Myelin Case Study

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Part Two: Diagnosis and Treatment
7. What is myelin and how does it affect the transmission of nerve impulses? Identify the cells responsible for the formation of myelin.
Covering some axons is a multilayered lipid and protein called myelin sheath, this helps to insulate the axon and speed up nerve impulses. (Tortora pg. 407) An axon that is surrounded by myelin sheath, whether in the central nervous system (CNS) or the peripheral nervous system (PNS), is said to be “myelinated”, while the bare axon is “unmyelinated”. Action potentials travel more rapidly and further in distance along a myelinated axon, this is because they travel by salutatory conduction. This is when the impulse at the first node generates currents that open gated channels
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The treatment works by decreasing levels of the bad immune chemicals and making white cell membranes more pliable. Steroids can also help by reducing the swelling around the MS lesions, which causes better nerve transmission through the damaged area. (Steroids, MS Drugs). Kathy was experiencing common issues associated with multiple sclerosis, symptoms such as numbness and weakness or loss of muscle movement. These problems are due to the loss of myelin sheath around axons in the CNS, the impulses are not being properly communicated. Instead the impulses become confused or stop all together because they can’t make their way along the damaged axon. The high dosage of steroids helped to alleviate the inflammation around the nerve and to move the impulse along its route. Even with the steroids, it takes about a week for the sensation to return to Kathy’s legs. Taking into consideration, all of the different treatment options, Kathy decided to go with a daily injection of Copaxone. Copaxone contains a synthetic protein similar to that of a basic protein of myelin. (Copaxone, NMSS) This has proven to be a great treatment for Kathy as she has only had one issue, with numbness, within the following 7 months of her original episode. The synthetic protein helps to repair the damaged axon so her nerve impulses are traveling the way that they’re supposed to. Copaxone lengthens the time in between relapses of multiple scleroses. There are many other medications like Solu-Medrol, which acts as an anti-inflammatory and will help with the swelling around the axon. While the anti-inflammatory is extremely helpful, it does not contain the synthetic protein like Copaxone does. I did find a similar medicine called Betaserone, it seems to have the same power as Copaxone where it tricks your immune system into attacking the myelin

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