Weekly injections of beta interferon are found to protect people with early stages of multiple sclerosis from loss of brain tissue.
Researchers followed up on a previous study which showed that beta interferon injections delayed the progression of symptoms among people with early evidence of MS and found people who have the shots lose less brain tissue. People who received the active medication had their brain tissue decline on average by 1.18 percent over two years. Those who received a placebo lost 1.68 percent of brain tissue over the same period. Researchers measured brain loss through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
People on the active medication were also less likely to convert to full-blown MS. About a third of those receiving beta interferon developed definite disease, compared to about half of those on the placebo.The study involved 131 patients who received the beta interferon injections and 132 who received placebo injections.
However specialists say more study is needed to determine whether beta interferon or other treatments really have a beneficial effect on brain tissue in MS and they feel that future studies should include brain atrophy as an outcome measure in future trials of potential disease-modifying treatments.