- MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Researchers have found a form of the herpes virus in
the brains of people suffering from multiple sclerosis, which may eventually
provide evidence that it causes the debilitating disease.
- Human herpes virus-6 was found in the
brains of eight of 11 MS patients studied by scientists at the Institute
for Viral Pathogenesis in Milwaukee. The virus was also found in the blood
of 14 of 25 patients.
- The findings confirm a study published
- Scientists have long suspected a virus
triggers MS, which prompts the immune system to attack nerve fibers, causing
paralysis and death.
- If further study confirms the virus as
the cause, the finding could lead to new treatments for a disease that
affects more than 300,000 people in the United States.
- The study was presented Tuesday at conference
of the American Neurological Association in Montreal.
- Dr. Robert Lisak, co-director of the
Multiple Sclerosis Clinical and Research Center at the Detroit Medical
Center, said the study doesn't convince him that the virus is solely to
blame for MS. Past studies have been unable to confirm that, he said.
- "It would be nice if this were true.
I'm not saying it can't be," Lisak said. "More study needs to
- People often carry the herpes virus-6
and many other types of viruses and bacteria, and MS may have multiple
causes, he said.
- Donald Carrigan, a co-author of the study,
acknowledged that further research is needed but noted that the virus was
present only in brain areas actively damaged by MS.