Dr. Robert Zivadinov and Dr. Ralph Benedict present findings about the important role of the Thalamus in MS

Multiple Sclerosis research: The thalamus moves into the spotlight; Atrophy of the thalamus is an important predictor of clinically definite MS, study shows

By: Ellen Goldbaum

BUFFALO, N.Y. – A growing body of research by multiple sclerosis (MS) investigators at the University at Buffalo and international partners is providing powerful new evidence that the brain’s gray matter reflects important changes in the disease that could allow clinicians to diagnose earlier and to better monitor and predict how the disease will progress.

Over the past three years, the UB researchers and their partners around the world, supported by an active fellowship program at UB’s Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC), have published journal papers and given presentations demonstrating that the thalamus region, in particular, is key to a host of issues involving MS.

“The thalamus is providing us with a new window on MS,” says Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, UB professor of neurology, BNAC director and leader of the research team. “In our recent studies, we have used large datasets to investigate the evolution of atrophy of the thalamus and its association with clinical impairment in MS, starting with the earliest stages of the disease. The location of the thalamus in the brain, its unique function and its vulnerability to changes wrought by the disease make the thalamus a critical barometer of the damage that MS causes to the brain.”

Zivadinov and UB professor of neurology Ralph Benedict discuss the new research in a video at (http://youtu.be/QhsaHeBjZrA).

At the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology today, Zivadinov will discuss a study he performed in collaboration with colleagues from Charles University in Prague. The study found that atrophy of the thalamus, determined with MRI, can help identify which patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), a patient’s first episode of MS, are at risk for developing clinically definite MS. Such a tool would be immensely helpful to clinicians, Zivadinov notes.


Sen. Grisanti and UB researchers to advocate state funding for Multiple Sclerosis research

Media Advisory: State Sen. Grisanti and UB researchers advocate state funding for NYS Multiple Sclerosis Registry and Consortium





BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York State Senator Mark Grisanti will join multiple sclerosis researchers at the University at Buffalo and patients to advocate for funding by New York State to maintain and expand the New York State MS Registry and the New York State MS Consortium, directed by Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, UB professor of neurology.

When: 1 p.m., March 15, 2013

Where: UB’s Clinical and Translational Science Center, 5 floor, above the Gates Vascular Institute, 875 Ellicott Street, Buffalo

Why: MS Awareness Week runs from March 11 to 17. The incidence of MS in Western New York is twice the national average. The disease costs New York State between $1.5 and $2.3 billion each year.  Support for the registry and consortium of 15 MS centers across the state will facilitate NYS research on MS, boost physician knowledge about the disease and improve the quality of life for the 30,000 New York State residents with MS.


Speakers will include:

· State Sen. Mark Grisanti, a member of the MS Legislative Alliance for the New York State Senate, and whose family has been affected by MS

· Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, UB professor of neurology in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and director of the NYS MS Registry

· Murali Ramanathan, PhD, UB professor of pharmaceutical sciences in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and MS researcher

· An MS patient

Press arrangements: Ellen Goldbaum of UB University Communications at 645-4605 and 771-9255 onsite.