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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Learning about Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS)

The Less Talked-About Form of MS
Historically, primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) has seemingly taken a back seat to other types of multiple sclerosis (MS). By far, the largest amount of information published about research and treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) has been in reference to relapsing-remitting and secondary-progressive forms of MS (RRMS and SPMS respectively).

The emphasis has been on RRMS and SPMS for a number of reasons. First, 85 percent of individuals diagnosed with MS begin with the RRMS form, and after many years, RRMS usually advances to SPMS - so clearly the vast majority of patients fall under these categories. Second, RRMS, with its trademark flare-ups and remissions, is the easiest to identify, measure, and observe changes - both in terms of symptoms and diagnostic/ evaluative testing. And third, unlike PPMS (and eventually SPMS), constant flare-ups of inflammation play a vital role in RRMS.
This inflammation in RRMS occurs within the brain and spinal cord (components of the central nervous system [CNS]), and gives researchers a specific target for potential drug and treatment therapies. Disease flare-ups as well as ongoing subclinical disease activity (referring to changes occurring inside the body without any new or worsening symptoms) are frequently observed and measured through the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology.


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