|Image: Wikimedia Commons|
Researchers have identified a promising new therapy for treatment of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis afflicts 250,000 to 350,000 people in the United States.A degenerative disease of the nervous system, MS is uncurable.However, researchers are finding ways to ameliorate its impact on vision, mood, and concentration.Among the most promising therapies is a new technology: transcranial direct current stimulation. TDCS has been shown in trials to effect improvements in some of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
The procedure was created by professor Marom Bikson of City College of New York.It consists of a low-amplitude current that travels through a set of electrodes placed on the patient's scalp.
This current is thought to stimulate the brain's cortex, enabling neurons to signal to each other more easily.This improves neural connectivity and cognitive learning, leading to rehabilitation benefits for people suffering from multiple sclerosis.
Participants in a study of 25 patients were asked to play computer games to assess cognitive skills such as problem-solving abilities, attention, information processing, response time, and working memory skills.
After 10 at-home TDCS treatments, the participants were found to have improved response time and problem-solving skills.
TDCS targets the brain's dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a region associated with fatigue, depression, and cognition.
Sensitive, computerized measurements of complex attention showed that the TDCS group had much greater improvements compared with a control group.
Though the study could not find differences in attention span or standard cognitive measures, the current results are sufficiently promises to fuel enthusiasm for further studies.