Forum

Haematology

Whilst m. s. is a disease of the nervous system why is no one interested in regular testing/analysing blood samples from us. Surely there will be something significant in our blood when we are relapsing - it may be a deficiency or too much of something. As long as we are channelled into the neurological departments where significantly we are never tested for anything then m.s. will remain a mystery.

Ive had many many many bloodtests and FULL testing and all came back clear and showed ositoarthritus and that was it....

I think research has been done and IS being done on this.

I don't think it's anything as straightforward as a simple deficiency, because that would have become obvious by now.  People being investigated for MS are already routinely tested for deficiencies that could cause similar symptoms.  We know there may be a link between B12 deficiency and MS, although we don't know which is chicken, and which is egg.  Also it's not a reliable test, because although many people with MS have B12 deficiency too, lots don't.  Mine was fine!  Same with D3.  The evidence of a link is compelling, but it's not clear whether it's levels now that are important, or levels in childhood, or perhaps even in the womb.  Anyway, again, it wouldn't be a reliable test, because certainly not everyone with low vitamin D gets MS (though they might have other health problems), neither does everyone with MS necessarily have low vitamin D.  There is some evidence that low vitamin D is associated with an increased risk of relapses.  That's one of the reasons many here choose to supplement.

But one of the most interesting areas of study is the search for markers in the blood, that might eventually make it possible to test for MS, or to predict likelihood of relapse.

From memory, work on this was done in Israel.  They took blood samples from a load of army recruits (military service is compulsory in Israel), so they were able to get samples when the subjects were all young, and not displaying any symptoms.  They then traced which went on to get MS, and looked for characteristics that were common to those samples, but not the rest.  I think they did find things, which raises the intriguing possibility that it might be possible to identify (and treat?) somebody at risk, years before they have any symptoms.  But that would require mass screening.  There might also be some ethical issues, a bit like genetic testing for breast cancer.  Would you WANT to find you carried a risk factor, even if you had no symptoms at all, and might not develop MS for years and years...or at all?

There's also been work done on predicting relapses, and I believe markers have been found that correlate well with the likelihood of having a relapse in the next two years.  Now two years is quite a long time, and I suppose you could say it's odds on that most RRMSers would have had one in that time (I remember reading somewhere that one every two years is about the average, although clearly some have a lot more than that).  So they've obviously not got it down to a fine art yet: we'd all like to know if we're going to have a relapse next week or next month, not "Within two years".

But it's still interesting, don't you think?

T.

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