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Medical News & Perspectives |

Scientists Probe Strategies to Repair Neuron Damage in Multiple Sclerosis

Bridget M. Kuehn
JAMA. 2011;305(9):871-874. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.208.
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Scientists working collaboratively around the world say they are coming closer to developing therapies that may help restore neurologic function in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). However, they caution that such therapies are only beginning to enter early clinical trials and may be years from the clinic.

Most existing therapies for MS aim to tamp down aberrant immune function and are especially helpful for some phases of the disease, although patients may still progress to a chronic, more progressive stage of illness. In addition, some newer therapies aim to reduce specific symptoms of the disorder. For example, the US Food and Drug Administration recently approved dextromethorphan hydrobromide and quinidine sulfate to treat pseudobulbar affect, a condition marked by uncontrolled emotional outbursts that may develop in patients with MS or certain other neurologic disorders.

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Demyelination of axons contributes to neurodegeneration in patients with multiple sclerosis. Scientists are probing therapies that might restore neurons to healthy myelination.

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