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D. An Anti-cholesterol Drug May Reduce MS-type Paralysis

Narrator: This is Science Today. Over 350 thousand Americans have Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, an inflammatory disease, which often causes paralytic attacks. A recent experiment on mice suggests that cholesterol-lowering drugs may prevent and lessen paralysis in MS patients. Dr. Scott Zamvil, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, led the study.

Zamvil: In the relapsing-remitting form, we showed that we could actually give the drug Lipitor, or atorvastatin, either at the onset of symptoms and suppress subsequent attacks. But we also gave the medicine at the onset of the second attack when they were having the relapsing form, and we were able to aggravate or suppress further disease.

Narrator: In MS, demylenation, or nerve damage to the spinal cord and brain, occurs.

Zamvil: So what we showed was that mice that were treated had less inflammation, they had less demyelination, and they had a reduced expression of certain types of proteins.

Narrator: Zamvil is currently planning clinical trials on humans. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.