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Could nanotechnology help with multiple sclerosis?

Could nanotechnology help with multiple sclerosis?
4th August 2014

Scientists believe that the use of nanotechnology could help to develop a potential cure for multiple sclerosis (MS).

Researchers at the University of Southern California believe this could help to achieve the same results as deep brain stimulation - a common form of treatment for diseases like MS - but without the risks associated with undertaking surgery. 

A student of the university's Viterbi Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering - Dr Kun Yue - is first going to construct a model of selected brain circuits in an attempt to better understand how conditions such as MS develop. Following on from this, it is hoped scientists will be able to devise potential treatment methods. 

Dr Yue said: "There is no known cure for many of the most debilitating neural diseases," adding that new technology could alleviate some of the pain and symptoms brought about by these conditions. 

While nano medicine is proving popular, it is not being widely used due to a lack of resources for the interdisciplinary work that is necessitated. USC, however, does have the tools necessary. 

This trial has been made possible thanks to the 2014 Research Enhancement Fellowship that was awarded by the USC Graduate School ‚Äčand Dr Alice Parker - an electrical engineering professor - is going to help to steer the project to completion alongside Dr Yue.

MS is a neurological disorder of the central nervous system. It comes about when the coating around the nerve fibres are damaged and the symptoms include problems with vision and balance, and spasms. 

The exact cause of the disease is currently unknown, but scientists believe it's a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Around 100,000 individuals in the UK have MS and the majority of those who are diagnosed with it are aged between 20 to 40. 

However, those outside of this age range can still develop the neurological disease. 

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