Researchers of the Human Brain Project have developed a new methodology to calculate the delay of signal propagations in brains of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease that affects more than 2 million people worldwide. The results have been published in the Journal of Neuroscience by researchers at the Institut de Neurosciences des Systèmes, Marseille, France and of the University of Naples Parthenope and the University of Campania, Caserta in Italy.
In multiple sclerosis, the immune cells of the body attack the myelin, an insulating sheath that covers all the neurons. Myelin serves a similar purpose to the plastic that insulates electric cables, making electricity travel faster. A damage to the myelin layer in the brain causes the electrical signals to slow down, translating into delayed communications between brain areas and reduced or compromised abilities. Measuring the precise effect of the myelinic damage can help doctors in providing a personalized approach to the patients.