According to a story from Neurology Advisor, a recent study has found that patients living with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) are at an increased risk of experiencing bone loss, making it more likely for them to experience breakage. The study found that this was true for patients in which the AQP4 antibodies were present. The study compared these patients with healthy controls and a group of multiple sclerosis patients.
About Neuromyelitis Optica
Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD) is a term meant to include both neuromyelitis optica patients and those that lack the APQ4 auto antibody but still present similarly otherwise. This disorder is also known as Devic’s disease. It is characterized by inflammation of the optic nerve and spinal cord along with destruction of the myelin sheath, an insulating, protective layer surrounding nerve cells. It is considered an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly begins attacking parts of the body. It is frequently associated with other diseases, such as viral infection and antiMOG associated encephalomyelitis, the latter of which can be a direct cause in some cases. Symptoms include blindness, urinary incontinence, spastic paralysis of the legs and arms, reduced sensation, and overall muscle weakness. Symptoms can be treated, but many patients are left with a degree of impairment. To learn more about neuromyelitis optica, click here.
About The Study
The study involved 71 neuromyelitis optica patients, 213 healthy control participants, and 41 patients with multiple sclerosis. The researchers found that neuromyelitis optica patients with AQP4 antibodies had reduced bone mineral density and a risk of fracture that was five times greater. They also had a prevalence of breakages that was similar to the multiple sclerosis group.
Reduced bone mineral density was mostly attributed to the use of steroid treatments; however, the risk of breakage for neuromyelitis optica patients was most attributed to a history of falling events caused by muscle weakness.
There were some limitations to the study and it is clear that more extensive research will be necessary in order to fully understand that relationship between the disease and bone weakness. Check out the original study, published in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, here.