Multiple Sclerosis, and a New Test for it on the Way
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that takes a major toll on those who are afflicted by it. Multiple sclerosis is an auto immune disease that causes the body to literally attack itself by damaging areas of the brain and nervous system, resulting in lesions. These lesions cause a wide range of issues and can have a major impact upon the lives of those suffering from the disease.
People who manifest MS often have bladder and bowel issues, memory problems, a lack of strength and coordination, and chronic pain and tingling issues among other problems. Because of how severely multiple sclerosis can impact the life of those who have it, finding a more effective and efficient means of diagnosing it has been the goal of doctors for some time.
Currently MS is diagnosed based upon the symptoms of the patient and MRI scans. The problem here is that the symptoms of MS are similar to those of other diseases, and an MRI may not detect any lesions when the disease is in its early stages.
So why is it so important to diagnose multiple sclerosis early? There are two reasons. The first one is that the accurate diagnosis done early means that treatment can be started sooner. This is important because early treatment may in fact slow down the course of the disease. The other main reason is the psychological well-being of the patient. Given how devastating MS can be, anyone waiting for a diagnosis is going to be under a lot of stress. Finding out either one way or the other can help patients either feel relief or accept their diagnosis and begin taking steps to move forward.
The good news for both doctors and patients is that a new blood test is currently being developed. It may allow doctors to make a definitive diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in a matter of days instead of weeks or months. The new blood test uses a computer algorithm to analyze genetic markers that should enable doctors to determine if a patient has MS or if they are suffering from some other disease.
As time passes and the testing becomes more advanced, doctors believe that they will be able to screen people for the possibility of developing MS. This means that people who have family members of the disease should be able to find out if they are going to get it, too. This will either give them relief, or prepare them for the disease, which is a far better option than worrying and not knowing.