Myelin is the protective coating surround nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord. Cells that produce myelin are called oligodendrocytes. The loss of these myelin producing cells is linked to the increasing disability and cognitive dysfunction (thinking and memory problems, often called ‘brain fog’) that people with MS can experience over time.
Recent evidence has shown that learning a complex repetitive physical movement increases the number of oligodendrocytes in the brain. This has led to the hypothesis that other tasks may also affect the numbers of these types of cells.
With the help of this Incubator Grant, Dr Cullen will use a laboratory model to test if performing memory tasks increases oligodendrocytes in the brain. She will then determine if increasing the numbers of these cells increases the production of myelin around nerve cells in the brain.
The results from this study may be used to develop an effective cognitive training program for people with MS which may help relieve “brain fog” and promote MS lesion repair.
Updated: 10 January 2018
Updated: 02 January, 2018