Training the brain: could it improve multiple sclerosis treatment?

Rev Neurosci. 2020 Oct 25;31(7):779-792. doi: 10.1515/revneuro-2020-0014.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease characterized by neuroinflammation, demyelination and axonal degeneration along with loss of function in the central nervous system. For many years, research in MS has focused on the efficacy of pharmacological treatments. However, during the last years, many publications have been dedicated to the study of the efficacy of non-pharmacological strategies, such as physical exercise and cognitive training. Beneficial effects of the combination of both strategies on cognitive function have been described in both ageing adults and patients with neurodegenerative diseases, such as MS. The analysis of combining both physical and cognitive stimulation can be summarized by the environmental enrichment (EE) experiments, which are more suitable for animal models. EE refers to housing conditions consisting of exercise and cognitive and social stimulation. In this review, we will summarize the available studies that describe the influence of EE in both MS patients and MS animal models.

Keywords: animal models; cognitive impairment; demyelination; environmental enrichment; exercise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis / metabolism*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / rehabilitation*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / rehabilitation