London: A simple blood test may help detect signs of multiple sclerosis, a disease of the brain and spinal cord, according to a study.
The discovery by researchers from the University of Huddersfield in the UK, using advanced mass spectrometry techniques, offers a diagnostic tool that enables the detection of multiple sclerosis (MS) to be made simply using blood samples.
The current procedure for detection MS requires the invasive, often painful, process of collecting fluid from the brain and spine.
The research, published in the journal Analytical Methods, has identified two natural biomarker compounds, which have been linked to multiple sclerosis.
The compounds, sphingosine and dihydrosphingosine, were found to be at significantly lower concentrations in blood samples from multiple sclerosis patients.
As well as offering a diagnostic tool to identify MS, the discovery will aid the investigation of the role of the compounds in the disease and assist potential new drug development, according to the study.
"Sphingosine and dihydrosphingosine have been previously found to be at lower concentrations in the brain tissue of patients with multiple sclerosis," said Sean Ward, from the University of Huddersfield.
"The detection of these sphingolipids in blood plasma allows the non-invasive monitoring of these and related compounds," Ward said.