Most cases of Multiple Sclerosis involve steady disease progression that can be controlled with treatment and a near-normal lifespan. However, in the case of Marburg Multiple Sclerosis, disease progression is rapid and often leads to significant disability levels within a short period of time. It was defined by Austrian neurologist Otto Marburg in 1906 and is an acute fulminating demyelination process that causes severe disability within months or even weeks.
This blog is a comprehensive guide on Marburg Multiple Sclerosis, its distinct characteristics, symptoms, as well as available treatment options.
Understanding Marburg Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory condition of the central nervous system. It is an autoimmune demyelinating disease, which means the immune system mistakenly attacks normal tissues — in this case, the myelin or protective covering around nerve fibers. This leaves scarred tissues or lesions in multiple areas, disrupting electrical impulses throughout the body. When the myelin sheath is damaged, nerve impulses slow down or even stop, causing neurological problems.
Marburg MS is a type of malignant MS, in which disease progression is much faster than normal. These cases only affect about 5% of patients, but can have lethal outcomes. It has the following distinct features:
Symptoms appear suddenly and progress rapidly, distinguishing Marburg Type MS from more indolent forms of multiple sclerosis.
Imaging studies often reveal widespread demyelination affecting large areas of the brain and spinal cord.
Marburg MS Symptoms
Marburg MS occurs mostly in young adults. For the most part, Marburg MS involves the same MS symptoms as usual, only presenting much faster and more severely. This is because the demyelination occurs much more aggressively and causes marked tissue destruction and even necrosis.
Understanding the specific symptoms associated with Marburg MS is crucial for early detection and intervention. The hallmark symptoms include:
- Difficulty speaking
- Visual disturbances, including blindness
- Severe headaches
Over a period of time, patients may report a spike in symptoms like:
- Weakness in the extremities
- Impaired balance and coordination
- Bladder / bowel problems
- Sexual dysfunction
- Cognitive decline
As the brainstem becomes affected or there is mass effect with herniation, patients may experience severe relapses with symptoms like:
- Confused state
- Unsteady gait
Marburg MS Diagnosis
Marburg MS can only manifest in patients who already have an MS diagnosis. There is no specific test for it, and doctors will typically conduct tests to eliminate other possibilities. Key components of the diagnostic process include:
A comprehensive assessment of neurological function helps identify specific deficits and their severity.
MRI and/or CT Scan
Magnetic Resonance Imaging or Computed Tomography Scan can help visualize demyelination in the brain and spinal cord.
Examination of the cerebrospinal fluid can reveal abnormalities that may be indicative of an inflammation in the central nervous system.
All of the above can help detect demyelination, central nervous system lesions, or white matter abnormalities. Marburg MS may sometimes appear as a brain tumor on scans, which is why doctors may conduct more tests and take longer to give a definitive diagnosis.
Marburg MS Life Expectancy
In most cases, Marburg MS shortens the lifespan considerably. Those who survive longer will usually demonstrate the relapsing-remitting form of Multiple Sclerosis.
Given the aggressive nature of Marburg MS, life expectancy is a significant concern for patients and their families. The rapid deterioration of neurological function can lead to severe disability and complications. Other factors that contribute to life expectancy include:
- Extent of neurological involvement at the onset
- Response to treatment
- Secondary complications, such as infections or respiratory issues
Marburg MS Treatment
Earlier, the aggressive disease progression meant that most patients succumbed within one or two years of disease onset. Modern medication, however, can help some patients reach stability in around three years. At Plexus, we believe early intervention is essential, and with a combination of immunosuppressive therapies and supportive care, patients with Marburg MS can benefit a great deal.
We offer a customized rehabilitation program consisting of stem cell therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, ADL training, cognitive retraining, fall prevention training, and more.
Injected mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can transform into cells that make up the immune system and aid in managing Marburg MS. Below are some of the key features of MSCs that make them the most effective form of treatment for Marburg MS:
- They secrete anti-inflammatory molecules that can potentially reduce inflammation in the affected tissues.
- They are known to modulate the immune system by suppressing the activity of hyperactive immune cells and promoting regulatory T-cell function.
- They can repair or regenerate damaged tissues, and contribute to the repair of myelin and nerve fibers, potentially slowing down the progression of Marburg MS.
Marburg Multiple Sclerosis can be a tough diagnosis to receive, but modern treatment methods can assure patients of a much longer lifespan than before. Getting an early diagnosis is critical and can make or break the patient’s prognosis. It is vital that loved ones support the patient as much as possible through this journey and engage them in meaningful activities that make for a functioning, enjoyable lifestyle.
To know more about our MS rehabilitation program, reach out to our team today.
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Can MS be stopped if caught early?
Yes, MS is an autoimmune disorder. Many studies have shown that early diagnosis and treatment can stop the development of new lesions and stop disease progression
Is Marburg disease curable?
Treatment for Marburg MS focuses on managing symptoms, slowing progression, and improving quality of life.
What is the most aggressive form of multiple sclerosis?
Marburg Multiple Sclerosis, also known as Marburg variant or acute MS, is one of the most aggressive forms of multiple sclerosis. It is typically characterized by rapid progression, and extensive demyelination.
Can you reverse MS damage?
Stem cells, specifically mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have the ability to differentiate into various cell types, including bone, cartilage, and fat cells. This helps in rebuilding the immune system, and eliminates the autoreactive immune cells responsible for attacking the body’s own tissues. In this way, stem cells have the potential to reverse MS damage.