New research published in the journal EBio-Medicine has linked body mass index to the progression of multiple sclerosis.
The longitudinal investigation, conducted by researchers at the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York’s Neuroscience Initiative in collaboration with clinicians at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, followed recently diagnosed MS patients for two years.
The researchers found that those who were overweight or obese had higher levels of blood lipids called ceramides, which placed markers on the DNA of monocytes, making them proliferate. Monocytes are blood cells that can travel to the brain and damage nerve fibres, and two years into their diagnosis, study participants with higher levels of ceramides and monocytes also had greater loss of motor skills and more injury to the brain.
The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Patients (aged between 18 and 60 years old) were evaluated using brain MRIs.
High-BMI MS patients showed worsening disability and more brain lesions at the MRI compared to their normal BMI counterparts.