Study Finds Vascular Brain Disorder Often Mistaken As MS

Researchers from Loyola University Health System in Spain have found out in a study that a serious type of vascular disorder in the brain is often misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis. The said disorder, called CADASIL, often affects young adults and leads to early dementia. The said study is published in Revista de Neurologia or Journal of Neurology in Spain.

CADASIL is a condition where a thickening of the blood vessel walls begins to restrict blood flow into the brain. Initial symptoms of the condition includes migraine headaches which may then progress into strokes or mini-strokes, motor disability, depression and the inability to organize everyday tasks. The final symptom of the said disorder is dementia.

According to researchers, CADASIL is caused by a mutation of a single gene called Notch 3. If a person carries the mutated gene, there is a big possibility that he or she will develop the disease. There is also a 50 percent chance that a child may inherit the gene mutation as well as the disease from their parents who have it.

The researchers conducted a study by giving exhaustive tests and exams to 11 CADASIL patients. During the said study the researchers discovered a delay in detection as well as other diagnostic errors in some patients as well as their relatives. The frequent misdiagnosis that the researchers discovered was that the patients were told that they have multiple sclerosis.

The researchers point out several reasons why CADASIL is often misdiagnosed as MS. Both CADASIL and MS seem to strike mostly young adults. As both diseases progress, they also tend to display the same brain MRI’s during tests. They both can also cause similar focal neurologic signs and symptoms in people.

This small study was part of a subset of a larger study that aimed to determine whether a drug for treating Alzheimer’s disease may be able to help CADASIL patients.

Source: Loyola University Health System. “Vascular brain disorder often misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis, study finds.” ScienceDaily 10 March 2011. 22 March 2011 <http://www.sciencedaily.comĀ­/releases/2011/03/110309091331.htm>

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