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Brain Abnormality Predicts Multiple Sclerosis Severity

Hyperintense lesions linked to disability and disease progression, may be new biomarker

TUESDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with multiple sclerosis, hyperintense lesions on non-enhanced T1-weighted magnetic resonance images are common indicators of disease severity and may be a clinically relevant biomarker, according to a report published in the September issue of Radiology.

Rohit Bakshi, M.D., of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues reviewed images of 145 patients, including 92 with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and 49 with secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis.

The researchers identified 340 T1 hyperintense lesions in 113 patients. They found that such lesions were more common in patients with secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis than in those with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (71 percent versus 46 percent), and that the total number of lesions was strongly associated with physical disability, disease progression and brain atrophy.

"We conclude that a T1 hyperintense lesion deserves further study as a potentially clinically relevant biomarker of the disease process," the authors conclude. "Further prospective studies are warranted to assess the evolution of these lesions with time and their use for the prediction of clinical progression. Future studies should also correlate the magnetic resonance imaging findings with histologic findings to define the pathologic substrate underlying this T1 hyperintense signal change. Further studies are warranted to determine whether T1 hyperintensity adds specificity for the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis versus other multifocal brain diseases."

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