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Research into multiple sclerosis continues to make new advances, building on the success of the "Decade of the Brain." New understanding of the disease, and new medications to treat it, have stemmed from the research performed in the past several years. Continued studies aim to find a cure for the disease or a way to prevent it entirely.
The 1990s -- proclaimed the "Decade of the Brain" in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush and Congress -- saw an unparalleled explosion of knowledge about neurological disorders. New technologies are forcing even complex diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS) to yield up their secrets.
These opportunities in the field of neurological research have prompted the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council (NANDSC) to suggest that an effective treatment for and the cause of MS may be found during the Decade of the Brain and beyond. The former has already been achieved; scientists continue to diligently search for the latter. Their dedication is the best hope for a cure or, better yet, a way to prevent MS altogether.
Many advances on several fronts have been made in the war against MS. Each advance interacts with the others, adding greater depth and meaning to each new discovery.
Over the last decade, our knowledge about how the immune system works has grown at an amazing rate. Major gains have been made in recognizing and defining the role of this system in the development of MS lesions, giving scientists the ability to devise ways to alter the immune response. Such work is expected to provide a variety of new potential therapies that may relieve MS without harmful side effects.