Fatigue Severity in Multiple Sclerosis Predicted by Shrinkage of Brain Regions

February 18, 2022

An article on the multiple sclerosis news today site covers research showing brain atrophy in certain regions is related to the severity of fatigue that people with MS experience.


Lower-than-normal volumes of certain brain regions at disease onset — indicating shrinkage, or atrophy, in those regions — are significantly associated with current and future fatigue severity in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), a study in Germany shows.

Some of these regions also were found to be central brain network hubs in MS patients with progressive fatigue, suggesting a potential early role in fatigue evolution in this patient population.

These findings point to early, specific brain atrophy as a predictive biomarker of fatigue worsening and support the implementation of fatigue-targeting strategies from disease onset in patients at higher risk, the researchers noted.

The study, “Subcortical Volumes as Early Predictors of Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis,” was published in the journal Annals of Neurology.

MS is characterized by the loss of myelin, the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers, or axons, which leads to axonal degeneration in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and neurological damage.

Fatigue, affecting up to 80% of MS patients, is associated with clinical disability and is one of the main causes of reduced quality of life for people with this neurodegenerative disorder.

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