Overview Of Balo’s Disease
Balo’s disease is a chronic condition. It is a demyelinating disorder. Balo’s is considered a rare multiple sclerosis variant. It most often presents in adulthood, but childhood cases do occur. Women are generally more susceptible than men. Those people having East Asian ancestry are also more susceptible. Southern Han Chinese, Taiwanese, and Filipinos are the populations most at risk.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that often waxes and wanes, However, Balo’s disease is often rapidly progressive. It is considered an MS variant because symptoms are similar, as are the brain tissue lesions caused by each. Furthermore, some people with Balo’s lesions develop multiple sclerosis.
Balo’s disease is also known as concentric sclerosis, leukoencephalitis periaxialis concentrica, and encephalitis periaxialis concentrica. Intact myelin bands, alternating with demyelination (myelin loss) characterise this disease and give it the ‘concentric’ and ‘concentrica’ in the name. These lesions may appear anywhere in the brain or brain stem. Myelin is the sheathing that surrounds and protects nerve fibers. Multiple sclerosis alone doesn’t present with the concentric rings.
Causes Of Balo’s Disease
The cause behind Balo’s is unknown. However, some studies suggest an autoimmune issue may trigger its development. In autoimmune disorders, the body sees otherwise healthy tissue as invading organisms and attacks it. This causes inflammation and swelling. Some patients do recover, whether or not they have had treatment. The reasons why are as yet unknown.
Symptoms depend on the area of the brain affected, but there are some that are common across cases. These include gradual paralysis, seizures, persistent headaches, myoclonus (involuntary muscle spasms), and cognitive impairment. This disease can progress swiftly, over a few weeks, or more slowly over a few years.
Treatment Of Balo’s Disease
There is no cure as yet. Corticosteroids can help with inflammation. Medication, occupational therapy, and physical therapy offer some relief. These are most helpful in managing impaired coordination (ataxia), muscle weakness, and spasticity. Counseling therapy, and meditation can help patients learn to cope mentally. Integrative medicine techniques can also help manage symptoms. Some of these include reki, acupuncture, and acupressure.