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Spinal Cord Diffusivity Predicts Relapse Recovery in MS

Last Updated: August 16, 2010.

Measurements of spinal cord diffusivity in patients with multiple sclerosis with cervical cord relapse may be predictive of clinical recovery, according to research published online Aug. 4 in Multiple Sclerosis.

MONDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Measurements of spinal cord diffusivity in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) with cervical cord relapse may be predictive of clinical recovery, according to research published online Aug. 4 in Multiple Sclerosis.

To study the effectiveness of spinal cord diffusion tensor imaging for predicting clinical recovery after cord relapse in patients with MS, Patrick Freund, Ph.D., of the University College London, and colleagues carried out the procedure on 14 patients with cervical cord relapse and 13 age-matched healthy controls. Patients were assessed at the onset of cervical cord relapse and at one, three, and six months.

The researchers found an association between better clinical outcomes and lower baseline radial diffusivity of the cortico-spinal tract. Patients experienced a larger decrease in radial diffusivity of the cortico-spinal tract as their conditions improved during follow-up than did the controls.

"The predictive role of radial diffusivity and its dynamic changes over time suggest that this index reflects spinal cord pathological processes, including resolution of inflammation and remyelination, that contribute to clinical recovery in MS. This suggests that radial diffusivity may be useful in trials that promote recovery after spinal cord injury and could be applied to other neurological diseases affecting the spinal cord," the authors write.

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