Readers of this blog will know I began writing about the vascular connection to MS after finding a link between Jeff's hypercoagulated serum test results, the small dots of blood seen on his legs called petechiae, and the realization that if he had pinpoint drops of blood escaping vessels on his legs, this could be happening in his brain, as well. Blood in brain tissue creates oxidative stress, causes demyelination and initiates the coagulation cascade. Dr. Roy Swank had noted the same thing in the 1950s, and had termed the leaky vessels "fragile capillaries." I brought this research into the 21st century, by linking this blood vessel fragility to endothelial dysfunction and issues with nitric oxide.
Finally, neurological researchers are noting the importance of cerebral microbleeds in the brains of those with MS, and exploring the cardiovascular connection to MS progression.
Published online today in Radiology, BNAC at the Jacobs School of Medicine in Buffalo reports on the link of cerebral microbleeds to disability in patients with MS. link
The researchers found that the more cerebral microbleeds a patient had, the more severe were their physical and cognitive outcomes. In particular, MS patients who had more cerebral microbleeds had more physical disability after adjusting for age, hypertension and whole-brain volume.
"This is significant because it suggests that cerebral microbleeds are associated with increased physical disability in MS patients, independent from these additional risk factors for cerebral microbleeds," said Zivadinov.
In terms of cognitive disability, the researchers found that in the subgroup of MS patients who underwent neuropsychological testing, those with more cerebral microbleeds had higher disability on verbal and other cognitive function tests.
"Those MS patients who have cerebral microbleeds are subject to developing more physical and cognitive disabilities earlier in their disease, and therefore monitoring them more closely might be appropriate," Zivadinov noted.