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MS 'linked' to activity in the brain, suggests study

By Mark McLaughlin

Published 07/04/2015

Increased brain function could stimulate a chemical that protects nerve fibres from multiple sclerosis (MS), a study suggests. Picture posed
Increased brain function could stimulate a chemical that protects nerve fibres from multiple sclerosis (MS), a study suggests. Picture posed

Increased brain function could stimulate a chemical that protects nerve fibres from multiple sclerosis (MS), a study suggests.

Researchers at Edinburgh University treated zebrafish with drugs which produced a similar reaction to touch or proximity to a predator, leading to increased brain function and production of a protective coating called myelin.

But it is still too early to say whether increased brain function leads to more myelin production in humans, according to researchers.

Other studies have shown that activities such as learning the piano, juggling or doing puzzles stimulates brain growth, Edinburgh University researcher Dr Sigrid Mensch said.

"At the moment we are just looking at brain activity, which is a very complex system, so we couldn't predict that doing crosswords would eventually lead to more myelin," she said.

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."

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