Evaluating the local differences in iron accumulation in the deep gray matter of the brain using a special magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique, may help identify multiple sclerosis (MS) patients at greater risk for disease progression and disability, a study reports.
The study “Brain Iron by Using Quantitative MRI Is Associated with Disability in Multiple Sclerosis” was published in the journal Radiology.
Measuring brain’s atrophy (shrinkage) is currently used as a predictor of cognitive and physical disability in MS, but assessing these changes in the brain is a long-term task.
“Brain atrophy takes a long time to see,” Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, said in a press release. Zivadinov is professor of neurology at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo.
“We need an earlier measure of who will develop MS-related disability,” Zivadinov added.
A growing number of studies are investigating the role of iron in MS, its accumulation in white matter and gray matter, and potential damage. However, how iron accumulation in different regions of the brain correlate with MS is still poorly understood.
“It is known that there is more iron in the deep gray matter structures in MS patients, but also we’ve seen in recent literature that there are regions where we find less iron in the brains of these patients,” Zivadinov said.
Together with colleagues, Zivadinov used a recently developed MRI technique, called quantitative susceptibility mapping, to measure the levels of iron accumulation in different areas of the brain in MS patients compared to healthy controls.
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