New MS subtype marked by demyelination of the spinal cord & cerebral cortex is identified in study


Researchers from Cleveland Clinic may have discovered a new subtype of multiple sclerosis called myelocortical MS, which is characterized by demyelination of spinal cord and cerebral cortex, not of cerebral white matter, according to a study published in Lancet Neurology.

Here are five things to know:

1. The study comprised the brain and spinal cord of 100 deceased multiple sclerosis patients at Cleveland Clinic between May 1998 and November 2012.

2. Brains were scanned in situ by MRI before autopsy, and after removal, brains were cut and divided to be examined for white-matter lesions.

3. Twelve brains did not contain visible lesions in cerebral white matter, which is representative of the myelocortical MS subtype. These 12 brains and corresponding spinal cords were then compared to 12 individuals with typical MS from the remaining brains.

4. The typical MS and myelocortical MS groups showed similar numbers of spinal cord segments with demyelination, but the average percentage area occupied by demyelinated lesions in spinal cord was significantly greater in sections from individuals with typical MS than myelocortical MS.

5. Researchers concluded myelocortical MS should be considered a distinct subtype of multiple sclerosis and neuronal degeneration and cerebral white-matter demyelination can be independent events in individuals with multiple sclerosis.

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