Increasing neuronal activity in the brain could benefit patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurologic conditions via increased myelin productions, according to a new study published in Nature Neuroscience.

Damage to myelin around axons in the brain has been linked to neurologic conditions such as MS, but previously it was unknown how brain activity controlled production of myelin via specialist cells. For this research, scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Neuroregeneration looked at the role of changes in the activity of neurons and production of myelin in zebrafish. They discovered that decreased brain function lowered the amount of myelin produced; production was increased by about 40% when the neuronal activity was increased.

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While these results have not been replicated in studies with human subjects, increasing the activity of neurons to stimulate myelin production could one day lead to new treatments to benefit patients with MS. More research is necessary to further explore brain control function controls the complex processes by which axons are coated with myelin.

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