Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease associated with progressive loss of myelin, the natural insulator of nerves.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, characterised by demyelination and axonal damage. Patients may present with a wide range of symptoms, such as vision problems, muscle spasms, mobility impairment, cognitive dysfunctioning and fatigue. The age of onset of symptoms generally lies between 20 to 40 years. MS may present with an immediate progressive disease course – primary progressive MS – or with a relapsing-remitting disease course that usually results in a progressive course – secondary progressive MS - at later stages.
Together with the Anne Rowling Clinic at the University of Edinburgh we study patients with relapsing-remitting MS and primary progressive MS. The aim is to aid patient treatment by means of better early disease stratification for treatment with existing and new therapies. Patients included in these studies receive an extensive range of assessments, including brain and retinal imaging, and cognitive, inflammatory markers and genetic tests, that will help map the disease from multiple perspectives. Using quantitative brain imaging, we aim to develop biomarkers that aid prediction of clinical disability over time, or that act as reliable measures of disease status. Additionally, they are used to test drug effectiveness and may aid explanation of some biological processes underlying MS. In addition to quantifying MS lesions and brain volume using standard structural MRI we are also using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and magnetisation transfer (MT) imaging. These techniques are able to detect subtle brain abnormalities that we cannot detect using conventional imaging techniques; in particular the integrity of myelin, which is critical for nerve function and a hallmark of damage in MS.
Lead MS researcher
If you would like to discuss undertaking MS research & collaborating with us, please contact our business manager, who will arrange a meeting with our MS research lead.
Research staff with a MS focus
Funding organisations & groups
Organisations are listed alphabetically:
- Anne Rowling Clinic
- Chief Scientist Office
- Medical Research Council (MRC)
- MS society
- National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
- National Institute for Health Research University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre
- Stratified Medicine Scotland
- University College London
- University of Edinburgh
Relevant Edinburgh Imaging publications
- Lema A, et al., A comparison of magnetization transfer methods to assess brain & cervical cord microstructure in multiple sclerosis, J Neuroimaging 2017 27:221-226. doi:10.1111/jon.12377
- Bishop CA, et al., Analysis of ageing-associated grey matter volume in patients with multiple sclerosis shows excess atrophy in subcortical regions, Neuroimage Clin. 2016 Nov 9;13:9-15. eCollection 2017
- Mattoscio M, et al., Hematopoietic mobilization: Potential biomarker of response to natalizumab in multiple sclerosis, Neurology. 2015 (14):1473-82. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001454
- Newbould RD, et al., Age independently affects myelin integrity as detected by magnetization transfer magnetic resonance imaging in multiple sclerosis, Neuroimage Clin
- Mollison D, et al., The clinico-radiological paradox of cognitive function and MRI burden of white matter lesions in people with multiple sclerosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis, PLoS One. 2017 (5):e0177727. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177727
- Marshall I, et al., Characterisation of tissue-type metabolic content in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: a magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging study, J Neurol. 2018 (8):1795-1802. doi: 10.1007/s00415-018-8903-y
- Matthews PM, et al., A practical review of the neuropathology and neuroimaging of multiple sclerosis, Pract Neurol. 2016 Aug;16(4):279-87. doi: 10.1136/practneurol-2016-001381
- Politis M, et al., Increased PK11195 PET binding in the cortex of patients with MS correlates with disability, Neurology. 2012 (6):523-30. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182635645.