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Balo Disease

Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Balo disease is a rare variant of multiple sclerosis expressed in the disruption of the normal functioning of neurons in the human nervous system. This pathology is characterized by a complex course, like most other diseases associated with disruption of the brain and central nervous systems, such as Marburg fever or Devic’s disease. The white matter in the human brain begins to break down, resulting in concentric curls, knots, and rings.

 

Medical evidence shows that young people are mostly affected by this disease. Unlike the usual forms of sclerosis, the pathology is accompanied by an acute form of the course and progresses rapidly.

 

The pathology was discovered and described in 1927 by the Hungarian pathomorphologist Joseph Balo. In one of the patients, Joseph Balo discovered destroyed areas of the brain with white matter that resembled concentric layers and did not damage the axons. First, Joseph Balo gave the disease the name “periaxial leukoencephalitis.” However, in the future, the name “Balo’s concentric sclerosis” or simply “Balo’s disease” was fixed in the scientific and medical literature.

 

Balo Disease Symptoms

symptoms of Balo disease

In the scientific literature, there are registered cases when concentric sclerosis proceeded without any symptoms and was diagnosed only by autopsy.

 

In most cases, patients with this disease describe it as an illness that they got after suffering an acute infection or severe stress. Balo concentric sclerosis develops with a wide range of symptoms, and patients have problems with the brain. Brain abnormalities can manifest in headaches with nausea and epilepsy. In rare cases, asthenia may appear.

 

Symptoms often include signs of damage to the central nervous system and its structures. When examining patients with Balo concentric sclerosis, it turns out that, most often, the symptoms include:

  • destruction of the pyramidal tracts, which is observed in a decrease in muscle strength;
  • loss of sensitivity and in the foot reflexes;
  • there is a disruption in the work of the parts of the brain responsible for coordination, movement control, and maintenance of muscle tone;
  • visual impairment, such as retrobulbar neuritis;
  • loss of half of the vision in both eyes;
  • disorders in speech may occur;
  • it is difficult for patients to recall fragments of the past and correctly select the words necessary for a conversation – it becomes difficult to perceive complex statements.

 

Causes of Balo Disease 

The causes of the onset of pathology, as well as the conditions for its occurrence, have not yet been clarified by scientists and modern medicine. There is an assumption that a hereditary predisposition plays an important role and that the development of the rare disease is multifactorial.

  1. The main medical indications for the onset of the development of Balo’s disease are infectious and viral diseases, such as ARVI, which can serve as the beginning of pathological processes.
  2. Also, in the studies, it was found that neurotropic viruses that can destroy neurons in the human brain play an important role in the onset and development of pathology.
  3. The onset and development of Balo’s disease are significantly different from ordinary sclerosis or other forms of multiple sclerosis. The basis of the course of the rare disease is the processes that destroy white matter. Modern medicine can still not identify which processes in the brain lead to damage to the white matter and the formation of annular regions. Some researchers of this disease argue that the lack of oxygen plays the main role in education – however, how and why this happens is still unknown to scientists.
  4. Studying the shape and structure of the brain of people suffering from this pathology, the researchers noticed that the patients formed ring-shaped damaged areas with preserved nerve fibres.
  5. According to observations, some of the brain cells – oligodendrocytes degrade and eventually die off.

 

Diagnostics, Treatment, and Prognosis of Balo Disease

Diagnostics of Balo disease

 

A wide range of devices and methods of modern medicine are used to diagnose this rare disease: 

  • neurological examination;
  • electroencephalography;
  • study of the patient’s cognitive function;
  • echo-encephalography and REG;
  • consultation with ophthalmologists.

 

A vision test and visual acuity test are ordered to check for abnormalities, but in some patients, vision remains in order. 

  1. When examining a patient’s vision, it is important to identify the presence of image loss. 
  2. With the help of ophthalmoscopy, it is possible to find out how each eye functions and how well it sees, whether there are signs of edema or atrophy of the optic nerves.
  3. The patient’s cerebrospinal fluid is taken into the study, which makes it clear to the doctors if the patient has problems with the work of the brain, and the protein concentration is also checked. 
  4. Symptoms characteristic of classic multiple sclerosis, such as autoimmune processes in the central nervous system, are determined in 10% of cases with Balo’s disease.

 

Modern medicine makes it possible to diagnose rare diseases with the help of advanced operating technology, which is significantly superior to the autopsy diagnostic method, which has been used for a very long time. 

 

The following is true of magnetic resonance imaging:

  • It allows you to accurately diagnose the presence of pathology in any person.
  • MRI reveals the presence of affected brain foci in a person, where a layered structure is present and the foci of the brain alternate with annular zones. In appearance, it resembles tree rings, as if you cut down a tree.
  • Using magnetic resonance imaging, you can accurately determine how much the disease is progressing. PET allows you to establish the number of lesions, and their structure makes it possible to compare analyzes with MRI to establish a more accurate clinical picture.

 

Treatment of Balo disease

Treatment

Treatment for Balo’s disease is similar to that for acute multiple sclerosis:

  1. Glucocorticosteroids are used in the form of pulse therapy with methylprednisolone. 
  2. Some clinicians use a combination of corticosteroids with cytostatics (mitoxantrone). 
  3. For neurometabolic purposes, cytoprotectors, thioctic (alpha-lipoic) acid preparations, vasoactive, antioxidant agents are used. 
  4. According to indications, decongestant therapy is prescribed: magnesium sulfate, mannitol, mannitol, furosemide, etc. In the presence of a convulsive syndrome, anticonvulsants are additionally prescribed (carbamazepine, valproic acid, diazepam).
  5. Plasmapheresis is also possible. 
  6. Depending on the severity of the rare disease, exercise therapy, massage, and plasmapheresis can be prescribed.

 

Prognosis

It is characterized by its rapid course and is a form of multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately, a lethal outcome is possible, which can occur within 1-2 years from the moment of the rapid development of the disease, so timely treatment is necessary. The medical literature describes many cases in which patients became better from intensive care with the use of glucocorticoid drugs.

 

FAQs

  • What type of disease causes headaches, seizures, muscle pain and spasms, paralysis over time, trouble in speaking, and trouble in thinking or understanding others?

Balo disease has all of the above symptoms and also different changes in behavior. Balo’s concentric sclerosis is an acute illness expressed in the disruption of the normal functioning of neurons in the human nervous system. 

  • What should not be done with Balo disease?

You need to give up bad habits; this refers to smoking and alcohol abuse. Do not overheat. Patients with Balo disease should not take hot baths, stay in a stuffy room, or visit the sauna and bathhouse.

  • How can multiple sclerosis be cured?

MS treatment consists of immunomodulation – correcting the functioning of the immune system. Exacerbations are treated with hormonal drugs, and in more severe cases, with plasmapheresis, aimed at removing antibodies from the blood. Prevention of exacerbations is carried out with drugs that change the course of multiple sclerosis – MITRS.

  • How long do people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis live?

The life span of patients has increased: now, people with multiple sclerosis can live up to 72-75 years, whereas before, they died five years after becoming disabled. There is a particularly severe type of disease – primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

  • When is disability given in Balo disease?

With Balo disease, the second group of disabilities is given to patients who require periodic assistance, have a third-degree severity of symptoms of the disease, and when the disease is characterized by a decrease in the quality of life, in some cases by rapid progression in certain forms of the disease.

  • How does multiple sclerosis affect the psyche?

With multiple sclerosis, the nervous system is affected, which creates problems with vision, movement, and thinking. The person experiences periodic seizures, and the disease progresses rapidly. Sometimes the aggressive form comes immediately. The first symptoms appear between the ages of 20 and 40, during the most productive period of life.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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