By Chris McMurran in The Conversation.
Fat often gets a bad press, but if it didn’t coat the cables that connect our neurons, we’d be in a lot of trouble. Sufferers of multiple sclerosis and a host of other nervous system diseases have first-hand experience of this, with few safe and effective treatment options available. Only now are new treatments appearing on the horizon that might just make a big difference.
In order for us to think, feel and move, information must move around the brain accurately and rapidly. Vital in this process are long wire-like structures called axons, which conduct the electrical currents that encode our thoughts from neuron to neuron.
Most of our axons are sheathed in a fatty substance called myelin which, like the plastic coating on a wire, provides insulation for efficient conduction and protects the axon from damage.
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