Scientists Spot Signs That Predict Worsening Multiple Sclerosis

Roughly 80 percent to 85 percent of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) are first diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS, which includes periods of remission between flare-ups. However, new research suggests, MS is more likely to progress to the advanced disease among patients who suffer from fatigue and limited use of their legs.

“Better understanding who is at high risk of getting worse may eventually allow us to tailor more specific treatments to these people,” said study author Dr. Bianca Weinstock-Guttman. She is with the University of Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, in New York.

MS is a disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts communication between the brain and the body. Common symptoms include muscle weakness, fatigue, difficulty walking, dizziness and vision problems.

Most MS patients eventually develop the progressive form of the disease. For these people, their symptoms do not come and go. Instead, they gradually and steadily worsen. There are some drugs that can help control relapsing-remitting MS, but there are no treatments for progressive MS, the study authors noted.

For the study, the researchers evaluated 155 people, aged 50 and older, who had been diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis at least 15 years earlier. All of the patients’ symptoms and their levels of