Research suggests that the patients of multiple sclerosis (MS) may gain from treatment with Interferon and not be at risk from it.
Although treatment with interferon appears to reduce the formation of new areas of damage in the brains of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), including lesions that appear as highly contrasted images, called black holes, on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), treatment does not appear to affect the duration of these damaged regions, according to a new study posted online by Archives of Neurology.
Previous studies have shown that treatment with interferon beta-1b, a chemical that has activity on the immune system, reduces the formation of lesions visible to MRI, according to background information in the article. Chronic, persisting black holes reflect areas of irreversible nerve fiber loss and permanent damage. Black holes of shorter duration are believed to reflect the presence of short-term swelling. Shortening the duration of black holes, the authors suggest, may prevent the formation of permanent detrimental lesions, ultimately exerting a neuro-protective effect.
Researchers from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, had analyzed MRIs for both the formation and duration of black holes for six patients with relapsing-remitting type MS. Monthly MRIs were obtained for 36 months before the treatment was initiated (natural history phase) and for 36 months during treatment with interferon (therapy phase).
The researchers found that the number of new black holes increased during both the treatment and natural history phases for all patients, but the accumulation of new black holes was substantially lower for patients during the treatment phase. The duration of new black holes arising during the treatment phase was not shorter than the duration of black holes arising during the natural history phase, however.
Medindia on Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis: Multiple sclerosis is a chronic neurological disease of the central nervous system. There is no cure for this disease but modern day treatment may slow the course of development or give relief from some of the symptoms of this disease.