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Damage Due to MS Might Extend Into Larger Portions Of The Normal Brain

ing tissues. T1 refers to the time required for protons to relax to the equilibrium state in this particular manner.

The researchers investigated T1 changes in 67 patients with MS and 24 healthy control volunteers. T1 graphs of normal appearing white and gray matter were significantly different for patients with MS than for controls. Moreover, these graphs differed among patients with MS based on the type of disease: secondary progressive (SP), relapsing-remitting (RR) or primary progressive (PP). The results were most pronounced in patients with SP disease, where at least 31 percent of normal-appearing white matter and 20 percent of cortical normal-appearing gray matter were affected. In RR disease, 16 percent of normal-appearing white matter and 9 percent of cortical normal-appearing gray matter were affected. In PP disease, the normal-appearing white and gray matters affected were 11 percent and 8 percent, respectively. These changes were found throughout the brain, including areas remote from localized lesions that are typically associated with MS.

'These findings demonstrate that in MS, disease processes outside MR-visible lesions are not limited to a few sites but act throughout the brain and affect large fractions of normal-appearing white and gray matter,' Dr. Vrenken said.

The researchers also explored correlations between the areas of the brain being analyzed in the patients with MS and the level of atrophy or clinical disability present.

'The results suggest that the damage to normal-appearing brain tissue plays a larger role in the progression of atrophy and clinical disability than do the visible lesions,' Dr. Vrenken said.

Source-Eurekalert
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