Many patients report a history of other conditions such as migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and mood and anxiety disorders, before being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). According to a new study, these symptoms could be warning signs of MS and help in its early detection.
“Prodrome” is a set of early symptoms indicating onset of disease. There is an accepted prodrome for several other neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, which help in their early detection.
In the study “Five years before multiple sclerosis onset: Phenotyping the prodrome,” published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal, researchers reviewed the health records of MS patients from four Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia.
Researchers took a closer look at the history of these patients, prior to their MS diagnosis, to help identify a cluster of conditions that can serve as an early indication of MS.
The health records of 14,000 MS patients and 67,000 healthy individuals from 1984 to 2014 were reviewed.
Results showed that fibromyalgia was more than three times, and irritable bowel syndrome almost two times, more prevalent in individuals who later developed MS, compared to the healthy control group.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes pain in muscles and soft tissues (widespread musculoskeletal pain); in irritable bowel syndrome, patients experience abdominal pain due to altered bowel movements. Both of these conditions arise due to improper communication between the nerves and the brain.
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