Harvard investigators report that people exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes infectious mononucleosis, were two times as likely to develop MS up to twenty years later.
Stanford University researchers are looking into the role of osteopontin, a protein that is a suspected link to repeated relapses and progression. What's more, the NMSS is bringing researchers together regularly to swap information and move the research as quickly as possible to the patient. November 2006 was the first meeting of fifty members of the four "Nervous System Repair" teams who have a commitment of over $15 million from the NMSS. Here is a roundup from some of their reports:
Drs. Susumu Mori, Seth Smith, and Daniel Reich reported on new MRI software on stronger MRI magnets to create pictures of fiber tract pathways in MS patients' brains and spinal cords. "These pictures may allow us to better image lesions (damaged areas) and discriminate damage to the axon from damage to myelin, rather than just seeing the inflammation."
At Johns Hopkins, Drs. Peter Calabresi and Avindra Nath determined that proteins released by immune T cells not only cause damage to nerve cells, but they inhibit nerve precursor cells that are trying to repair the brain. "By understanding which of these proteins is most important we may be able to better dampen the bad inflammation and allow natural reparative processes to occur more efficiently."