Balo disease

Balo's concentric sclerosis, Encephalitis periaxialis concentrica, Leukoencephalitis periaxialis concentrica

Overview

Type of disease: Rare conditions

Balo’s concentric sclerosis also known as, Balo disease, is a rare and progressive (worsening) variation of multiple sclerosis (see also: Multiple sclerosis.). It is considered a demyelinating disease. Myelin is the protective covering or insulation over the nerves in the brain and brain stem. In demyelinating disease, the myelin becomes damaged. This damage impacts the way the nerves in the body send and receive signals. The damage in Balo disease mainly affects sensation, movement and cognition (mental abilities). It usually presents itself in adulthood, however rare childhood cases have been reported. In contrast to multiple sclerosis, which tends to follow an intermittent course (a period of symptoms followed by a period of no symptoms), Balo disease usually follows a more rapidly progressive course. Depending upon the part of the brain that is damaged, symptoms will vary. Symptoms may include headaches, seizures, partial paralysis (loss of muscle function), decreased mental strength (cognitive decline), and muscle spasms. Symptoms may progress rapidly over a few weeks or more slowly over two to three years.

The cause of Balo disease is not known, but it is possibly a result of autoimmune factors that are essential in development. Autoimmune diseases occur when your body mistakes its own healthy tissues as foreign (not its own) and starts attacking it. Balo disease is diagnosed by looking for specific findings on brain MRI. It is more common in the Asian and Philippine populations and affects men and women equally. Today, there is no cure for Balo disease nor is there specific treatment. Symptoms are handled on a case by case basis. It is important to talk with your doctor or specialist in order to best manage the disease. Many multiple sclerosis support groups welcome patients with Balo disease.

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