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Scientists spot warning signs for multiple sclerosis

The presence of certain levels of a molecule called acrolein in the human body could be an early warning sign for the onset of multiple sclerosis (MS), researchers say

The presence of certain levels of a molecule called acrolein in the human body could be an early warning sign for the onset of multiple sclerosis (MS), the incurable and often debilitating disease, researchers say.

Researchers at Purdue University and the Indiana University School of Medicine in the US found that the molecule, previously suspected as a metabolic waste product that accumulates in people with certain neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, could possibly be used to help diagnose MS. Acrolein is a byproduct of fat metabolism.

A potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord, MS usually is diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and affects twice as many women as men. Although there is no cure for MS, recent years have seen a flurry of activity around possible bio-markers and treatments.

“We are in the process of trying to correlate acrolein levels with MS disease activity, which potentially would help us monitor disease activity with a blood test,” David Mattson, professor of neurology, and the director of the Indiana University Multiple Sclerosis Centre, said. “If this is validated, it would help us decide how aggressive to be with immunotherapy, or whether a therapy is working or there is a need to switch to a different therapy.”

Read on: Scientists spot warning signs for multiple sclerosis

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