Please visit our MS learning channel on Youtube, which provides hundreds of topics from our education programs, that were video-recorded and archived here: www.youtube.com/msviewsandnews

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Disclaimer: 'MS Views and News' DOES NOT endorse any products or services found on this blog. It is up to you to seek advice from your healthcare provider. The intent of this blog is to provide information on various medical conditions, medications, treatments, and procedures for your personal knowledge and to keep you informed of current health-related issues. It is not intended to be complete or exhaustive, nor is it a substitute for the advice of your physician. Should you or your family members have any specific medical problem, seek medical care promptly.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

For anyone viewing this blog, to Read...

For all who view this blog, please know that as of Today April 19, 2007 , there will be no new postings shown here ( on this blog-site).

Please view my primary Blog by clicking on my website shown here:
www.msviewsandrelatednews.com

After this website opens, you can view my blog by clicking on the button that reads:
VISIT BLOG

My website/Blog is currently receiving over 70,000 hits per month.

My time is spread too thin between working on that blog and orchestrating all the programs that I am assisting, WITH the
National MS Society as their "Volunteer" Programs Coordinator.

These efforts are only able to be accomplished, when my own symptoms permit me to take-on additional tasks.

My own symptoms include (on a daily basis), Fatigue, Pain
(pain-2) and Cognitive Dysfunctioning.

I am sure that many of you, reading this notice, can identify with what I am writing.

Please therefore click the above website link and view the links of the hundreds of articles found there.

You also can opt-in to my MS Related e-newsletter , by clicking the block-ad that shows that item on the website.

Visit the sponsor links found on the webpage as well.

Thanking you in advance.

Stuart Schlossman

MS In Balance Seminars



MS in Balance is a program designed for you, to help you connect with the MS community. These seminars feature inspiring talks with MS LifeLines(sm) Ambassadors and much more. At these exciting events you can:

* Learn about MS from experienced physicians
* Meet and exchange ideas with others with MS
* Receive complimentary educational materials

Click here to find a seminar near you:
http://www.mslifelines.com/connect_commune/events/index.jsp

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Multiple Sclerosis Drug Combats Vision Loss

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter


TUESDAY, April 17 (HealthDay News) -- A controversial multiple sclerosis drug called Tysabri also reduces vision loss associated with the disease by 47 percent, a new study found.

"Vision loss is probably one of the most disabling things that happens to people with MS," said lead researcher Dr. Laura J. Balcer, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "The exciting thing is, first, that we now have an eye-chart test that can pick that up and can show if treatments help vision. Second, this particular drug appears to help prevent vision loss."

In the study, Balcer's group looked at the results of two trials -- called AFFIRM and SENTINEL -- that included 2,138 people with relapsing MS. More than half the patients received Tysabri (generic name natalizumab) every four weeks for two years.

To evaluate eyesight, the researchers used a specially developed eye chart of low contrast letters. They found vision loss was reduced by as much as 47 percent among the people taking Tysabri, compared with those taking a placebo.

"Vision is one more dimension of MS that the drug helps," Balcer said. "It has already been shown that the drug reduces the rates of relapses and disability."

Balcer thinks that other MS drugs may have similar effects on vision, and there is now a test that can be included in trials to evaluate this. "Now, we can get to see how these other medications may help vision," she said.

The findings are published in the April 17 issue of the journal Neurology.

Tysabri's history has been marked by some controversy.

It received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in November 2004, only to be pulled from the market three months later after several patients in clinical trials developed a rare but deadly viral infection of the brain called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. In June 2006, the FDA allowed the drug to return to the mart, but with strict conditions. According to the new guidelines, Tysabri can only be administered by approved doctors, infusion sites and pharmacies that register and comply with a patient-safety program designed by Biogen-IDEC, the maker of Tysabri, and approved by the FDA.

One expert thinks that despite the vision benefit, Tysabri should be reserved for patients with aggressive MS or those who failed other medications.

"This study confirms the benefits of this particular MS drug in relapsing MS patients," said Dr. Anne H. Cross, a professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis. "In addition, it validates the use of a new vision test which is relevant to MS."

But the benefit to vision doesn't negate the risks associated with the drug, Cross said. "I don't think I will change my prescribing habits based upon this paper," she said. "I will probably continue to use it in the same type of patients I have been using it in in the past."

However, Nicholas LaRocca, the director of health care delivery and policy research at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said the new study provides additional insight into the benefits of the drug and may influence the decision whether to start using it or not.

"For patients who are on natalizumab or considering natalizumab, this gives them another piece of information to consider as they are trying to make their decision," he said.

According to the U.S.National Institutes of Health, multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that can range from relatively benign to somewhat disabling to devastating, as communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted. Many researchers believe MS to be an autoimmune disease -- one in which the body, through its immune system, launches a defensive attack against its own tissues. In the case of MS, it is the nerve-insulating myelin that comes under assault.

More information

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society can tell you more about multiple sclerosis.