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Scientists Identify New Genetic Risk Factors for Multiple Sclerosis

Posted by iskanbasal on August 2, 2007

1. The New England Journal of Medicine: Editorial

2. The New England Journal of Medicine: Risk alleles for Multiple Sclerosis identified by a genomewide study ….full text article

3. Nature genetics article: letter.

4. Nature genetics: article 

5. NIH press release: a very simple and clear introduction.

The above are all the early release articles and news I received since last Sunday about the great advancement in the study of the genetic causes of Multiple sclerosis(MS).

This is an important field of interest in medicine: MS affects a high number of individuals, “Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling, disease of the central nervous system affecting more than 1 in 1,000 people in most western countries”.  

 MS was an important subject in my last test in clinical Neurology in my course; I understood this disease is diffuse in the Central Nervous System (CNS), that is it can affect many different parts of the CNS causing a wide range of signs and symptoms. There is a great interest in the research field in this condition especially in the European countries and North America where it has its high incidence. I understood three basic fields of interest: 1. the immunologic field, MS is considered an autoimmune disease; 2. the genetic background that increase the susceptibility to have the disease; 3. the enviromental factors, many times suspected to trigger it.

Interesting is the fact that the incidence rates vary among different ethnic groups independently of geographic location:”  The prevalence of multiple sclerosis is high among Northern Europeans but low in African, Chinese, Japanese, and Saami populations”.

 I understood this indicates the importance of a certain genetic profile that underlie the characteristic diffusion of MS.  Actually this is the field where the recent advancement has been achieved and announced in the above articles, links. The discovery of important genes that are associated with increased risk of MS. This is what the editorial says:”In this issue of the Journal, Hafler et al. describe the outcome of the first effort of the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium to define the genetic profile underlying a predisposition to multiple sclerosis. This large-scale association study, a joint analysis of an impressive data set of more than 12,000 subjects, supports the prediction of multiple risk alleles”.

Certainly, the final goal of the whole studies to discover causes and mechanisms of MS is obvious:”in the hope of devising treatments to correct the disease-causing process”.

   An interesting point is that the sophisticated techniques used to reach these results could be used also to determine the genetic profile of many other important and common diseases.  

(escuse me my English errors).

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One Response to “Scientists Identify New Genetic Risk Factors for Multiple Sclerosis”

  1. […] nervous system affecting more than 1 in 1000 people in most western … article continues at iskanbasal brought to you by Depression and Clinical […]

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