The antioxidant known as lipoic acid could help slow down the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, according to a new study. This lipoic acid could lessen the whole brain atrophy in patients with secondary multiple sclerosis (SPMS) compared to a placebo.
The findings of the study were printed in the journal Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation. The work was led by Dr. Rebecca Spain of the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine in Portland and other colleagues.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition in which the myelin, the protective covering of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, is damaged. This resulted in symptoms such as physical, mental and even psychiatric problems. Other symptoms are blindness in one eye, double vision, muscle weakness and trouble with coordination and sensation. It is reported that more than 2.3 million people all around the globe have been affected by this progressive neurological condition. Currently, there is no cure for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. On the other hand, there are therapies that could slow down the progression.
In the new study, the scientists have found that taking a high dose of lipoic acid each day for two years could reduce the whole brain atrophy of those diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis compared to a placebo. The whole brain atrophy is the lessening in total brain volume because of loss of neurons that could lead to MS progression.
The study involved 51 adults aged between 40 and 70 years, who are diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. About 27 of them received 1,200 milligrams of lipoic acid every day for two years. Meanwhile, the remaining 24 received a placebo. The researchers also examined their brain volume using the MRI and is conducted each year.
The results showed that those who took lipoic acid had 68 percent reduction in the rate of whole brain atrophy compared to those who took the placebo. They also discovered that those who took lipoic acid experienced fewer falls and better walking times.
Currently, the researchers are planning to conduct more trials in many patients. This is before they will recommend the antioxidant as the safe and effective treatment for multiple sclerosis, according to Medical News Today.