A new study shows that a combination of imaging techniques can better explain how myelin defects are linked to multiple sclerosis.
The evolution of the myelin sheath throughout childhood has been visualized in vivo for a first time, and findings reported in the study “Mapping an index of the myelin g-ratio in infants using magnetic resonance imaging,” published in the journal NeuroImage.
To function well, nerve cells in the brain rely on the fatty substance called myelin, which surrounds the nerve cells, protecting them and increasing the speed at which nerve impulses propagate along them. Very little myelin is found in the brain of newborns; but throughout childhood, rapid myelination of neurons occurs in a process that is not yet fully understood.
“Having a non-invasive way to quantitatively map the thickness of myelin sheaths around nerve fibers will help us learn more about how the brain develops and when new nerve connections are made,” said Doug Dean III, the study’s lead author, in a press release.
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