From Science Daily:

The loss of brain tissue, called brain atrophy, is a normal part of aging, but multiple sclerosis (MS) accelerates the process. Such atrophy is a critical indicator of physical and cognitive decline in MS, yet because measuring brain atrophy is expensive and complicated, it’s done primarily in research settings.

That may be changing. Starting next month, University at Buffalo researchers will be testing in the U.S., Europe, Australia and Latin America a new software tool they developed that could make assessing brain atrophy part of the clinical routine for MS patients. The research is funded by Novartis, as part of its commitment to advance the care for people with MS with effective treatments and tools for assessment of disease activity.

According to the UB researchers, being able to routinely measure how much brain atrophy has occurred would help physicians better predict how a patient’s disease will progress. It could also provide physicians with more information about how well MS treatments are working in individual patients. These and other benefits were outlined in a recent review study the researchers published in Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics.

“Measuring brain atrophy on an annual basis will allow clinicians to identify which of their patients is at highest risk for physical and cognitive decline,” said Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, professor of neurology and director of the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB. Over the past 10 years, he and his colleagues at UB, among the world’s…

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