Neuromyelitis Optica vs Multiple Sclerosis

  1. Chelsea Baker

    Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a rare autoimmune inflammatory demyelinating disease that targets the optic nerve and the spinal cord. It is often misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis (MS) as there are no biomarkers to distinguish between the two. NMO does not often present with lesions or inflammation of the brain as MS does. It is important to diagnose the disorder correctly as they have different treatments for optimal results. A possible new marker (NMO-IgG) for neuromyelitis optica has been tested as a distinguishing marker between NMO and MS. A study (Lennon, Vanda A., Dean M Wingerchuk, Thomas J Kryzer, Sean J Pittock, Claudia F Lucchinetti, Kazuo Fujihara, Ichiro Nakashima, Brian G Weinshenker. “A serum autoantibody marker of neuromyelitis optica: distinction from multiple sclerosis.” The Lancet 364: 9451(2004)2106-2112.) NMO-IgG was found in three-quarters of patients that have been diagnosed with NMO and in no patients with classic MS. Have there been any more studies done on this new biomarker to support the findings of this study? If so, has it been set into motion to become a diagnostic tool in hospitals?

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