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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Chemical Compound Relieves Inflammation in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

By Rachel Lutz | December 19, 2014

A specific chemical compound can decrease the effects of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to findings published in the December 1, 2014 edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. - 

Researchers from the University of California, Riverside conducted a study of multiple sclerosis in mouse models. The researchers aimed to identify a drug to stimulate endogenous remyelination and/or minimized axonal degeneration to reduce the rate and degree of MS progression in patients. They found indazole chloride (Ind-Cl), which is a compound that stimulates estrogen receptor ERβ.  

Using electrophysiology tests, they ensured the remyelinated axons were retransmitting impulses in the mice models. The remyelination occurred more efficiently in the mice after they were given Ind-Cl, which was activated 2 ways. First, it flowed through the immune system, which reduced inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. It also worked directly by remyelinating the axons, which the research team believes makes Ind-Cl especially promising. 

“This drug, which we administered on transgenic mice, can potentially halt the symptoms and reverse ongoing motor deficit due to MS,” study leader Seema K. Tiwari-Woodruff, MS, PhD, an associate professor in the UC Riverside School of Medicine, said in a press release. “Our study shows that Ind-Cl can re-myelinate axons which have gotten injured not just in MS but also traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury.”

Continue reading

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Brain Atrophy, Early Antibody Spread in Pediatric MS

December 19, 2014

A pair of studies in a Canadian multiple sclerosis cohort finds more evidence of early neurodegenerative biology and a potentially diagnostic autoimmune antibody increase in children with MS

For most people, the first symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) begin in adulthood, possibly after the disease has been simmering silently for years. But for some, MS begins in childhood. Two recent studies of pediatric relapsing-remitting MS have found more evidence that the two main disease processes—inflammation and neurodegeneration—may both begin at the earliest stages and interfere with overall brain growth and health.

Researchers think the onset of MS in children may be a window into the disease origins for everyone. Pediatric MS is rare, accounting for only 2% to 10% of all MS cases. Children share some MS risk factors with adults, such as immune-related genes, low vitamin D levels, and certain viral exposures, as well as similar antibody and T cell profiles (Waldman et al., 2014).

The new findings come from the Canadian Pediatric Demyelinating Disease Network, a prospective study that has grown to include 24 centers in Canada, and also the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, where the lead investigator, Brenda Banwell, M.D., is now based. The study enrolls people under age 18 who suffer an acute demyelinating event. The one-time demyelinating attacks affect roughly 1 in 100,000 children. The events can be severe or fatal, but most children recover. Some will have recurrent or chronic attacks and be diagnosed with MS (Banwell et al., 2011).

Although the two studies drew from the same population of children, they were conducted by different research teams and used different techniques to answer different questions. One group profiled blood samples with antigen microarray technology and found a pattern of growing antibody reactivity, also called epitope spreading, that distinguished MS from a one-time demyelinating illness within months of the first attack (Quintana et al., 2014).

If confirmed, the findings could pave the way for a predictive clinical test for childhood-acquired demyelinating syndromes, according to an accompanying editorial by Bernhard Hemmer, M.D., of Technical University, Munich, Germany, and Peter Calabresi, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (Hemmer and Calabresi, 2014).

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Lemtrada and the Patient’s Voice with Dr. LaGanke

Dr. LaGanke photoImagine being only a two year old toddler and having your mom diagnosed with an invisible illness. As you grow up, you watch your mom fall down over and over while you’re not strong enough to help her back up. Imagine feeling her embarrassment as she had yet another accident. Worst of all no one would talk about it because in that day and age, these things were not discussed.
Would that light a fire in you? If you had a third grade art project about how you would change the world, would you paint a test tube containing the cure for MS? Would that determination stay with you through your teenage years and illuminate the path to your college studies?
This is the story of Dr. Christopher LaGanke.  From that little boy, he followed his passion to a neurology residency at University of Alabama Birmingham under Dr. Whitaker then on to open his own practice dedicated to solving the puzzle of invisible illnesses, like the MS that plagued his mother.
Throughout all the years of his practice, he has never forgotten the patient’s voice that drove him. This is very evident from a national level as he, followed by his patients, advocated for the FDA approval of Lemtrada. I am honored today to sit down with Dr. LaGanke and talk about Lemtrada’s approval.
Matt: Dr. LaGanke thank you for taking the time to meet with me to discuss the new treatment option for people living with MS, Lemtrada. What inspired you to take part in the Lemtrada trials?
Dr. LaGanke: When I watched my mother going through her struggles, I knew that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of people living with MS. I grew up in a time when you didn’t talk about your feelings; you dealt with it on your own.
As I grew older and wiser, I wanted to help speak for people who didn’t have a voice. I feel that part of that voice that I have is to evaluate new options as they evolve. What I saw with the results from the Lemtrada trial left me really impressed.
I saw two real benefits for MS patients; one was superior efficacy and the other was the infrequency of treatment. A person may only need the opportunity to take Lemtrada twice, instead of having their MS treatment be a frequent disruption in their life.
I was very eager to participate in the clinical trials and was very pleased with the outcomes. The most surprising thing to me was the patient satisfaction with Lemtrada. Not only their immediate satisfaction, but how they have continued being satisfied years after finishing their course of Lemtrada.
Matt: What did it mean to you to become the first physician to initiate treatment of Lemtrada for people living with MS?
It was very humbling and gratifying to be the first center in the US to administer Lemtrada commercially. Gratifying because of how hard so many worked to try to reverse the FDA decision. When the initial rejection occurred a year ago, I wrote a letter to all of my patients asking them to write a letter to congress to reconsider. I was very passionate about getting the patient’s voice heard.
The response was overwhelming. My patients would come in and bring the letters back from congressmen and women. Everyone was excited to rally around the cause of getting Lemtrada approved, so that patients could have another treatment option for their unmet needs.  One person who comes to mind, Stuart Schlossman, of Stu’s News and Views, ran a very large petition and helped tremendously. It was amazing to have all these patients’ voices pull together with a unified message that congress heard.
Matt: In layman’s terms, could you explain to my readers what exactly Lemtrada is and how it works?
Click here to continue reading this interview with Matt Cavallo and Dr. Chris LaGanke

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

How To Live Resilient and Unaffected by Stress During The Holidays

Dec 20, 2014 -  by Michelle
Gratitude de-stresses
Stress is a perception that we are in danger, that something or a situation is of danger, unsafe and threatening to us. Our body is perfectly designed to move us away from things, situations, people and places in our lives that are dangerous and make us feel unsafe so that we may survive, be safe, calm and productive in our lives.
Chronic stress, feeling threatened over a long term duration, is hurtful to our body and mind. We are not designed to endure chronic stress over time. We are designed to experience stress under a short term duration. If we feel in danger all day or perceive a person, place or relationship as threatening and not move away from it, our body experiences adrenal fatigue and the feeling of being overwhelmed and shut down in order to survive.
Our bodies are designed to perceive stress, move away from it towards safety and then process the emotions and bodily changes associated with the stress. This re-balance time is necessary so we may return to a calm state of balance and harmony. We must rest and restore our body and mind after a stressful event so that our nervous system, hormones and immune system can re-boot and re-energize.
Too often we create stressful, threatening and hurtful thoughts and beliefs in our minds that cause our bodies to perceive danger all day. For example, “I am not safe being myself, I don’t like my thighs, I don’t trust anyone, I am not good enough, I am not lovable and I am stupid” are all statements and beliefs some of us play over and over again during the day which causes our bodies not to feel safe and supported. We may not be aware of these beliefs, as many of them have been there since our childhood according to Dr. Bruce LiptonAuthor of The Biology Of Belief.
What we choose to believe about stress is actually what greatly impacts how we perceive our stress.

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MS Emerging therapies with odd names...

Date: December 20, 2014

First, to learn how to say these pharma names of these emerging therapies

Daclizumab (Dac-li-zu-mab)  (trade name Zenapax)
is a therapeutic humanized monoclonal antibody. It is used to prevent rejection in organ transplantation, especially in kidney transplants. The drug is also under investigation for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

− DAC HYP Demonstrated Superiority Over Interferon Beta-1a in Annualized Relapse Rate –
− Positive Results Set Stage for Regulatory Filings –
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. –  Biogen Idec and AbbVie  announced positive top-line results from the Phase 3 DECIDE clinical trial, designed to evaluate the superiority of once-monthly, subcutaneous daclizumab high-yield process (DAC HYP) when compared to intramuscular interferon beta-1a (IFN β-1a), as a potential treatment for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), the most common form of multiple sclerosis (MS). Results showed that DAC HYP was superior on the study’s primary endpoint, demonstrating a statistically significant 45 percent reduction in annualized relapse rate (ARR) compared to IFN β-1a (p<0.0001).
“The results of the DECIDE study are compelling, with DAC HYP demonstrating robust efficacy compared to a current standard of MS care,” said Gilmore O’Neill, vice president, Global Neurology Clinical Development, Biogen Idec. “As a potential once-monthly therapy with a novel mechanism of action, we believe that, if approved, DAC HYP will be an important treatment option for people living with MS.”
Daclizumab works by binding to CD25, the alpha subunit of the IL-2 receptor of T cells. The drug is marketed in the US, but not in Europe

Read more  here

Ocrelizumab  (Ocre-li-zu-mab)
is a humanized anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody. It targets mature B lymphocytes and hence is an immunosuppressive drug candidate. It is under development by Hoffmann–La Roche's subsidiary Genentech, and Biogen Idec.

Ocrelizumab in MS: Encouraging Long-term Data

Long-term follow-up of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the phase 2 trial of ocrelizumab suggest that the drug continues to be effective for up to 18 months after the last dose, with no new safety concerns identified.
The latest data from the phase 2 study with the drug, a humanized monoclonal antibody targeted against CD20-expressing B cells, were presented by lead investigator Stephen Hauser, MD, here at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 65th Annual Meeting last week.
Results showed that patients having up to 4 treatment cycles of ocrelizumab and followed for as long as 18 months after the last dose had minimal new MRI activity and a low level of clinical disease activity. In addition, there were no new safety concerns and no reports of opportunistic infections.
"Major Blockbuster"?

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Friday, December 19, 2014

What is the role of Ampyra in MS patients?

(Post date: 12/19/2014)

What is the role of dalfampridine (Ampyra) in multiple sclerosis patients? We asked four clinicians to comment: Brian Weinshenker, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.; Neil Lava, MD, of Emory University in Atlanta; Andrew Goodman, MD, of the University of Rochester's Multiple Sclerosis Center; and Lana Zhovtis Ryerson, MD, of NYU Langone Medical Center's Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center in New York City. The drug boosts walking ability in some patients, our panel agreed; trying it for a few weeks will identify those who respond without marked adverse effects.

Watch a video presentation on this subject by clicking here

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Warning signs of an MS flare-up, what can cause it, and how you can help prevent it.

What Happens During a Relapse?

When you experience a multiple sclerosis relapse (also known as an exacerbation or flare-up), it's because new damage in the brain or spinal cord disrupts nerve signals. That's why you might notice new symptoms or the return of old symptoms. A true relapse lasts more than 24 hours and happens at least 30 days after any previous relapses. Relapses vary in length, severity, and symptoms. Over time, symptoms should improve. Many people recover from their relapses without treatment.
Continue reading while watching a slideshow by clicking here

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

How does one manage bladder symptoms in MS?

What are the best ways to manage the bladder symptoms of multiple sclerosis? We asked two experts to comment on this important but often neglected quality-of-life issue for MS patients: Benjamin Brucker, MD, of NYU Langone Medical Center's urology department in New York City, and Brian Weinshenker, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. They pointed out that different types of urinary issues may present in MS patients, each with their own treatment approaches, and such issues may actually have other causes.
Click here to listen and watch a video presentation

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Relationship between iron accumulation and white matter injury in multiple sclerosis: a case-control study.

December 15, 2014

Iron in our bodies performs some fundamental functions such as transporting oxygen within the blood. However, in certain conditions, too much iron can harm us.

In healthy brains, iron is stored in the cells that produce myelin and in myelin sheaths. When, because of MS, these are destroyed, iron is released. This can lead to inflammation.

It has been reported that increased iron is associated with decreased brain volume. It can also precede brain atrophy, suggesting that it is involved with neurodegeneration.

Several studies have shown that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can indirectly detect increased iron in the brains of people with MS. However the role of iron in disease progression and development of disability is poorly understood.

In 2007, researchers from New York University pioneered a new MRI technique to detect iron increase in the deep brain areas.

The same team recently published a study of 31 patients with MS and 17 healthy volunteers. Using the new MRI method, they found increased iron in several deep brain areas of people with MS, but not in the volunteers.

This means that iron could be a useful biomarker, helping us understand the MS inflammation process. It might also be a useful marker of disease progression.

However, whether there is a definite iron accumulation in specific brain areas has to be further assessed in a larger number of patients.

Read the full article

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Legal 'E-spliff' (e-Joint) helps relieve pain of MS and cancer patients - without the cannabis high

  • Legal 'electronic joint' developed to help ailments eased by cannabis
  • It will help calm, relax and ease people's pain, but will not give a 'high'  
  • This is because it contains cannabidiol (CBD) which acts as a painkiller
  • Does not contain psychoactive ingredient THC which gives a 'high'
  • Product will be available to patients in France from January 2015 

A legal 'electronic joint’ to help patients with conditions that are eased by cannabis will go on sale in France next month.

The firm behind the e-joint, called KanaVape, claims it will provide all the relaxing and pain-killing effects of marijuana, without the high.

The product has been engineered to contain cannabidiol (CBD), a compound in cannabis which has therapeutic uses as a painkiller.

But, crucially, the product does not contain THC, another psychoactive compound found in cannabis, which causes the ‘high’.

An 'electronic joint' made from hemp plants is being developed by a French manufacturer. It claims the e-joint, called KanaVape, will provide all the relaxing and painkilling effects of marijuana, without the high, as it does not contain the psychoactive ingredient THC

An 'electronic joint' made from hemp plants is being developed by a French manufacturer. It claims the e-joint, called KanaVape, will provide all the relaxing and painkilling effects of marijuana, without the high, as it does not contain the psychoactive ingredient THC

‘KanaVape brings you many of the benefits of cannabinoids without the psychotic effect of THC’, its makers claim, writing on their website.

Cannabis-derived drugs such as Sativex are already used in the U.S., UK and other European countries to treat the pain associated with multiple sclerosis and cancer.
Two other cannabis-derived drugs, Cesamet and Marinol, are also used in Canada and the U.S. to treat the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and AIDS-related anorexia.

The founders of KanaVape, Antonin Cohen, a start up entrepreneur and Sebastian Beguerie, an agricultural engineer, spent two years extracting legal cannabinoids and developing the product, VICE News reports.

It is made from the hemp version of the plant, grown legally in France, which contains more CBD and only 0.2 per cent THC, which is not enough for recreational users of cannabis.
Mr Cohen, who previously worked in start-up companies in the U.S. where he said it was possible to earn a ‘comfortable salary’, said he quit his job and set up KanaVape as he wanted to help people suffering conditions that could be eased by marijuana.

He realised many people in France suffer from cancer or MS, and said it was an ‘injustice’ they could not use cannabis to ease their pain.

He said: ‘One of them said "Cannabis plant helps me to fight against my illness, however, the legislation that I have to put myself in situations of illegality. I therefore cannot provide myself with cannabis legally, I cannot find quality cannabis.”

‘We sell this product in France for the sick, a harmless molecule is sued and cannot be accused of marketing a product for recreational use. There is no high in it.’

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

How Will / Might, MS Affect Your Career?

Two Professionals Answer FAQs About Coping

You’ve found out that you have MS, and there’s so much to consider and assess – from what your priorities are to what lifestyle changes you need to make. One of them may be your career. What happens when symptoms of multiple sclerosis lead to job loss or early retirement? 

Psychotherapist Allison Shadday and attorney Jeffrey Gingold adjusted their lives and goals after MS changed their careers. Here, they share their knowledge as well as their personal experiences about moving on.

What do you do if MS forces you to leave your job? 

Allison: One of the most difficult challenges you may ever face is the loss of your job due to MS. It is critical that you acknowledge your feelings and grieve, if necessary. Seek out the support of others who understand what you are going through, such as a local support group or an online forum. 

While change is difficult, it is also important for you to be proactive during this transitional period to avoid feelings of victimization or hopelessness. 

read more

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Expert Advice for Reducing Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

MS Help for 5 Common Problems

The nerve disorder multiple sclerosis brings several unfortunate side effects, from depression to bladder control problems. But MS help is available. Learn how to treat these MS symptoms and live a more fulfilling life...
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system. An overactive immune system causes inflammation, which damages or destroys myelin, the fatty sheath that insulates nerves.

When that happens, “nerves can’t talk to each other – they can’t exchange signals from one neuron to the next,” explains Rodrigo Rodriguez Jr., M.D., a neurologist with Kaiser Permanente’s Bellflower Medical Center near Los Angeles.

As a result, MS patients may face a long list of nerve-related symptoms: pain or numbness, mobility problems, bladder dysfunction, vision changes, cognitive and emotional issues, dizziness and fatigue.

MS affects about 400,000 people in the U.S., and most are women, according to the National MS Society. The average patient is diagnosed in her 30s or 40s, Dr. Rodriguez says.

The condition is incurable, but the sooner drug therapy treatment begins, the better a patient will do over time, he notes.

The most commonly used medications for MS, known as disease-modifying agents, help “control the degree of inflammation and the rate of inflammatory attacks,” he says. “If these first-line agents don’t work, there are other medications that may be more aggressive in controlling inflammation.”
Untreated, the condition can lead to physical disability.

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