Multiple Sclerosis: Researchers Are Recruiting for Genetic Studies
Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the central nervous system. The immune system may actually be responding the way it is normally supposed to when it detects the presence of an antigen. Antigens are proteins that cause the immune system to react. MS affects various parts of the central nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves. It is still unknown as to whether MS is an autoimmune or immune-mediated disease, but specialists all agree that there is some connection between MS and the body's immune system.
There are four recognized types, or courses, of MS: Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), primary progressive MS (PPMS), and secondary progressive MS (SPMS). The severity of each of these four types can range anywhere from mild to severe.
Currently, researchers are looking to predict which people are at the greatest risk for MS by examining their genes.
Multiple sclerosis is a medical condition of the immune system wherein the body starts to attack its own central nervous system. This disease is known to affect certain parts of the central nervous system, which can include the spinal cord, the optic nerves, and the brain. There are four types of MS courses:
- Clinically isolated syndrome, or CIS: This is known to be the first or single occurrence of the neurological symptoms, and they generally continue for at least 24 hours.
- Relapsing-remitting MS, or RRMS: This is the more commonly seen form of MS and it occurs when new or already existing neurological symptoms present themselves as a clear attack on the body.
- Primary progressive MS, or PPMS: This consists of a constant assault of symptoms from the very first moment they appear.
- Secondary progressive MS, or SPMS: This is a course that is known to mostly follow after a diagnosis of another form of MS, usually RRMS.
The question arises as to how the researchers would predict MS in an individual. The human genome is known to play a pivotal role in the identification of multiple health conditions and diseases. An individual can experience a lot of variations in the human genome, which is considered to be an influencing factor in the course of MS. With the identification of the exact role of MS genes as well as the exact location, researchers are hopeful that they will be able to better predict who is at a greater risk of developing this medical condition.
Apart from looking for people who suffer from MS, the MS Genetics Group is also trying to recruit individuals who do not have this disease to join in as members of the research study's control group. By carrying out a detailed research study, this group is seeking to reach a point of identification for many of the foremost contributing factors in the genetics of those who suffer from MS. By recognizing the genetic factors that are most commonly behind the course of MS, the research group believes that they will also be able to identify the genetic factors that could help them to slow the progression as well as the presentation of this disease. The Genetics Group has stated that participants and applicants do not need to reside in California or even near the location of the research study. Some of the important aspects of this research study can be carried out from remote locations, which makes it much more convenient for out-of-state participants. Any applicants who want to be a part of this study group do not have to pay a fee or any other charges either.
There is also another research study going on at the University of California, San Francisco, which is investigating the possible role played by gut bacteria in the occurrence of MS. The researchers there are looking to recruit individuals who suffer from PPMS or any other course of MS to help them conduct their international research study. Keep in mind, however, that participants are being asked to visit labs directly.