MS affects the part of the brain that is involved in memory called the hippocampus; when this part of the brain is affected it is associated with memory impairment. In this post-mortem study, the researchers studied the hippocampus in people with MS and Alzheimer’s disease and compared these to control subjects. They detected substantial alterations in the systems the brain uses to activate the programs that control memory; this system is called the cholinergic neurotransmitter system. The system was affected in both MS and Alzheimer’s disease, but differed from each other. These findings reveal an MS-specific imbalance of the cholinergic system in the hippocampus.
Kooi et al. Cholinergic imbalance in the multiple sclerosis hippocampus. Acta Neuropathol. 2011 Jun 21. [Epub ahead of print]
“These findings are very important and will be helpful in designing treatment options for MS-related memory impairment in the future. Unfortunately, to date we do not have a drug that treats this symptom in MS and the Alzheimer’s drugs have failed in recent trials after showing promise in earlier studies.”
“Memory impairment is another one of the massive unmet needs in MS. Does it affect you?”
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