A new method for predicting potential for functional recovery in MS

Image shows an MRI scan

Lead researcher: Dr Valentina Tomassini

Based in: Cardiff University

Grant we awarded: £263,362

Research shows the brain can compensate, adapt to damage and develop new connections that help people recover physical functions of their bodies, like arm or leg movement.
This type of recovery is known as ‘functional recovery’.

The equivalent of this in the brain is called plasticity and has been seen in people with MS. The aim of rehabilitation is to promote and harness this plasticity, which can lead to functional recovery. This could limit disability and improve quality of life for people with MS.

What happens in this study?

Researchers will recruit 150 people with MS to this 3-year study. They will carry out a series of tests including MRI, cognitive and motor tests to evaluate participants level of function at the start of the study.

All participants will undergo a month of targeted daily motor training at home with the aim of improving control of hand movements. After this, participants will be reassessed to see their level of improvements.

Data from half of the participants will be used to develop a calculation. This calculation will be used to predict, for each person, their likelihood of reaching a particular level of motor performance after training. Data from the other half of participants will be used to check this calculation.

How will it help people with MS?

This research will aim to develop a score for individuals to predict their likelihood of responding to different rehabilitation treatments.

If successful, this research could eventually be used by people with MS and health care professionals to help them make more informed decisions about which treatments could be most effective for them.

The difference you can make

We want to stop MS. You can help us achieve that aim by supporting research like this – research that might, one day, lead to more effective and tailored treatments for people with MS.

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£30could process one blood sample, giving researchers crucial information about genes and the immune system.

£50could pay for an hour on a microscope, so scientists can study cells and tissue in greater detail and improve their understanding of the biology of MS.

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MS researcher at work in lab, using a pipette