MS research - can you help?

MS research – can you help?

Ella Colcombe is a master’s student from Swansea University, working alongside other researchers to undertake a study looking at the effects of neuronal myelination in time perception in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). Here, she explains the subject and why they need volunteers to take part in the research

“For our study we are recruiting volunteers with MS and volunteers who do not have MS. By doing this, we will be able to compare the two groups to establish whether demyelination does have an impact on perception of time. The study is pretty straight-forward – it is an online study, which consists of two MS scales, a short mental health questionnaire, and a number of short-duration time estimation tasks.

“Previous research has indicated that demyelination can impact an individual’s time perception. Demyelination refers to damage to the myelin sheath – this is the protective covering that surrounds the nerve fibres in your brain. In MS, demyelination occurs as a result of autoreactive T-cells entering the central nervous system from the peripheral circulation and inducing an inflammatory cascade. Our study aims to determine whether demyelination is implicated in human timing for people with MS.

“The myelin sheath acts as an insulator for axons in the central nervous system and increases the speed at which electrical signals travel between neurons and brain areas. This might suggest that time perception relies on efficient myelination of axons, and we would expect that any deficit in myelination would translate into deficits in time perception.

“If there is an association between demyelination and time perception, then we could conclude that individuals with MS have a distorted perception of time; meaning time passes more slowly for them. This may help explain a range of other symptoms, as individuals with disrupted time perception are more likely to negatively evaluate their past, show less optimism in the present, are less oriented to plans and goals, and have a poorer quality of life than those without deficits in time perception. Therefore, it is likely that deficits in time perception can affect the way individuals live their everyday lives.

“By carrying out this study, we are able to provide future direction for more research that could address this issue further and hopefully make a positive change for those who suffer with deficits in their perception in time.

“If you would like to get involved, the link for the study is below. It also includes an information sheet which explains the aim of the study in depth, the researchers who are involved, and all other information regarding the research. We kindly ask that if you do take part in the study that you use a laptop/computer as the software is not supported on mobile devices. We greatly appreciate any volunteers who would like to contribute to our research and we hope we can make an impact for individuals with MS who may be affected by this issue. Thank you!

“After participating in the study, you can email Dr Irene Reppa to be in with a chance of winning an online voucher for taking part!”

Find out more here