Thursday Jul 07, 2022
A rare group of disorders called “stiff person syndrome” may be cured by exchanging plasma in the blood, a new study finds.
The disorder is caused by rigid muscles and spasms caused by triggers such as sound, touch and mental distress. However, therapeutic plasma exchange eased many patients’ symptoms and allowed them to move more freely.
“Stiff person syndrome spectrum disorders are rare, and while there are some treatments for varying forms of these disorders, they are not always effective at reducing symptoms or preventing worsening of function,” said study author Dr Scott Newsome, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins University, in a media release.
To conduct the study, scientists treated 36 people with stiff person syndrome through plasma exchange. The treatment includes cleaning the blood by replacing plasma with albumin, made from donated plasma.
Scientists found that plasma exchange was safe with four people experiencing infection or bleeding, but no reported deaths or serious adverse reactions.
Overall, 56% experienced health improvement with nearly seven in 10 with temporarily improved health.
“Further studies could confirm these results and help inform doctors when to use this treatment for stiff person syndrome spectrum disorders,” Dr Newsome said.