Brain atrophy is a common occurrence in multiple sclerosis.
Grey matter atrophy — its loss — follows a sequential pattern that expands to involve more regions of the brain over time in all multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, regardless of their disease type, a new study reports.
Atrophy progression is also similar between relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) patients in “many key regions,” its researchers report, although three brain structures crucial to movement — the cerebellum, and the caudate and putamen (parts of the basal ganglia) — show earlier atrophy in relapsing disease, possibly as a result of greater inflammation.
The study, “Progression of regional grey matter atrophy in multiple sclerosis,” was published in the journal Brain.
MS, an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, is characterized by brain atrophy. Studies have shown that the brains of MS patients deteriorate at a faster-than-usual rate compared to healthy people.
The brain is composed of two types of tissue — grey matter and white matter — and in MS patients, brain atrophy is mainly due to extensive grey matter atrophy. Grey matter contains most of the brain’s nerve cells, and its loss has been shown to drive MS progression and disability.
But such atrophy is not uniform across the brain, with some areas being more susceptible than others. Researchers, however, do not know if there is an order to grey matter atrophy, if it initiates and progresses in a somewhat predictable fashion from one area to another.
Researchers can trace a sequence of events through a statistical method called an event-based model, which identifies the sequence through the use of a biomarker. When the biomarker becomes abnormal, a change in the event is indicated.
|Read on: Grey Matter Atrophy in MS Common to All and Follows Ordered Sequence, Study Finds|