The latest research on multiple sclerosis, concussion and memory
In this month’s brain health news round-up, we dive into three recent pieces of research looking into multiple sclerosis, concussion and memory. Our understanding of the brain is constantly evolving as new research emerges. With these new studies, we answer our most pressing questions about the complex organ that drives everything we do. Read on to learn more about recent brain research.
Medication May Improve Thinking Skills in Advanced Multiple Sclerosis
A study published in the American Academy of Neurology’s Neurology® journal found that people with the advanced form of multiple sclerosis (MS), called secondary progressive MS, who took the drug siponimod for one to two years had improved cognitive processing speed compared to those who did not take the drug. Study author Ralph H. B. Benedict, PhD, says “While there are currently no drugs on the market in the United States approved for the treatment of cognitive impairment in MS, our study found that siponimod, which is prescribed to slow the progression of physical disability in MS, may also help improve cognitive processing speed in people with advanced MS.”
Accuracy of U.S. College Football Players’ Estimates of Their Risk of Concussion or Injury
Study results suggest that college football players may underestimate their risk of injury and concussion. Researchers studied 296 male, college-aged athletes. They found 43% of athletes underestimated their risk of injury and 42% their risk of concussion, both serious health concerns. The analysis raises ethical concerns about informed participation in sports for young athletes. It also brings up the long-term consequences of sports-related injuries such as concussion.
Studying Amnesia Helps Researchers Understand Memory
Researchers are examining cases of amnesia to learn more about the mysteries of memory more broadly. John Hart Jr., MD, is just one of the researchers with an interest in the storage and retrieval of semantic memory, which includes general knowledge accumulated over a person’s lifetime, such as colors, letters and names. “Damage to white matter after a brain injury may affect connections needed to make new memories, so people may not be able to recall the name of someone they’ve just met or the items they need to pick up at the store, but they can still recall memories about their fourth-grade classmates,” says Dr. Hart. This research could help discover critical connections between other brain diseases and memory.
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