Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fewer blacks than whites develop multiple sclerosis but their disease progresses more rapidly, and they don't respond as well to therapies

Magnetic resonance images of a cohort of 567 consecutive MS patients showed that blacks with MS had more damage to brain tissue and had less normal white and grey matter compared to whites with the disease. "White matter" refers to the parts of the brain that contain nerve fibers sheathed in a white fatty insulating protein called myelin. The white matter is responsible for communication between the various grey matter regions, where nerve cells are concentrated and where cognitive processing occurs. In general, black MS patients tend to have more severe and more frequent attacks, followed by an incomplete recovery even after the first episode.

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