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Alzheimer’s protein could help in MS

A-beta might reduce damage to central nervous system

By
2:19pm, August 1, 2012

A much-maligned molecule that is devastating in the brain may have therapeutic potential outside it. The sticky amyloid-beta protein, which piles up in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, actually reverses paralysis in mice with symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

The unexpected finding, published in the Aug. 1 Science Translational Medicine, could mean that A-beta or molecules like it may one day form the basis of a treatment for multiple sclerosis in people.

In MS, rogue immune cells penetrate the brain and spinal cord and attack myelin, a substance that is necessary to keep neural impulses moving at full speed. Damage and inflammation from this attack can leave a person with paralysis, numbness, vision problems and extreme fatigue.

A-beta is found in the brains of people with MS, but scientists do not know precisely what effect it has there, if any. To investigate that question, study coauthor Lawrence Steinman of Stanford Univers

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