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MS That Runs in Families May Be Worse

Brain Damage From Multiple Sclerosis May Be More Severe in Patients With Family History of MS
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 12, 2007 -- Multiple sclerosis may cause more severe brain damage in patients who have a relative who had multiple sclerosis.

Researchers reported that news today in Prague, Czech Republic, at the 23rd Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis.

The scientists -- who work at the State University of New York at Buffalo -- included Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD.

They studied 759 MS patients, 26% of whom had a relative with multiple sclerosis. The patients got brain scans using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Zivadinov and colleagues analyzed the patients' brain scans. The scientists noticed more severe brain damage in the brain scans of patients with a family history of MS, compared with those with no relatives with MS.

That pattern was stronger for MS patients with a parent or sibling who had MS, compared with patients who had a more distant relative with MS.

However, family history of multiple sclerosis wasn't linked to the degree of disability due to MS, the length of time the patients had had MS, or how their MS had progressed.

"This warrants further investigation," write Zivadinov and colleagues.

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