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Researchers discover groundbreaking genetic marker that determines the severity of MS

By: April Carson

Scientists have discovered the initial genetic indicator of the severity of multiple sclerosis. This genetic variation was observed in individuals who encountered a more rapid advancement of the ailment, leading to increased disability. This revelation holds the potential to pave the way for more efficient therapeutic approaches in managing the condition.

The study was conducted by a team of Canadian and French researchers, who analysed the genomes of more than 4,700 people with multiple sclerosis from around the world. Through their research they found that certain genetic markers are correlated with an earlier onset of the disease and greater severity. These markers occur in genes involved in controlling inflammatory pathways and cytokine production.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that results in brain lesions and challenges with walking, memory, and other bodily functions. The reasons behind why certain individuals with the condition can lead relatively normal lives with treatment, while others face rapid disease progression, remain uncertain. The new discovery provides the first genetic indicator that could possibly explain why some people experience more drastic effects of MS.

This finding is a major step forward in understanding and treating multiple sclerosis, offering hope for the millions of patients who suffer from this debilitating condition. With further research, scientists may be able to develop targeted treatments for different types of MS severity based on genetic markers.

At McGill University in Canada, Adil Harroud and his colleagues conducted a comprehensive genome-wide association study. They analyzed data from 22,389 individuals with multiple sclerosis, employing statistical analysis to identify genes linked to specific traits, including the severity of multiple sclerosis. This research revealed that certain genetic variations are associated with shorter time to reach disability milestones and greater decline in physical function over the course of MS.

After conducting an analysis of nearly 8 million genetic variants, the researchers discovered a specific variant that is closely linked to a measure of disability in individuals with multiple sclerosis, accounting for age differences. On average, those who possess this marker necessitated walking assistance 3.7 years earlier compared to those who do not.

The research team then analyzed brain tissue samples obtained from a distinct group of 290 individuals who had passed away from multiple sclerosis. On average, individuals with the genetic marker exhibited nearly twice the number of lesions in the outer layer of their brain and brainstem compared to those without the marker. These findings suggest a correlation between the variant and the neurological damage that triggers the progression of multiple sclerosis.

The new discovery is exciting for the scientific community, providing a better understanding of why some individuals with multiple sclerosis experience more severe effects. With further research, it may be possible to develop treatments tailored to different types of MS severity. This could offer invaluable help to millions of people around the world and lead to improved quality of life.

According to Violaine Harris at the Tisch MS Research Center of New York, this discovery has the potential to aid clinicians in identifying individuals with multiple sclerosis who are more likely to experience severe disease. This knowledge can then be used to tailor treatment plans accordingly. Furthermore, Harris suggests that this new data could enhance our comprehension of the condition and potentially assist in categorizing patients during the evaluation of novel treatment approaches.

Ultimately, this breakthrough provides a crucial first step in our understanding of the underlying genetic mechanisms responsible for MS severity. With continued dedication and research, we may be able to develop more effective therapies and treatments in the near future. This is a momentous milestone in creating better care for those suffering from multiple sclerosis.

A limitation of the study is that it only included participants of European ancestry. The researchers were unable to reproduce the results in two cohorts consisting of individuals from African and Hispanic ancestry. This could possibly be attributed to the limited sample size of these cohorts.

The study opens the door to further research on the genetic links associated with multiple sclerosis severity. Such knowledge could lead to more tailored treatments and improved outcomes for those living with MS around the world. The findings provide hope that one day we may be able to develop treatments which can effectively counteract the debilitating effects of this condition.

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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on

To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav



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