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Potential impact of cinnamon on multiple sclerosis studied
Date:6/22/2011

(CHICAGO) A neurological scientist at Rush University Medical Center has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to evaluate whether cinnamon, a common food spice and flavoring material, may stop the destructive process of multiple sclerosis (MS).

The two-year, $750,000 NIH grant will fund research that will analyze the effects of cinnamon on the disease process in mice.

"Since medieval times, physicians have used cinnamon to treat a variety of disorders including arthritis, coughing and sore throats," said Kalipada Pahan, PhD., who is the Floyd A. Davis professor of neurology at Rush and principal investigator of the study. "Our initial findings in mice indicate that cinnamon may also help those suffering from MS."

MS is an autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system, which consists of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. The disease is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, which is a fatty tissue that surrounds and protects the nerve cells. When myelin or the nerve fiber is damaged or destroyed, the nerve impulses are slowed down and the electrical impulses to and from the brain are disrupted. This disruption causes the symptoms of MS, which include numbness in the limbs, paralysis and loss of vision.

The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another. Episodes can last for days, weeks or months. These episodes alternate with periods of reduced or no symptoms. Because nerves in any part of the brain or spinal cord may be damaged, patients with MS can have symptoms in many parts of the body including muscles, bowel and bladder, eyes, speech, and swallowing.

Researchers are not sure what triggers the disease. The most common theories point to a virus or genetic defect, or a combination of both. Geographic studies indicate there may be an environmental factor involved.

Glial cell activation in the brain has b
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Contact: Deb Song
deb_song@rush.edu
312-942-0588
Rush University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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