Sodium Buildup in Brain Linked to Disability in MS Patients

According to a new study, those with advanced-stage multiple sclerosis (MS) have high levels of sodium buildup in the brain. Researchers have found, when sodium collected in areas of the brain that are responsible for your motor skills, there was a direct connection to the level of disability seen in people with advanced-stage MS.

This accumulation of sodium could be an indicator of the degeneration of nerve cells that result from the disease, according to a team of European researchers. Although multiple sclerosis or MS, symptoms vary from patient to patient, the study authors suggested that their findings may help predict the severity of disease progression and disability.

“A major challenge with multiple sclerosis is providing patients with a prognosis of disease progression. It’s very hard to predict the course of the disease,” Patrick Cozzone, director emeritus of the Center for Magnetic Resonance in Biology and Medicine, a joint unit of National Center for Scientific Research and Aix-Marseille University in Marseille, France, said in a news release from the Radiological Society of North America.

In conducting the study, the researchers used a specific type of imaging technology that provides information on the sodium content of cells in the body, known as 3 Tesla sodium MRI. The test was performed on 26 patients with relapsing-remitting MS, the most common form of the disease, in which flare-ups of symptoms are followed by periods of recovery.

Of the study’s participants, 14 had early stage relapsing-remitting MS and 12 had advanced forms of the disease. The researchers also examined 15 healthy participants without MS that they matched for the patients’ ages and genders.

“We collaborated for two years with