When someone with multiple sclerosis also has an autoimmune condition, the brain tissue damage tends to be more severe.
People with multiple sclerosis (MS) who also suffer from other autoimmune conditions, like thyroid disease or diabetes, have more severe brain damage than MS patients without comorbidities, according to a study from the University at Buffalo. The study was recently published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology.
An earlier report from the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis suggested that MS patients with additional diseases have an increased risk for disability progression. Researchers had earlier established that there is an association between cardiovascular disease and lesion load in MS, but the impact of other conditions on disease progression is not known.
The study, “Autoimmune Comorbidities Are Associated with Brain Injury in Multiple Sclerosis,“ analyzed the medical records of 815 MS patients, of whom 241 had comorbid conditions and 574 did not. Most had one comorbid disease, but 42 had two or more conditions in addition to MS. The research team analyzed comorbid disease in relation to measures of brain tissue injury acquired by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
The most frequently encountered conditions were thyroid disease, present in 11.9 percent of these MS patients, followed by asthma, type 2 diabetes mellitus, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
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