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New imaging research shows increased iron in the brain in earliest stages of MS
Date:10/28/2013

While it's been known for over a century that iron deposits in the brain play a role in the pathology of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), new imaging research from Western University (London, Canada) helps to answer the question of whether these accumulations are a cause or consequence of the disease. The study led by Ravi Menon, PhD, of the Robarts Research Institute found iron deposits in deep gray matter, suggesting the accumulation occurs very early in the disease course. The researchers also found evidence casting further doubt on the controversial liberation therapy for MS. The research is in early publication online in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

Menon and PhD candidate Matthew Quinn used 3-Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to scan 22 patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS). These are patients who've had a single clinical attack, at least half of whom will go on to be diagnosed with MS. The others may have a different disease. Sixteen age and sex matched controls were also studied.

"We wanted to know if the iron deposits happen early in the process, or whether it's something that accumulates with time as the disease progresses," says Menon, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Functional Magnetic Imaging. "We also studied the veins that drain from the brain and looked for a correlation between the diameter of of these veins and iron accumulation. One of the reasons to do this, of course was the hypothesis proposed by Paolo Zamboni that if you had narrow jugular veins, this would give rise to additional iron and in turn cause MS."

The scientists found iron deposits in the CIS group were well above the amounts found in the control group. The MRIs also revealed for the first time, subtle damage to the brain's white matter even at this early stage. The researchers also found no correlation between the iron deposits and diameter of the veins.

"So while the iron in the brain cor
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Contact: Kathy Wallis
kwallis3@uwo.ca
519-661-2111 x81136
University of Western Ontario
Source:Eurekalert

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