss and multiple clinically "silent" MRI-detected brain lesions - are at high risk for developing clinically definite MS within several years.

Dr. Berger's team took blood samples from 103 people with CIS, MRI lesions suggestive of MS, and positive findings on cerebrospinal fluid analysis - all highly predictive of MS - to determine the presence of antibodies to two major proteins in myelin. Individuals who had antibodies against these proteins tended to experience a second clinical event significantly earlier than people without these antibodies.

Individuals in this study were selected because they had a high risk of eventually developing clinically definite MS. In fact, the U.S. FDA recently extended the labeling of Avonex® (interferon beta-1a), one of several therapies available for treating MS, to include those who experience their first clinical episode and have MRI-detected brain lesions consistent with MS. While the presence of antibodies may help predict how soon the conversion to clinically definite MS may occur, an earlier diagnosis of MS may ultimately be made in the absence of antibodies, using specific MRI parameters, and such have recently been incorporated into formal revised diagnostic criteria.

In an accompanying editorial, Jack P. Antel, MD, and Amit Bar-Or, MD (McGill University, Montreal) note that - if confirmed - these findings could improve the quality of diagnostic information that can be used to guide treatment in MS, and enhance insight into the development of disease. At present, the practical implications of this study and the potential for influencing early diagnosis or treatment remain to be determined.

The laboratory test to detect the antibodies is not commercially available."

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There may be later research info released that I'm not aware of though. Take care. God bless, Sherry





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