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More than 400,000 Americans are living with multiple sclerosis. Now, new discoveries could help scientists come up with better treatments for the disease, and even help prevent its onset.
It’s good news for MS patients like Susan Dobroff, who always pictured herself as an outdoors woman. Not even multiple sclerosis could dampen her active lifestyle. Two years after being diagnosed, she started law school.
"I realized, you've been thinking about going to law school for a long time, so got to do it sooner rather than later," she said.
However, 10 years after her diagnosis, Susan began to lose her ability to walk. Eventually, her legal career came to a grinding halt too.
"Lawyers don't need to walk and run in order to practice law, but we do have to think," she said.
Now, Japanese Macaques could hold the key to helping people like Susan. Scientists at the Oregon National Primate Center have discovered a new herpes virus in monkeys that causes an MS-like disease in Macaques.
Brain lesions are a classic indicator of inflammation in people with MS. The discovery could help scientists solve how the disease develops and its onset.
From monkeys to medicine, a new drug called Ocrelizumab is also showing promise in treating MS. In preliminary studies, the antibody drug reduced the amount of brain lesions in patients—findings that could one day help people like Susan stay active.
An active ingredient also found in saffron, called crocin, could also help MS patients.
Researchers at the University of Alberta studied the ingredient and found it could help protect brain cells from being damaged.