Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the nervous system, disrupting messages between the brain and the rest of the body resulting in a range of physical symptoms. Researchers are constantly working to develop more effective treatments, with the hopes that one day they’ll discover a cure. According to the MS Society UK, MS research is moving quickly in a number of different areas.
1. Stem Cell Therapy
Due to stem cells’ ability to self-renew, they have the potential to help MS patients. A greater understanding of the myelin-producing stem cells in the brain could lead the way to treatment promoting myelin repair. MS patients suffer from myelin loss, resulting in exposure of nerve fibres which can lead to some of the disabling symptoms associated with the disease.
Although not the only contributing factor, genetics do play a role in the development of MS. If scientists understand more about the inheritance factors of the disease, they can develop strategies to help prevent people from developing MS or tailor treatments depending on the patient’s genes.
3. Vitamin D
Our bodies need vitamin D to absorb nutrients, particularly calcium which promotes healthy bone growth. MS is more common in countries further from the equator, meaning fewer hours of sunlight and lower levels of vitamin D. Recent research is trying to determine the link between vitamin D and MS, to find out if vitamin D supplements could be used as an effective method of treatment for MS.
4. Myelin Repair
To prevent MS, there needs to be a treatment that can repair the myelin loss MS patients suffer. Myelin is the protective coating around the nerve cells, and without it, the nerve is exposed to damage, exacerbating the progress of the disease. There are a number of myelin research projects underway to help develop a treatment that could stop the progression of MS.
The latest research has indicated that protecting nerve cells from damage could be a potential strategy to prevent or slow down the progression of MS. The idea would be to develop drugs to protect nerve cells from damage which could slow down or ultimately stop the progression of MS. Experts are currently researching a number of potential treatments which could be used as MS therapies in the future.
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