Health Conditions Hub Multiple Sclerosis

Can a Blood Sample Predict MS Before Symptoms Appear?

Study findings could lead to earlier diagnosis

An antibody linked with multiple sclerosis (MS) might be detectable in blood of people who have the disease before they show any symptoms, according to a new study.

These preliminary findings, should they hold up, could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment.

“If our results can be replicated in larger populations, our findings may help to detect MS earlier in a subgroup of patients,” said study author Viola Biberacher. “Finding the disease before symptoms appear means we can better prepare to treat and possibly even prevent those symptoms.”

In the study, researchers analyzed blood samples from 16 donors who were diagnosed with MS later and samples from 16 people of the same age and sex who did not develop the disease. Investigators were looking for an antibody to the KIR4.1 protein, which is found in some people with MS. Among the study subjects who developed MS, seven tested positive for the antibody and two showed borderline activity. The antibody didn’t show up in any of the people without the disease.

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