The effects of procedures believed to produce a decrease in serum ionized calcium were tested on visual and oculomotor function in nine multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Transient improvement in scotomas, nystagmus, and oculomotor paresis occurred with intravenous infusions of NaHCO3 or Na2EDTA. Hyperventilation was also tested for its effect on nystagmus and caused marked decreases in frequency. Control experiments with saline infusions did not produce any effect. The probable mechanism and site of action for these effects is discussed. This study demonstrates that certain signs and symptoms in MS can be altered favourably by changes in the internal chemical environment and offers a new approach to the search for a symptomatic therapy in MS.
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