2015Chronic diseaseDemyelinatingInspirationalMedical researchMultiple SclerosisTreatmentTrial

Repairing the damaged brain: Hope for MS backed up by science

Many of us know someone with Alzheimer’s Disease, or Parkinson’s Disease, or Multiple Sclerosis (if you’re reading this, chances are you have or know someone who has the only one commonly referred to by its initials: MS). They are all autoimmune diseases with potentially devastating consequences.

When it comes to these diseases it is hard to find positive news. Much of the coverage focuses on how to stay positive in the face of bad news. The coverage of actual good news is severely lacking.

This puts me in an awkward position: I want to feel bad about bad news, and I want to feel good about good news. I also want hope. But not just any old hope, I want hope backed by science.

This TED Talk by Dr Siddharthan Chandran (the MacDonald Professor of Neurology at Edinburgh University) is exactly what I was hoping to find – positive news backed up by science, not platitudes about gratitude and acceptance.

Can The Damaged Brain Repair Itself?’ is a brilliant introduction to regenerative neurology and stem cell research for MS, along with other neurological diseases.

I recommend you watch the entire 16 minutes, but if you are only interested in the good news for MS, go straight to the 13 minute mark. Chandran discusses a successful preliminary trial that used an individual’s own stem cells to regenerate the myelin destroyed by MS.

This gives me hope… Real hope. It also increases my desire to find an experimental stem cell medical trial to join.

And yes, I am aware of the warnings regarding stem cell research and potential MS outcomes. But that does not discount a reasonable amount of hope.

Exciting times, people.

Thanks to TED for the video.