Eye may provide a look into multiple sclerosis progression

New research suggests that thinning of the layer of the retina in the eyes may show how fast multiple sclerosis (MS) is progressing that individuals with the disease. The study is published in the January 1, 2013, on the web issue of Neurology® , the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“This research suggests that retinal thinning, measured simply by in-office eye scans, called APRIL, may occur at higher prices in people with earlier and more energetic MS, ” said Robert Bermel, MD, with the Cleveland Clinic Mellen Center for MS and a person in the American Academy of Neurology, who wrote an accompanying content.

For the study, 164 people with MS from the Johns Hopkins MS Center, including 59 who all had no disease activity, went through eye scans that measured thinning of a portion of their retinas each six months for an average of twenty one months. Participants were also given MRI brain scans at the start of the study and yearly.

The study found that people with MICROSOFT relapses had 42 percent quicker thinning than people with MS who all had no relapses. People with MICROSOFT who had inflammatory lesions called gadolinium-enhancing lesions experienced 54 percent quicker thinning and those with new T2 lesions had 36 percent quicker thinning than MS patients those features of MRI activity.

People whose level of disability worsened during the study experienced 37 percent more thinning than those who acquired no changes in their level of impairment, and those who had the disease less than five years showed 43 percent faster thinning than those who acquired the disease more than five years.

“As more therapies are developed to slow the development of MS, testing retinal thinning in the eyes may be helpful in evaluating how effective those therapies are, ” said study author Peter Calabresi, MD, with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

(Source: American Academy of Neurology: Neurology)

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