Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects more than 2.3 million people around the world. A new study says there’s a strong connection between the advanced severity of the disease and the loss of myelin in the brain’s gray matter for those who have MS.
The condition causes the loss of myelin, the fatty, protective sheath around nerve fibers that is most abundant in the brain’s signal-conducting white matter. That’s why MS is typically considered a disease of the white matter, the researchers noted.
But myelin is also present in smaller amounts in gray matter, which is the brain’s information processing center, and the researchers used MRI to spot the impact of that loss as well.
“The fact that MS patients lose myelin not only in white but also in gray matter has been proven by earlier post-mortem pathological studies,” Vasily Yarnykh, an associate professor in the radiology department at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in a journal news release.
“However, the clinical significance of the myelin loss, or demyelination, in gray matter has not been