People diagnosed with multiple sclerosis typically have one or more white matter lesions, or WMLs, on their brain or spine. Lesion progression and possible treatments are monitored using MRI scans, which allow doctors to track the growth or atrophy of the lesions and the appearance of new lesions. These lesions can shrink over time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the condition is improving.
Why Does MS Cause Lesions?
In people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), the body’s immune system attacks the protective myelin sheath around the nerve fiber. The more damage is done to the myelin, the more the nerve fiber will be exposed. When nerve fibers are exposed, they begin to decline in function and may die if damaged enough.
However, one damaged myelin sheath will not cause white matter lesions in the brain. Lesions form when many myelin has lost enough fibers. This increased loss of myelin shows up as lesions on MRI scans. Lesions can change in size over time, especially when they first form. Lesion growth usually plateaus with time, but sometimes they may shrink.
Most shrinkage appears to be due to a decrease in acute inflammation in the area.
In a recent study, patients who experienced more brain lesion atrophy were more likely to develop physical disabilities. Lesion atrophy proved to be a better predictor of physical disabilities than total brain shrinkage.
Can Stem Cells Help?
Although MS does not have a cure, preventing its progression is one of the main goals of stem cell therapy. Recent research suggests stem cells have the ability to slow or halt the progression of nerve degeneration due to MS. Preventing lesion progression could improve symptoms, reduce flareups, and prevent the development of physical disabilities.
Today, there continues to be active research on stem cell therapy for many conditions and results have shown promise. If you have multiple sclerosis, stem cell therapy may an alternative option or in conjunction with traditional medicine to explore.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for multiple sclerosis, also known as stem cell for multiple sclerosis. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.