A new study has shown that multiple sclerosis activity decreases during the spring and summer months. This could have mislead the progression of treatment for MS patients.
According to Dominik Meier, PhD, of Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston and a member of the American Academy of Neurology said that brain scans of 44 people taken between 1991 and 1993 have shown that MS symptoms were two to three times higher between March and August.
The participants were between the ages 25 and 52 that had untreated MS. Each of the subjects had brain scans done eight times a week another eight scans every other week and six monthly check-ups. The researchers took into consideration the weather including daily temperature, solar radiation, and precipitation measurements.
Out of the 44 people that were being observed, only 13 had no new lesions on the brain. The other 33 people had 310 new lesions. It was noted that there were more lesions found in the spring and summer months.
"This is an important study because it analyzes records from the early 1990's, before medications for relapsing MS were approved, so medicines likely could not affect the outcome. A study like this probably won't be able to be repeated," said Anne Cross, MD, with the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who wrote an editorial about the study. Cross is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "Future studies should further explore how and why environmental factors play a role in MS."
This research is a very important piece to the puzzle. MS patients may appear to have a decrease in lesions from summer to winter. If treatment is being used, it would seem that it would be working. The opposite would be observed from the winter to summer.