Sivakolundu said that identifying newer lesions by their metabolic activity level also could indicate a more effective treatment plan for patients who need immunosuppressive medication.
“The current drugs are designed to prevent a relapse, which is more likely in newer lesions,” he said. “So patients with newer injuries might require more intense immunosuppressive therapy than those with less active lesions.”
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Rypma emphasized that their work, which is a segment of a large project on cognitive decline in MS patients, intends to equip clinicians with better data.
“We’re helping doctors evaluate one therapeutic course against another,” he said. “Either a patient’s lesions can be healed, and they should choose the path of remyelination therapy, or they should choose the current therapy and focus on damage limitation.”
Other UT Dallas authors include Kathryn West, research associate in the Center for BrainHealth; Yeqi Wang, doctoral student in computer science; Thomas Stanley, computer science senior; Andrew Wilson, software engineering senior; and Monroe Turner, doctoral student in cognition and neuroscience. Researchers from Baylor University and the University of Calgary also contributed.
The research was funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.Back to HCB News