Multiple Sclerosis: New Marker Could Improve Diagnosis

Bob

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An interesting article about MS. They've found a potential biomarker. It's an autoimmune antibody that "bonds with the potassium channel KIR4.1." It was found in almost half of MS patients in one study, and it wasn't found in healthy people.

Multiple Sclerosis: New Marker Could Improve Diagnosis
ScienceDaily
July 12, 2012
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120712101549.htm
 

Enid

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Interesting one Bob, one of my Neurologists suspecting MS and another spoke of a thinning of the myelin sheath in his opinion.

(and a strange thing which may or may not relate - at one stage the passing of high amounts of potassium in the urine - neon orange - no supps at that time).
 
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Thanks, Bob.

I'm generally a biomarker sceptic, and as Snow Leopard points out sensitivity is low, but two things impress me about this study:
  • it's in the New England Journal of Medicine, which generally has very high standards
  • Although it was compared with healthy controls, the autoantibody to potassium channel KR4.1 is unlikely to be a generic marker of health/neurological problems as:
    This autoantibody is extremely rare in people with other neurological diseases, making it an important potential diagnostic marker for MS in the future. "This autoantibody could improve diagnosis of MS and help us differentiate it more clearly from other neurological diseases" [said one of the authors]
The low sensitivity obviously requires further investigation but could be, as many have speculated, that MS is more than one disease and the antibody could be identifying one specific cause. Will be interesting to see if this holds up in replication studies.
 

alex3619

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On of the possibilities is that MS, like CFS and possibly ME, is a syndrome with multiple disease subtypes. Another is that the potassium channel antibodies are a secondary consequence - typical but not defining. Its definitely interesting though, especially since about half (there is that number again) of CFS patients have low whole body potassium.

Sensitivity appears poor at this stage (50%) but it still sounds exciting.
PS Also I agree with what Simon said.
 

Bob

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Interesting one Bob, one of my Neurologists suspecting MS and another spoke of a thinning of the myelin sheath in his opinion.

(and a strange thing which may or may not relate - at one stage the passing of high amounts of potassium in the urine - neon orange - no supps at that time).
I've always thought that the cutting-edge biomedical ME research might also give answers to autoimmune diseases and other neurological diseases.
 

Enid

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Yes I see they suspect viral in origin - my Neurologist agreeing ME thought also viral in origin too. (setting up an autoimmune condition). But what seemed to confuse him was all the other well known ME symptoms.
 

xrayspex

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do some think that there are myelin problems with CFS/ME? It could certainly fit with some of my problems.

This is a treatment question and maybe I will start a new thread but I thought some of you in this thread might know directions to point me in---So, in doing research in how to treat myelin problems, I notice that cholinergic treatment is one possible avenue and thus anti-cholinergics like benadryl would be contraindicated. yet Jay Goldstein said that antihistamines like benadryl useful because it may stimulate the NMDA receptor. So how can these opposing needs be handled, and how do they coexist, I don't understand.......

ok here is thread I started about my question here:

http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?threads/cholinergic-vs-anticholinergic.18480/#post-280879