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Tool could help predict onset of disability for patients with progressive MS

The outcome for multiple sclerosis patients can be difficult to predict: For some the disease moves slowly; for others the disorder leads to a relatively quick amount of disability and discomfort. It could be helpful for clinicians to identify which patients are in the latter category, and Mayo Clinic researchers have developed a tool for this purpose.

In research being presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, results from a commonly performed diagnostic test were used to predict the onset of disability among patients with progressive MS. From a release:

The study looked at cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) test results from a sample of 281 progressive MS patients seen at Mayo Clinic from 2002 to 2007. In general, CSF test results help physicians when the diagnosis is uncertain. For this study, researchers analyzed CSF test results and noticed a relationship between a faster disability rate and abnormally high levels of two proteins -- oligoclonal band and immunoglobulin-G molecule. If patients had the progressive form of MS with proceeding relapses, and their CSF results showed an elevated protein, researchers concluded they will have a faster rate of disability.

The study is a significant step forward in predicting disability outcomes, says researcher Junger Tang, M.D., a neurology fellow at Mayo Clinic. The next step is further research to confirm the results, he says.

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