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Unraveling the mysteries of multiple sclerosis

A virus might help explain why some cases of MS are more severe.

Leiden chemists discovered a new mechanism which might explain how multiple sclerosis shifts to a more severe form. Their findings contribute to unraveling the mysterious course of the disease. They have published their findings in the journal Biochemistry.

MS and a virus

In their publication in Biochemistry, Can Araman and Sander van Kasteren from the Leiden Institute of Chemistry and Bert ‘t Hart from the Biomedical Primate Research Centre came one step closer to revealing the mysterious disease mechanisms of severe progressive MS. In their research, they delved into the fact that the risk of getting MS is highly associated with infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Almost 95 percent of the world population carries this virus, opposed to a percentage of 100 percent in MS patients. All MS patients thus carry EBV.

Progressive MS

More than 2 million people worldwide are suffering from multiple sclerosis, in short MS. This multifaceted disease affects the immune system and damages the cells of the central nervous system. MS is divided into different types and progressive states of the disease. The most common form is the relapsing-remitting type. People with this type of MS experience periods of relapse in which new symptoms appear, alternated by periods of recovery. The other types of MS are all progressive and more severe. In the progressive types, symptoms worsen over time, with or without periods of relapse and recovery. The shift to progressive MS is not yet fully understood. While adequate treatment for the most common type of MS exist, only limited treatment possibilities are available for the more severe types, due to its enigmatic disease mechanism.

Read on: Unraveling the mysteries of multiple sclerosis

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