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Friday, February 12, 2016

Is It MS or Something Else?

Could I Have MS?

Maybe you’ve felt exhausted or weak lately. Or your foot is starting to tingle. So you do a quick Internet search and come up with an alarming result: Your symptom is one of the signs of multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease of the brain and spinal cord.
Before you start to worry, know that many signs of the condition are the same as symptoms of other health problems. So it’s easy to mistake another issue for MS, which affects less than 1% of Americans.
How can you tell if what you’re feeling is caused by MS or something else? First, keep in mind that most people have the first signs of the disease between the ages of 20 and 40. You can also keep track of your problems: MS symptoms tend to come and go or get worse over time.
It helps to know what else can explain some of the signs you might be feeling.

CLICK HERE to learn more from WebMD


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Life on the Go With MS

By Kara Mayer Robinson
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD
You've got things to do and places to go, and no time for MS to slow you down. Check out these ideas to get comfortable and stay on the move.

Good Shoes

The right shoes can make walking a lot easier. They can help you manage symptoms like muscle stiffness, numbness, and balance problems.

"While there are plentiful options of shoes in the market, it is important to choose comfort and efficiency over style," says Nora Wagner, a physical therapist at Loyola University Health System.
Light weight. Lighter shoes are easier on your legs and help you save energy. You'll also clear the ground more easily, which makes it less likely that you'll trip and fall.
Velcro fasteners. They're better than laces because they make it easier to put your shoes on and take them off. Adjust them for a secure, custom fit.
Wide, low heels. They make it easier for you to keep your balance. Choose one that's 1.5 inches tall or less.
Also, the bottom of your heels should be solid, not soft. Avoid flimsy shoes like flip-flops and sling-backs.
Good tread. It can help you navigate uneven surfaces like grass and gravel if you have numbness or balance problems, says Loyola University physical therapist Prem Batchu-Green.
Avoid shoes with heavy tread, which creates extra friction and can make your foot drag.
Proper fit. If your shoes are too big, it's harder to balance, Wagner says. If they’re too small, you may get swelling and a heavy feeling in your feet. The ideal size is about a half inch longer than your longest toe.

Car Accessories

Special equipment you install in your car can make driving easier and keep you behind the wheel longer. They include:
Hand controls. You can accelerate and apply the brake with your hands instead of your feet.
Digital driving rings, joysticks, or other devices. These high-tech gadgets make it easier to control the gas and brake.
Spinner knob. It's attached to the steering wheel to make it easier to turn.
Extra mirrors. Wide-angle rearview mirrors and larger side mirrors can help you see better. That helps if you have trouble turning your head.
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Thursday, February 11, 2016

9 Exercises for Advancing MS


9 exercises for MS woman in yoga pose


Everyone benefits from exercise. Whether you’re doing it for weight loss, strength building, or to prevent disease, exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For the 400,000 Americans with multiple sclerosis (MS), exercise has some specific benefits: It can ease symptoms, help promote mobility, and minimize the risks of certain complications.
However, it’s important that you use caution when exercising, as overdoing it may end up compromising your muscular system, increasing pain, and overstressing your body and mind. Here are nine types of exercise you can do on your own or with assistance from a physical therapist to help you maintain a high quality of life and to ease your symptoms.
An Important Note: Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program or physical activity. As a precaution, your doctor may request you work specifically with a physical or occupational therapist until you have learned how to perform exercises without overworking your muscular system.
Yoga
A study from the Oregon Health & Science University found that people with MS who participated in yoga had fewer symptoms of fatigue compared to people with MS who had not practiced yoga. In addition, abdominal breathing, which is practiced during yoga, may help improve a person’s breathing even when not doing yoga. The better you breathe, the easier blood is able to circulate your body, which improves respiratory and cardiac health.
Water Exercise
People with MS tend to struggle with overheating, especially if they’re exercising outside. For that reason, exercising in a pool may be ideal, as it will help you keep cool.
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Severe Demyelination in Non-MS Patient After TNF-α Blocker Treatment Detailed in Study

TNF-α blocking drugs, such as infliximab, surprised investigators when their use in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) actually triggered demyelination. In a case report published in the journal Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation, Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers reviewed an aggressive demyelinating event in a non-MS patient treated with TNF-α blockers. TNF-α blockers are used to slow the progression of autoimmune diseases with an […]

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Promising Data on ZINBRYTA (Daclizumab High-Yield Process) Compared to Interferon Beta-1a in RRMS


Promising Data on ZINBRYTA (Daclizumab High-Yield Process) Compared to Interferon Beta-1a in RRMS, ECTRIMS 2015 Lead scientists representing Biogen and AbbVie presented new data on clinical results from the Phase 3 study DECIDE on the compound ZINBRYTA TM at the 31st Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS (ECTRIMS) in Barcelona, Spain. The full results of the 2 to 3-year long Phase 3 study were also published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), in a manuscript entitled Daclizumab HYP Versus Interferon Beta-1a in Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis.
ZINBRYTA TM (daclizumab high-yield process) is a compound being developed by Biogen and AbbVie for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). It consists of a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds to the receptor subunit CD25 of interleukin-2 (IL-2), highly expressed in immune T-cells. This type of immune cells is overly expressed in MS, so ZINBRYTA theoretically depletes the overly-activated cells and increases cells that regulate the immune response (NK cells). The study DECIDE was designed with the objective of comparing clinical results of subcutaneously-delivered ZINBRYTA (every four weeks) and the commonly used intramuscular injection (IM) of interferon beta-1a.
The results covered a range of clinical measures on MS disease activity, and showed that a greater percentage of patients treated with ZINBRYTA TM exhibited no evidence of clinical disease activity and disease-related lesions (24.6%) in comparison to IM-interferon beta-1a treated patients (14.2%). Furthermore, ZINBRYTA was shown to improve cognitive processing speed, reduce cognitive decline and decrease risk of 24-week disease progression.

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MS Study Finds Lipid Antibodies Reflect Changes in Brain Volume and Lesions

MS Study Finds Lipid Antibodies Reflect Changes in Brain Volume and Lesions

FEBRUARY 10, 2016

Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers reported that antibodies directed at lipids are associated with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures of brain degeneration in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), and may potentially serve as biomarkers for monitoring disease status.
While the hyperintense brain lesions detected by MRI are crucial for diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring, they have proven to be of little value in predicting disease progression. Measurements of brain atrophy might associate better with clinical status. Earlier studies have shown that atrophy in the brain’s gray matter is more closely linked to disease status than atrophy in its white matter, and that compartment-specific measures need to be used when analyzing disease progression.
In the study Serum lipid antibodies are associated with cerebral tissue damage in multiple sclerosis, researchers explored the possible relationships between immune factors, measured by an antigen array, and brain changes measured by MRI.

The research team, led by Rohit Bakshi, recruited 21 patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), and measured 420 different antigens present in serum samples taken from them. The patients also underwent MRI scans to assess the gray matter and white matter regions, as well as total brain tissue volume. Finally, researchers investigated lesion load based on the MRI scans.
READ MORE


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Microsoft and Novartis Team Up to Tackle Multiple Sclerosis

Microsoft Novartis Kinect MS
Microsoft and Novartis are joining forces against multiple sclerosis (MS), the autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide.
Using Microsoft’s Kinect, they have developed a tool called Assess MS that can monitor and evaluate a patient’s movements to determine if the disease is progressing or not—quantifying a patient’s status has been a top challenge with MS.
Microsoft Novartis Kinect MS
When Microsoft released the Kinect system for playing Xbox video games about five years ago, little did it know it would be parenting with a healthcare company. For years, Novartis has been trying to find more consistent ways to quantify whether the treatments it is developing for multiple sclerosis are working, but assessing whether a patient’s symptoms are stabilizing or getting worse is complicated.
Learn more



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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Why Setting Intentions Should Be Important To You

Written by: Cathy Chester - an Empowered Spirit

Every week before we begin our first set of stretches my yoga instructor asks the class to set our intentions. Set our intentions? What the hell did that mean? When I began taking yoga I had no idea what it meant. I’d look at my classmates as if they’d provide the answers I was looking for, but nothing. Set my intentions. Hmm.

I would bow my head toward my heart while sitting in the lotus position, my hands resting on my thighs, palms facing up with each thumb and index finger gently touching each another. Then I scrambled to think about my intentions. Set my intentions. Set my intentions. What should they be? I finally thought I’d ask for better balance and the ability to stretch my muscles without writhing around in pain like an idiot. Was that what she meant?
Not completely.
“You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.” ~Deepak Chopra
I must have been living under a rock to misunderstand what setting my intentions meant. Our lives are built on intentions. Think about it. We all want to achieve certain goals in our lives that are either short or long term. Our intentions guide us toward achieving those goals.
Money. Relationships. Health. Happiness. Philanthropy. Spirituality. Dreams. Love.
These goals are reminders of what we need to do. Whether we write them down, say them to ourselves or share them with others setting our intentions can change our life.
“Our intention creates our reality.” ~Wayne Dyer
Ever since that first yoga class I’ve read and thought a lot about setting intentions. The concept fascinates me.  At the same time I started yoga the book The Secret exploded onto the American scene, thanks to getting the gold seal of approval by Oprah Winfrey.
Based on the law of attraction, The Secret claims that positive thinking can produce life-changing results to create happiness, wealth and riches. People were relying on that to solve all of their problems. I was skeptical about it from the start. I felt it gave false hope to people who needed to rely on more conventional help. Putting their eggs all in one basket could be a dangerous and unhealthy move.
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” ~Buddha

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Monday, February 8, 2016

MS Neurologist Argues for Continued Use of Natalizumab as Disease Treatment


In a recent study of more than 1,200 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a research team reported that treatment with the drug natalizumab (Tysabri) could lead to a tenfold increase in the levels of blood antibodies associated with a virus causing a rare but severe brain disease known as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)MS Neurologist Argues for Continued Use of Natalizumab as Disease Treatment The study, “Therapy with natalizumab is associated with high JCV seroconversion and rising JCV index values,” was published in the journal Neurology: Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation and recently discussed in a Multiple Sclerosis News Today article.
The John Cunningham virus (JCV) is responsible for PML development, especially in individuals who have a weakened immune system or are undergoing immunosuppressive treatments. PML leads to the destruction of white matter in the brain.
However, increasing levels of JCV-antibodies do not necessary translate into a higher risk for patients to develop PML, as neurologists Adil Javed, MD, PhD, and Anthony Reder, MD, from the University of Chicago, said in a corresponding editorial.
Following the study publication, Dr. Javed highlighted the benefits of natalizumab as therapy for MS auch_029791-1nd explained its mechanism of action in a University of Chicago news release. “MS is an autoimmune disease, meaning that it’s a disease of mistaken self identity. The body’s own immune system attacks myelin, an essential layer of insulation around nerve fibers. Without this protective layer, neurons in the central nervous system misfire or fail to fire at all, causing muscle weakness, balance and coordination problems, i.e. disability” he said. “Natalizumab blocks migration of immune cells into the brain and thereby leads to an immunosuppressive state in the central nervous system. It’s by this mechanism that it prevents immune cells from destroying the body’s own myelin. Due to its potent effects on the immune system and the demonstrated high efficacy of the drug inclinical trials in comparison to the older agents, natalizumab was a game changer when it came out in 2004. MS neurologists all thought, ‘why shouldn’t every MS patient be on this drug?’”
When asked if the increase in JCV antibodies in MS patients meant that they were 10 times more likely to develop PML, Dr. Javed said: “Absolutely not. When we see rising antibody levels, or titer, we assume that there must be more replication of the virus. The higher the replication rate of the virus, the higher the chance that the virus could infect brain cells. But this is all based on assumptions and circumstantial evidence. There has never been a good study that shows that rising antibody titers are proportionally correlated with higher viral replication or load. The fact remains that even though JC virus-antibody levels rise over time while on natalizumab therapy, the risk of PML over time continues to remain relatively low.”



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MS Views and News 
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New MS Therapy Seen to Promote Myelin Regeneration in Preclinical Study

RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., announced the publication of a research article detailing the process by which Thymosin beta 4 (Tβ4), the company’s novel therapeutic peptide, effectively promoted the remyelination process in two separate animal models commonly used for multiple sclerosis (MS) research. The article, “Thymosin beta4 promotes oligodendrogenesis in the demyelinating central nervous system,” was published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease.
Myelin is a lipidic material that protects the nerve fibers in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Myelination, the process of myelin formation around neurons, is carried out by oligodendrocytes in the central nervous system (CNS). These mature cells do not have the capacity to replicate, so once they are destroyed the only way to reinitiate myelination would be to recruit or generate oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs). These precursor cells may then proliferate and differentiate into myelin-producing mature oligodendrocytes.
Demyelination (the process of myelin destruction) is a hallmark of MS, leading to progressive neurodegeneration and synaptic failure. Currently no effective remyelination therapies are in use.





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Lemtrada Update

February 2016

RRMS Drug Works by Shifting Anti-Inflammatory Immune Profile, Study Shows Researchers have found that changes in the composition of immune molecules — specifically, a shift to more anti-inflammatory cytokines and regulatory T-cells (Tregs) — likely account for the efficiency of alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) as a treatment for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).

Researchers led by Stefania De Mercanti at the University of Turin, Italy, investigated the immune profiles of 29 MS patients enrolled in the CARE-MS I and II trials comparing the efficacy of alemtuzumab to Refib (interferon beta-1a). The patients were followed for 24 months, and blood samples were collected at six-month intervals, starting before treatment onset and ending after two years of treatment.
Scientists looked at the gene expression profile of 26 immune-related molecules, including cytokines, chemokines and their receptors, as well as transcription factors. Researchers also determined the relative amounts of T-helper cell types Th1 and Th17, as well as Tregs and the activity of a Treg suppressor, MBP.

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