Madison, Wis. -- A study of the feline diet has led scientists to discover that a cat's central nervous system has the ability to repair itself.
The study, published March 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by a team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, found that the restoration of myelin -- a fatty insulator of nerve fibers -- can lead to recovery of central nervous system ailments.
"The fundamental point of the study is that it proves unequivocally that extensive remyelination can lead to recovery from a severe neurological disorder," says Ian Duncan, the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine neuroscientist who led the study.
The study was initiated by a mysterious affliction in pregnant cats, according to the university. A company testing effects on growth and development using irradiated diets found that after three or four months, pregnant cats developed progressive neurological disease, Duncan says. The cats recovered slowly once taken of the diet, he says. Duncan wasn't involved in the original diet study and doesn't know what caused the neurological problems, but says his follow-up study confirms that remyelinating strategies are clinically important to central nervous system treatment.