New cells, old brains

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New cells, old brains

Postby TwistedHelix » Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:11 am

This article prompted a probably-irrelevant thought: within a few years of diagnosis, both Mum and I lost much of our sense of smell...does this sound familiar to anyone?

LINKtoScientificAmerican

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Re: New cells, old brains

Postby Lyon » Sat Mar 03, 2007 2:01 pm

TwistedHelix wrote:This article prompted a probably-irrelevant thought: within a few years of diagnosis, both Mum and I lost much of our sense of smell...does this sound familiar to anyone?
Dom.
Interesting Dom and I can't add anything except that my wife hasn't noticed anything of the sort.
I notice that paper is dated mid February and I read similar information about that same time.

What I considered at the time was possible significance to brain atrophy, what most people consider "permanent" damage.

In the end it might be found that I view MS processes too simplistically or it might be found that everyone else made it too complicated, but the example of atrophy which comes to my mind is when my brother broke his forearm in a school bus accident. His arm was in a cast for months and when the cast finally came off his arm was 1/4 the size of his other arm. I asked the doctor about it and he said that his arm had atrophied from lack of use and that with enough time and enough use the arm will look just like the other one. The doctor was right.

When I was young and got caught doing something dumb with my buddies I remember Dad telling me "if your buddies jumped off a bridge, would you?" Dad simply meant that just because people whose opinions you value believe or do something, does that mean that you have to buy into it?

I saw great wisdom in Dad's reasoning and since then it's been obvious to me that strength in numbers plays no part in determining fact. Looking back in history there is example after example in which the "experts" have made their announcements and the population has bought into it hook, line and sinker.

In other words, the entire population of the world has been wrong many, many times.

Despite expert opinions, we now know that the world is not flat, our heads won't explode if we travel over 20mph, the moon isn't made out of green cheese.

Despite popular opinion it's likely that with reconnected circuits to put those areas of the brain in use again, brain atrophy is reversible.

To get back on topic, things like what you've posted add to my hope.

Bob
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Postby TwistedHelix » Sun Mar 04, 2007 7:07 am

hi Bob,

As usual, I find myself agreeing with you: the "received wisdom" of the age doesn't necessarily prove to be right in the long run. Myself, well, I'm a bit of an "MS theory tart", (tart=hooker), in other words I can see the value in wildly differing theories and discoveries about the central nervous system. Because I'm not committed to a single, exclusive theory about this disease, I can accept that some of these discoveries fit together in a complicated jigsaw that adds up to MS, and sometimes they are an isolated, one-off event or condition that still leads to the same thing. The analogy with different cancers has been made many times -- a string of causative events, or perhaps just one, resulting in many diseases with one name, "cancer", and a host of different treatments which only work well for a limited number of disease forms. This doesn't mean, however, that one day there won't be a treatment which targets something which is common to all cancers, and therefore becomes "the" answer. I trust the same will happen for MS, but it won't mean that all the apparently conflicting and contradictory ideas are wrong, just that they are different branches of the same tree.

Sorry for rambling. I am sure, too, that one day brain atrophy will be reversible, but I don't think it will be as straightforward as building up your brother's arm muscles -- first, regenerating axons has to be achieved, (something which is closer than a lot of people believe), but second, if that growth isn't in exactly the same place, and with the same connections, as the original, there may be all sorts of consequences for our personalities, memories etc. Still, there's even promise on that front.

I think you are right to have hope: that there will very soon be a wider variety and more successful treatment options, but I like my money too much to bet on any horse yet ! !

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Postby Lyon » Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:35 am

TwistedHelix wrote:I am sure, too, that one day brain atrophy will be reversible, but I don't think it will be as straightforward as building up your brother's arm muscles -- first, regenerating axons has to be achieved, (something which is closer than a lot of people believe), but second, if that growth isn't in exactly the same place, and with the same connections, as the original, there may be all sorts of consequences for our personalities, memories etc. Still, there's even promise on that front.
Absolutely Dom, and I didn't mean that it would be as simple as my brother's arm but instead meant that reversing atrophy can and does happen all the time. And it's true in that regard that it's probably not as simple as bringing MS to an end and waiting patiently for the atrophied areas to regenerate on their own.
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