Body suit helps MS patients

July 24, 2008 3:29:18 PM PDT
The extreme heat can be uncomfortable for everyone, but especially for people with multiple sclerosis. Research is underway to help M-S patients hopefully find relief. in the future.

Malia Litman suits up in this spandex jacket, to find out more about multiple sclerosis.

She's been living with MS for the past ten years, and every summer, she'd rather hibernate than go outside.

She says, "If I'm outside for I would say 10 minutes even, I feel really bad, I'll get more fatigued, more sick to my stomach."

The jacket she's wearing has hundreds of tubes with water circulating through them to gradually heat up the body.

It is helping researchers study the link between body temperature and the severity of M-S symptoms - specifically how heat can affect vision.

Dr. Scott Davis, of the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center, says. "You can have losses in your vision where you're actually, your vision will close in on you, you'll have dark spaces around it."

The device on Malia's head will track her eye movements as she tries to follow blinking lights.

The researchers have found patients can't follow the lights as well when their body temperature goes up. Once Malia's body cooled, her vision improved.

Doctors hope to use this research to find therapies to help Malia and thousands of other M-S patients, beat the heat.