Fatigue, though probably the most prevalent symptom of multiple sclerosis, is still a bit of a mystery to researchers and scientists. I know I have blind spots because I have lesions in my optic nerves, but there is no lesion in the MRI that the neurologist can point out and say, “This lesion here is the reason why you’re so always so tired.”
I’ve seen fatigue described in many ways and I’ve read different explanations for it. One of them has to do with inflammation. We know inflammatory processes in the body cause fatigue because they mobilize your defenses in order to stop them. Another explanation has to do with the lesions themselves. Every time there’s a message to carry and the road is blocked, your nerve cells find a way to go around it, taking a detour. That obviously uses up more energy and resources.
Now a recent study suggests that fatigue in multiple sclerosis may be connected to a specific region in the brain. Much like a stable person can suddenly develop mood disorders if they have lesions in brain regions that regulate mood, these findings hint that “Damage to strategic brain white matter and grey matter regions, in terms of microstructural abnormalities and atrophy, contributes to pathogenesis of fatigue in MS, whereas global lesional, white matter, and grey matter damage does not seem to have a role.”
If this turns out to be right, maybe, just maybe, we can hope that more studies will follow and we get more effective treatments? Pretty please?