TUESDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- Sodium buildup in the brain seems to be linked to disability in people with multiple sclerosis, researchers have found.
This accumulation of sodium could be an indicator of the degeneration of nerve cells that results from the disease, according to a team of European researchers. Although multiple sclerosis, or MS, symptoms vary from patient to patient, the study authors suggested that their findings may help predict the severity of disease progression and disability.
"A major challenge with multiple sclerosis is providing patients with a prognosis of disease progression. It's very hard to predict the course of the disease," Patrick Cozzone, director emeritus of the Center for Magnetic Resonance in Biology and Medicine, a joint unit of National Center for Scientific Research and Aix-Marseille University in Marseille, France, said in a news release from the Radiological Society of North America.
In conducting the study, the researchers used a specific type of imaging technology that provides information on the sodium content of cells in the body, known as 3 Tesla sodium MRI. The test was performed on 26 patients with relapsing-remitting MS, the most common form of the disease, in which flare-ups of symptoms are followed by periods of recovery.
Of the study's participants, 14 had early stage relapsing-remitting MS and 12 had advanced forms of the disease. The researchers also examined 15 healthy participants without MS that they matched for the patients' ages and genders.
"We collaborated for two years with chemists and physicists to develop techniques to perform [3 Tesla] sodium MRI on patients," Wafaa Zaaraoui, research officer at the National Center for Scientific Research, said in the news release. "To better understand this disease, we need to probe new molecules. The time has come for probing brain sodium concentrations."
The MRI results for patients with early
All rights reserved