With the help of the Ian Ballard Travel Award, Dr Todd Hardy, a neurologist from the Brain and Mind Centre in Sydney, will be travelling to the USA to study Balo’s disease.
Balo’s disease is considered by many neurologists to be a rare variant of MS. In this disease, the immune system damages myelin in the central nervous system, as it does in MS. However, unlike in MS, in Balo’s disease the myelin is lost in distinct circles, which alternate with circles of undamaged tissue, creating an image on an MRI much like a target.
Dr Hardy will collaborate with Dr Oliver Tobin from the world-renowned medical and research centre, the Mayo Clinic, in Minesota, USA, for two weeks in June. During this time he will work with Dr Tobin to gather data on cases of Balo’s disease using the world’s largest cohort of Balo patients based at the Mayo clinic. He aims to develop a better picture of the characteristics of this disease in comparison with typical MS.
He will collect clinical information such as age, sex, symptoms, number of attacks, and data on the pathology observed in the brains of people with this condition. The pathological data will include MRI scans, lumbar puncture results, and PET images.
Dr Hardy will then compare this information with data from people with MS whose data is contained within the same database at the Mayo Clinic. He is particularly interested in the age attacks began, the attack severity, and the long term disability outcomes for people with Balo’s disease compared to MS. He will also determine what proportion of people with Balo’s disease go on to develop more typical MS.
Updated: 10 January 2018
Updated: 01 January, 2018