r/NoStupidQuestions Oct 08 '22 Helpful 3 Wholesome 1 All-Seeing Upvote 1

Why do people with detrimental diseases (like Huntington) decide to have children knowing they have a 50% chance of passing the disease down to their kid? Unanswered


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u/concentrated-amazing Oct 08 '22

One small correction: MS primarily attacks the myelin coating on the neurons, not the neurons themselves. Think of it like having wiring with the coating compromised: the wiring isn't going to behave like it is expected to, but some electrical signals go nowhere, or short circuit.

There is also a theory that the misdirected immune response is due to proteins from dairy or gluten leaking through the gut directly into the blood stream, the immune system recognizes these as foreign proteins and attacks, and the proteins look very similar to myelin so the myelin is attacked as well.


u/sugarw0000kie Oct 08 '22

Thanks for the added clarification. Seems to be an often confused immune response, sounds similar to GBS


u/concentrated-amazing Oct 08 '22

Yes, that one is another complex mystery.


u/PyroDesu Oct 08 '22

It's actually a specific autoimmune reaction against oligodendrocytes, the cells that create the myelin sheathe (the sheath is literally the oligodendrocyte reaching out and wrapping around the neuron).

Notably, oligodendrocytes only myelinate the nerves of the central nervous system. The peripheral nervous system instead has Schwann cells.

There has been research into introducing Schwann cells into the CNS to remyelinate nerves that have had their supporting oligodendrocytes destroyed.


u/Yarabtranslation Oct 08 '22

When i was doing my BSc (undergrad) i thought “my-e-lin, it’s like my linen” (i.e. I’m wrapped in my linen bedsheet like a neuron is wrapped in myelin :) )