New findings in multiple sclerosis: headaches can be a sign
Permanent or regularly occurring headaches can indicate chronic and previously incurable multiple sclerosis (MS). Physicians had only recently pointed out the problem of falls in MS patients and explained that in addition to injuries and fractures, those affected also react with fear and withdrawal.
A blessing for the patients that in 2013 there were also some innovations in the therapy and research of multiple sclerosis. In addition to the first clinical studies on stem cell therapy and the introduction of two new, promising drugs, researchers now want to have discovered a connection between headache and MS.
Younger patients suffer from headaches, especially at the beginning of MS. Rostock researchers have found this relationship in a recent study. The results of the study were published in the online science journal PLOS one.
For neurologists and psychologists, this finding could have far-reaching consequences in diagnosing and treating the disease, which until now has been incurable, the researchers explained. People who suffer from migraines more often don't have to worry about that. The headaches classified by the researchers are only related to the clinical picture of MS. "The headache is not a classic migraine pain," says headache researcher Prof. Peter Kropp from the Institute of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology at Rostock University Medical Center.
Women affected more often than men Across Germany, around 2500 people develop MS each year, which is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. It is striking that women are twice as likely to be affected by the disease as men. MS is characterized by an attack on the brain and spinal cord, i.e. the central nervous system. This in turn also affects the immune system. The signals otherwise sent from the brain to the spinal cord can no longer be passed on due to a defect in the so-called “myyle layer” - this is the protective covering of the nerve fibers. As a result, inflammation occurs with physical failures or disorders. The commands of the brain are only passed on incompletely. The failures range from visual disturbances to immobility.
Headaches associated with MS can prove to be groundbreaking. ”We examined 200 patients with MS and found that 70 percent of those affected had headaches,” says Professor Dr. Uwe Zettl from the Clinic and Polyclinic for Neurology at the Rostock University Medical Center. “Young women are particularly affected. In concrete terms, the results in this context mean that physicians have new diagnostic options for MS. ” In the past, headaches in MS patients have always been considered in isolation, leading to therapy delay. But an early diagnosis is particularly important, because in the early inflammatory phase the disease can still be treated well and symptoms can be narrowed more effectively, says Professor Zettl. (fr)