Diabetes, hypertension, and active smoking correlate with more brain shrinkage in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, a new study shows.
The study, “Assessing the burden of vascular risk factors on brain atrophy in multiple sclerosis: A case- control MRI study” was published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.
MS is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by the loss of myelin — the fat-rich substance that wraps around nerve fibers (axons) — leading to the progressive destruction of nerve cells. While triggered by a malfunctioning immune system, other conditions might influence MS progression. In fact, diabetes and hypertension have detrimental effects on MS patients.
In this study researchers evaluated how three common vascular risk factors — diabetes mellitus type 1 or type 2, hypertension, and active smoking — correlate with brain injury severity, measured as a reduction in brain volume (also called atrophy or shrinkage) by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in MS patients.
Diabetes might be responsible for accelerated rates of brain volume loss; alterations in blood glucose levels are linked with a pro-inflammatory and oxidative stress (an imbalance between the body’s production of potentially harmful reactive oxygen species and its ability to contain them) in the brain.
Hypertension is known to cause damage to small blood vessels and alterations in the brain that may potentially accelerate MS disease progression. In turn, cigarette smoking may promote neurodegeneration through its effects on the vascular system.
The study included 326 patients with MS, of whom 116 (35.6 percent) had at least one vascular risk factor, and 27 (8.3 percent) of whom had at least two risk factors. A group of 210 MS patients without any vascular risk served as control.
In total, 49 patients had diabetes (15 percent), 44 patients had hypertension (13.4 percent), and 50 patients were active smokers (15.3 percent).
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?