For those with multiple sclerosis (MS), life is definitely a challenge. This disease attacks your brain and spinal cord. And while doctors have come a long way in understanding MS, there is no treatment that can make it disappear.
At best, MS patients try to manage their symptoms and reduce their severity and/or frequency. In recent health news, researchers from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago think they have uncovered another way to fend off a particularly troublesome symptom of MS: brain lesions.
Normally, your nerve cells are surrounded by an insulating layer called “myelin.” Myelin is a fatty substance that helps transmit nerve impulses. In those with MS, the myelin sheath becomes inflamed or damaged. This slows or disrupts completely the transmission of nerve impulses, leaving areas of scarring. These areas of scarring are called “lesions” and they often appear in the white matter of the brain.
Now back to the study — the trial examined the effects of a stress management program in reducing neuroimaging markers of multiple sclerosis disease activity; specifically, the brain lesions we just talked about.
A total of 121 patients with relapsing forms of MS were randomized to receive stress management therapy for MS or to be assigned to a control group. The stress management therapy provided 16 individual treatment sessions over 24 weeks, followed by a 24-week post- treatment follow-up. The research team measured the number of new brain lesions on MRI at weeks eight, 16, and 24. Secondary outcomes measured included enlarging lesions, brain volume change, clinical exacerbation, and stress.
The researchers found that the stress management therapy resulted in a reduction in cumulative lesions. More of the participants also remained free of lesions during the treatment compared to participants receiving the control treatment. The researchers noted that these effects were no longer detectable during the 24-week post-treatment follow-up period. They concluded that this trial indicates that stress management therapy may be useful in reducing the development of new MRI brain lesions while patients are in treatment.
It sounds like stress management therapy is definitely a useful alternative treatment for those with MS. For those who want to know more, get your doctor’s advice about where to go to get stress management therapy.
Emphasizing brain foods could also be beneficial for those with MS. Anything that boosts the resiliency and health of the brain is sure to help manage the condition.
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