Nav: Home

Multiple sclerosis patients could benefit from brain boost study

April 06, 2015

Multiple sclerosis patients could one day benefit from treatments that boost their brain function, a study suggests.

Increasing the activity of neurons could be beneficial in people with the disease, researchers say. It could stimulate the production of a substance that protects nerve fibres.

The finding could pave the way for new treatments, researchers say. Multiple sclerosis affects the brain and spinal cord and can cause problems with balance, movement and vision.

Information in the brain is transmitted along nerve fibres known as axons. A material - called myelin - forms a layer around axons, which keeps them healthy and helps speed up the transfer of information.

Damage to myelin contributes to diseases of the brain such as multiple sclerosis.

Until now, it was not known how brain activity controls production of myelin by specialist cells, researchers say.

Researchers examined how changes in the activity of neurons affects how much myelin is produced in the brains of zebrafish. Decreased brain function reduced the amount of myelin made, while production was increased by around 40 per cent when the neuronal activity of fish was increased, the team says.

Before they can develop new therapies, the team says it needs to learn more about how brain function controls the complex processes by which axons are coated with myelin.

The study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, was funded by The Wellcome Trust, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, and the Lister Research Prize.

Dr David Lyons, of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Neuroregeneration, who led the study, said: "We have a long way to go before we fully understand how our brain activity regulates myelin production, but the fact that this is even something that the brain can do is a good news story. We are hopeful that one day in the future we may be able to translate this type of discovery to help treat disease and to maintain a healthy nervous system through life."

Dr Emma Gray, Head of Biomedical Research at the MS Society, said: "The more we learn about how myelin production happens in the brain, the more chance we have of developing effective and targeted therapies to repair myelin in people with MS."
-end-


University of Edinburgh

Related Multiple Sclerosis Articles:

New biomarkers of multiple sclerosis pathogenesis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic debilitating inflammatory disease targeting the brain.
Using telemedicine to treat multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) clinicians face continued challenges in optimizing neurological care, especially for people with advanced MS living in medically underserved communities.
Improving symptom tracking in multiple sclerosis
With a recent two-year, $833,000 grant from the US Department of Defense, kinesiology professor Richard van Emmerik and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst hope to eventually help an estimated 1 million people worldwide living with progressive multiple sclerosis by creating an improved diagnostic test for this form of the disease, which is characterized by a steady decrease in nervous system function.
An antibody-based drug for multiple sclerosis
Inserm Unit U919, directed by Professor Denis Vivien has developed an antibody with potential therapeutic effects against multiple sclerosis.
Four new risk genes associated with multiple sclerosis discovered
Scientists of the Technical University of Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry have identified four new risk genes that are altered in German patients with multiple sclerosis.
PET detects neuroinflammation in multiple sclerosis
The triggers of autoimmune inflammation in multiple sclerosis (MS) have eluded scientists for many years, but molecular imaging is bringing researchers closer to identifying them, while providing a means of evaluating next-generation therapies for MS, say researchers introducing a study at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.
Scientists find genetic cause of multiple sclerosis
Researchers have discovered a rare genetic mutation that makes it probable that a person will develop multiple sclerosis (MS).
ANKRD55: A new gene involved in Multiple Sclerosis is discovered
The Ikerbasque researcher Koen Vandenbroeck, who heads the Neurogenomiks laboratory which reports to the Achucarro centre and the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, together with other national and international groups, has shown that a genetic variant in the 5q11 chromosome, which is associated with susceptibility to developing multiple sclerosis, greatly regulates a gene known as ANKRD55.
Children with and without multiple sclerosis have differences in gut bacteria
In a recent study, children with multiple sclerosis had differences in the abundance of specific gut bacteria than children without the disease.
Rituximab is superior to fingolimod for certain patients with multiple sclerosis
A new study indicates that rituximab is more effective than fingolimod for preventing relapses in patients with highly active multiple sclerosis switching from treatment with natalizumab.

Related Multiple Sclerosis Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Moving Forward
When the life you've built slips out of your grasp, you're often told it's best to move on. But is that true? Instead of forgetting the past, TED speakers describe how we can move forward with it. Guests include writers Nora McInerny and Suleika Jaouad, and human rights advocate Lindy Lou Isonhood.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...