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article imageSuspect multiple sclerosis trigger found

By Tim Sandle     Oct 24, 2013 in Health
A bacterium has been identified which may trigger multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic, debilitating disorder that damages myelin forming cells in the brain and spinal cord.
The suspected trigger is a bacterium called Clostridium perfringens type B. The bacterium is quite rare and it produces a toxin which people rarely encounter. An analysis of samples has shown that the bacterial toxin is present in a higher number of people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
MS is an inflammatory disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. This damage disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate, resulting in a wide range of signs and symptoms, including physical, mental, and sometimes psychiatric problems.
The newly identified link is not just with the toxin being present in MS patients, the toxin targets the exact tissues damaged during the acute MS disease process.
Although the results are interesting, study was relatively small and further research is required definitive before a connection between the pathogen and MS can be made. The presence of the bacterium and its toxin may not be enough, and is likely that some kind of environmental factor is also involved. However, if the link is proven it could be possible to develop a probiotic cocktail that delivers bacteria that compete with, and destroy, C. perfringens.
The research was carried out at the Weill Cornell Medical College and The Rockefeller University. The findings have been published in the journal PLOS One in a paper titled “Isolation of Clostridium perfringens Type B in an Individual at First Clinical Presentation of Multiple Sclerosis Provides Clues for Environmental Triggers of the Disease.”
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