New reaserch has found that the bacteria Clostridium perfringens may be the cause to MS. Canadian researchers found that out of 119 MS patients
whose cause of death could be determined, 47.1% (or 56 deaths between 1972-1988 ) “were directly attributed to complications of MS.”
Deaths from C. perfringens type A food poisoning are not common but do occur in the elderly and debilitated. Per year this food poisoning is estimated
to kill ∼7 people in the United States and 50 to 100 people in the United Kingdom.
Although not as fatal as other pathogens, this is a less well known bacteria, which causes severe stomach cramps and a mild form of diarrhea that
lasts only about 24 hours.
Clostridium perfringens is commonly found in intestinal tracts of humans and in dirt. It is usually associated with food that has been allowed to stay
warm for several hours. During cooking, which will kill most types of bacteria, Clostridium perfringens turns into another form called a spore. A
spore is like a seed, it stays dormant in the food until conditions are favorable, then like a plant seed it will germinate and grow. The spores of
Clostridium perfringens are very heat resistant and will withstand boiling for several hours.
Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College have pinpointed a toxic byproduct of the bacterium, epsilon toxin. epsilon toxin has the ability to
permeate the blood-brain barrier.
(A) Diagram of a brain capillary in cross section and reconstructed views, showing endothelial tight junctions and the investment of
the capillary by astrocytic end feet. (B) Electron micrograph of boxed area in (A), showing the appearance of tight junctions between neighboring
endothelial cells (arrows)Text
Once inside, it causes meningeal inflammation. Additionally, epsilon toxin also kills cells that produce myelin( the protective sheath that surrounds
neurons and allows them to transmit signals in the brain).
Perhaps new lab tests will be able to detect the toxin, allowing the physicians to start hemodialyasis and focused antibiotics, killing the bacteria
and filtering out the toxin.