Although research seems slow and often remote from the every day experiences of those who have MS and those close to them, real progress is being made. There are no “quick fixes” and many press headlines exaggerate or misinterpret research findings. Never the less there are many current world class researchers producing exciting developments in the understanding and treatment of MS. We wish to accelerate progress and make sure that no new promising idea remains unexplored.
We also know that research alone is not enough and the timely delivery of new treatments can be difficult especially in tough financial times. We are determined to try and ensure that those who have MS can benefit from all important developments as rapidly as possible
Your help-not just with fundraising but by offering our skills and experience of MS is vital.
Most people are now familiar with standard MRI scans showing brain structures. Functional MRI (fMRI) takes this a step further and can show how the brain is working. When people are asked to do a simple mental task while in the scanner, the images produced (example shown above) tell researchers which parts of the brain have been active while performing the task. There are important differences between the brain activity patterns in control subjects and those who have MS. By studying these differences we can start to work out what functional changes occur in the brain and how to change or reverse them. Brain scanning studies will help us to understand more about MS and some of the symptoms that people experience such as fatigue and forgetfulness. It will also help us to understand more about where and how MS brain damage occurs.
Stem cell studies in MS
Stem cell studies in MS have had a very prominent press recently and MS Research believes that this is a field of research that can offer some real progress in the fight against MS. There are many possible approaches to using stem cells. Some studies aim to restore damaged myelin. Myelin damage stops nerves from functioning normally and is characteristic of early MS damage. Other approaches may enable better protection from damage and improved healing within the nervous system, and even further down the line it may ultimately be possible to rescue or replace damaged nerve cells using stem cell technologies. We recognise that exploring the possible use of the various stem cell technologies in MS is at a very early stage and do not expect any sudden breakthrough moments yet –although in research nothing should be ruled out! MS Research will help to support important studies in stem cell research to make sure we get the answers we need as quickly as possible.