Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Soil-based bacteria discovered in humans 'may trigger MS'

News Brief by Avneet Soin

Recently, scientists have found soil-based bacteria in the human body that may be a trigger for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is a disease that attacks the central nervous system and has multiple symptoms including numbness, loss of vision, and even paralysis. The bacteria found were types (ranging from A to E) of one of the most common bacteria worldwide: Clostrodium perfrigens, which is typically found in the soil. Type A, which is known to reside in the human gastrointestinal tract, is harmless. However, types B and D are not; they were observed in animals and produce toxins that cause symptoms very similar to those of MS in humans. They also tend to compete for resources with type A.

Although neither of these types is usually found in humans, scientists did observe that MS patients had only half the amount of type A bacteria as compared to healthy patients, indicating that it may be competing for resources in the sick patients. Furthermore, patients with MS had much higher levels of antibodies produced by epsilon toxin, which is found in types B and D of the bacteria. Adding to the evidence, scientists actually found a type B bacterium in one patient suffering from MS. All of this leads to the conclusion that MS patients may develop the disease after being infected with types B or D of the Clostrodium perfrigens bacteria, which may not have been found previously because these types tend to stay dormant for long periods of time.

Currently, scientists are trying to block or destroy these two types of bacteria by creating vaccines based off those used in animals, new drugs, and probiotic treatments that would kill the pathogens using natural bacteria. Much more research is needed on both methods of infection and possible treatments, but this is certainly a big step in the right direction.

Reference: Whiteman, Honor. "Soil-based bacteria discovered in humans 'may trigger MS'." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 21 Oct. 2013. Web.
29 Oct. 2013.

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