Researchers believe that they have found a new biomarker for multiple sclerosis (MS).
A new study claims that the build-up of sodium in the brain, detectable by magnetic resonance imaging, indicates the degeneration of nerve cells, which leads to MS.
It was observed that patients in the early stages of the condition have sodium accumulation in specific brain regions, while patients with advanced MS have sodium build-up in the whole brain.
The level of sodium present correlated with the severity of disability, a finding which will enable doctors to give MS patients a prognosis.
Dr Patrick Cozzone, leader of the study, commented: “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."
However, the identification of sodium build-up may make thus much easier and increase the chance of achieving an early diagnosis.
Excess sodium in the brain has already been linked to seizures in epilepsy patients, highlighting the potency of its effect on nerve cells.
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