Ingredient In Cough Syrup Effective In Treating MS Symptoms

With a cure for MS still out of reach, any people who suffer from the disorder depend on treatments that aim to alleviate the debilitating symptoms caused by the disease. Researchers are slowly finding more and more ways to fight MS. Some scientists are surprisingly discovering some of them from other seemingly unrelated sources such as cough syrup.

A recent study has discovered that a common ingredient found in over-the-counter cough syrup may also be effective in treating MS symptoms. Multiple sclerosis is a disorder that affect the central nervous system. It gradually disrupts the communication between the brain and the rest of the body by the damage being done to the myelin sheath of the neurons by the body’s own immune system. The myelin acts as the insulating material for nerve cells which, when damaged, can affect normal functioning of the nerve cells.

The said study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis, found out that low dosage of dextromethorpan can help reduce the loss of myelin as well as paralysis during periods of inflammation when given to mice who display the animal model of the disease in moderate forms. Dextromethorpan is a common ingredient that is found in over-the-counter cough medicines.

“This finding provides an exciting opportunity to better understand the disease and to pursue a new treatment strategy with a drug that is widely available, inexpensive and known to be safe,”says Wenbin Deng, cell biologist at the University of California, Davis and author of the study.

“Dextromethorphan has a different mode of action than current drugs for multiple sclerosis. While current treatment targets inflammation and the immune system, dextromethorphan appears to be more directly neuroprotective. Combining the different strategies could offer a real breakthrough in fighting the disease,” Deng further added.

Deng and his team of researchers are also studying other ingredients found in cough medicines that, like dextromethorpan, have the same molecular structure to that of morphine but do not have the toxicity and the addicting properties. The study was published on the online journal Neurobiology of Disease last July 7.


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