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Old drug may have new trick

Parkinson’s medication helps mice with condition like MS

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1:58pm, October 9, 2013

A drug that treats Parkinson’s disease might also work against multiple sclerosis, or MS.

In MS patients, an aberrant immune onslaught degrades the fatty myelin sheaths that coat nerve fibers, causing blurred vision, weakness, loss of coordination and other symptoms.

Luke Lairson of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., and colleagues tested a host of compounds to see which might boost regeneration of oligodendrocytes, the brain cells that make myelin and which are often lacking in MS. Using the cells’ forerunners, nascent brain cells called oligodendrocyte precursor cells, from rats and mice, the researchers found that benztropine proved adept at steering these cells to become myelin-making oligodendrocytes.

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