Female hormone that impedes MS!! interesting;)

How A Female Hormone Impedes MS

One tantalizing observation about multiple sclerosis is that it goes into remission during pregnancy. The degenerative disease occurs when the immune system attacks nerve cells. And it’s known that pregnancy hormones such as estriol turn down the mother’s immune system to protect the fetus from rejection. So could estriol—a form of estrogen—also be a treatment for the disease in women?

Rhonda Voskuhl, director of the MS program at the University of California at Los Angeles, decided to try. In a small study four years ago she showed that the hormone—available as a pill—brought a dramatic reduction in the brain inflammation that is harmful in MS.

Estriol “may not only help bring the immune system under control,” says Patricia A. O’Looney, vice-president for biomedical research at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, “but it may also stimulate cells to make more myelin,” a protective sheath that helps nerves carry signals but that breaks down as MS progresses.

That’s why Voskuhl is embarking on a larger, two-year study with previously untreated MS patients to see if estriol’s benefits translate into improved health. Even if the hormone proves no better than current treatments, it has two big advantages: It’s cheap, and it can be taken orally instead of being injected. Although men aren’t part of her estriol study, Voskuhl is researching whether testosterone might have a similar effect in male MS patients.

By John Carey – business newsweek

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