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Multiple sclerosis research: The thalamus moves into the spotlight
Date:3/21/2013

dinov and co-authors note that gray matter injury can not only be detected in the disease's earliest stages but that this injury is associated with a wide range of symptoms from cognitive decline and motor deficits to fatigue and chronic pain.

The UB findings reveal that atrophy of the thalamus, determined through routine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), can be an important tool in detecting, evaluating and predicting the course of MS in children and adults; it also may become a valuable method of evaluating new MS treatments.

Loss of thalamic volume and its tissue integrity can also predict cognitive impairment in MS patients, according to a study recently published in Multiple Sclerosis Journal led by UB neurology professor Ralph Benedict in collaboration with Jeroen JG Geurts, PhD, from VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Research currently in press by the UB team and performed in collaboration with colleagues from Charles University in Prague also was the first prospective, longitudinal study to investigate and find associations between grey matter atrophy and physical disability progression in patients with relapsing-remitting MS, the most common and most disabling type of MS.

The five-year study, which covered 180 patients, also found that thalamic atrophy has p0tential as a way to evaluate novel therapies for MS, according to Eva Havrdova, MD, PhD, principal investigator.

"Since progressive pathology of the thalamus has been shown in all different MS disease types, including in pediatric MS patients, we must look at the thalamus as a biomarker for assessing new therapies," says Zivadinov. "Measurement of thalamic atrophy may become an ideal MRI outcome for MS clinical trials.

"Atrophy in MS patients happens in the thalamus more rapidly than in other brain structures," Zivadinov continues. "It is detectable very early in the disease and it is less affected by fluid shifts in t
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Contact: Ellen Goldbaum
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
716-645-4605
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert  

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