Fatty acid mechanism helps people with MS dance again

A year ago, Lous And The Yakoza singer Marie-Pierra Kakuma suddenly woke up with paralysis in her legs. She was in a wheelchair for three months and had to learn to walk again. For a long time, dancing on stage seemed like just a dream. It was eventually found that she was suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). Marie Piera is one of 2.9 million patients worldwide. Current medications can slow the disease, but it cannot yet be completely cured.

In MS, the immune system attacks the protective fatty layer surrounding our nerve cells. This makes patients have difficulty walking and seeing and often feel tired. Our body is able to repair some damage. But for many MS patients, it eventually becomes too large, worsening their symptoms, shortening recovery phases or even eliminating recovery.

Fatty acids play a very important role in both the attack phase and the recovery phase. Some fatty acids promote inflammation, while others prevent it. Just think about healthy omega-3 fatty acids or bad saturated fats. The brain also needs a lot of fat to repair damage to its protective layer. Cells that ensure recovery need a lot of energy, which can be obtained from fat. Furthermore, fatty acids are the building blocks of the protective layer.

In MS patients, the fatty acid composition of active lesions (i.e. where the immune system is still attacking nerves) appears to differ significantly from that of recovered lesions. During different stages of the disease, different fatty acids are found in the spinal cord of MS patients, and they are also different from those in healthy people. Mutations in fatty acid metabolism genes can also be linked to disease progression.

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Fatty acid genes

Scientists now want to know which fatty acid metabolism genes promote recovery and which stimulate the inflammatory response. They investigated this by comparing fatty acid composition at different times of the disease. At the same time, they look at which genes are more or less present. This way they can find out which fatty acids are involved in recovery and which genes are responsible for this.

Based on this, scientists can develop new treatments, such as increasing the expression of genes that promote recovery. Or MS patients can take restorative fatty acids. In addition, doctors can use this knowledge to provide more targeted nutritional advice to MS patients. Getting rid of MS will not be an option, our brains have their own metabolism. But we can partly influence this through what we eat.

In this way, hopefully our fatty acid metabolism will soon ensure that stars like Lous and the Yakuza can dance to their hearts' content again, without having to worry about another MS flare-up.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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