Relapse Events Often Long Before MS Diagnosis | City of health Berlin

Monday 4th July 2022 – Author: ham

Before multiple sclerosis is diagnosed, those affected often have unrecognized flare-ups. Scientists from Munich have come to this conclusion in a new study. The team then questions the theory of the so-called prodromal phase.

Sensory disturbances, numbness or visual disturbances are the first indications of multiple sclerosis. But before the diagnosis of MS is made, many sufferers have been sick for years, as data on medical visits and hospital admissions show. In recent years, the time before diagnosis has been evaluated by experts as a possible so-called prodromal phase, that is, a precursor phase of the autoimmune disease.

The physical complaints could be relapses of MS

Scientists from the Technical University of Munich are now questioning this. Based on the results of their studies, they assume there are undetected relapses behind frequent medical consultations. Symptoms before diagnosis are likely not a prodromal stage, says Prof. Bernhard Hemmer, who led the study.

Evaluate several thousand medical records

In the study, the scientists evaluated data from thousands of people from Bavaria, which was made available by the Bavarian Association of Health Insurance Medical Examiners. The authors found that there were more complaints during visits to the doctor and clinic, indicating early symptoms of MS. “We therefore believe that, although the disease has not yet been diagnosed, it is already fully active and is not in a preliminary phase, the so-called prodrome,” Hemmer points out.

The association with respiratory infections is still unclear

Another finding from the study didn’t quite fit the picture: People with MS reported to doctors less frequently for upper respiratory tract infections. “This was an unexpected finding, especially since relapses in MS have sometimes been associated with infections in the past,” says PD co-first author Dr. Alexander Hapfelmeier of the TUM Institute of General Practice and Health Services Research. “However, we will need to investigate in future studies whether there is a causal connection between MS and some degree of protection against certain infections, or whether the treatment data analyzed reflects a protective change in the behavior of sick people.”

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