New technique to detect early-stage MS

Scientists have developed a new technique to diagnose early-stage multiple sclerosis (MS) and distinguish it from a similar autoimmune condition called neuromyelitis optica.

Brazilian researchers used a nanobiosensor, which was originally created to detect pollutants like herbicides and heavy metals, and developed a method for watching myelin basic protein peptides when they were put with samples of antibodies from patients. This was observed under an atomic force microscope.

If antibodies in the patients’ cerebrospinal fluid are attracted to the peptides, researchers say this indicates a person has MS.

The researchers wanted to find a way to diagnose MS quickly because it is usually done clinically based on the symptoms presenting and then an MRI scan to look for lesions. They say that the method they have developed is more accurate and costs less. The earlier someone is diagnosed, the sooner they can begin treatment and hopefully slow disease progression.