Is cerebral mielination really necessary?

pspangle at pspangle at
Mon Nov 17 07:21:10 EST 1997

In article <64nqsg$8cf$2 at>,
  Carlos M. S. Antunes <cmsa at> wrote:
> Hello!
> Is cerebral mielination really necessary to allow a human being to have a
> normal life? What happens if this processed does not occur at all? Will we
> have some kind of vegetable?

Myelin acts (in a sense) as an electrical insulator that speeds
transmission of information along neural axons by about a factor of up to

In Multiple Sclerosis, the myelin cells die, the insulation disappears. 
My mother-in-law had multiple sclerosis in her final days.  Her thinking
processes were normal, but slowed WAY down.  If we wanted to include her
in a conversation we had to talk at about 1/4 of normal rate, which was
very frustrating.  If we talked at normal speed, she couldn't follow what
we were saying, which was very frustrating for her.

In M.S., the myelin also disappears in peripheral nerves, so she had very
limited use of her arms and legs.

I'll let you decide what is "normal."

Patrick Spangler

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