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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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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Robarts researchers leading battle on MS

Provided by: Sun Media ( C-Health)
Written by: JOHN MINER -
Jul. 26, 2008

Research funded by a $50,000 grant from Cuddy

Multiple sclerosis research being launched at Robarts Research Institute aims to find a way to repair damage from the disease, not just prevent new damage.

"It really is a nasty disease. It hits people in the prime of life," said Robarts scientist Dr. Paula Foster, who is leading the research effort that will focus on using stem cells.

"They can be stable for a year or they can be stable for a month and they don't know if the next attack will be worse or not so bad."

Often diagnosed in individuals in their 20s and 30s, multiple sclerosis attacks the protective myelin that covers nerves, resulting in breaks in the transmission of signals from the brain to the rest of the body.

Current treatments for the disease, which afflicts about 75,000 Canadians, are drugs that suppress the body's immune system.

"They do not promote any cell recovery and the body's own ability to restore new cells is very limited in the brain and the spinal cord," said Foster.

Scientists in several centres have been working on stem cell therapies with some results showing promise.

But a barrier to the research is there hasn't been a good way for researchers to actually see how the stem cells are performing in the body.

That's where the Robarts research comes in.

Using a new technique called cellular MRI, Foster plans to track the stem cells and answer the questions of where the best site is to implant the cells and how many stem cells need to be used.

"We will be able to watch these cells in a living animal," Foster said.

Foster's research is being supported with a $50,000 gift from Cuddy Farm Corporation and Trudell Medical through the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The money will create the A.M. Cuddy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Robarts in honour of Mac Cuddy, a London-area business leader who died from MS in 2006.

His estate previously donated more than $1 million to Robarts.

Foster said the $50,000 gift will speed up her research.

"This award allows us to start earlier . . . I'm excited."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Antihistamines Can Worsen MS-Related Fatigue

Info provided By Julie Stachowiak, Ph.D., About.com
Updated: July 18, 2008

Fatigue Can Be a Side Effect of These Antihistamine Medications


Fatigue and Multiple Sclerosis

Most of us with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) suffer from fatigue. In fact, an estimated 70% of people with MS say that fatigue is their most disabling symptom. While much of our fatigue comes from the disease process itself or MS-related heat intolerance, there are many secondary causes of fatigue in MS. One thing that may be contributing to your fatigue could actually be some of the medications that you are taking to slow your MS or deal with specific symptoms. If you suffer from MS-related fatigue, it is important to investigate all possible causes, including side effects from some of your medications.

Use of Antihistamines By People With Multiple Sclerosis

Histamines are chemicals released by the body’s inflammatory cells during an allergic reaction, which results in classic allergy symptoms such as itching, sneezing, runny nose, congestion and irritated eyes. Antihistamines block the actions of these histamines, thereby reducing the allergic response.

Many of us all have allergies from time to time, and antihistamines can make us much less miserable. You should know, however, that antihistamines can contribute to fatigue, even if they are used as nasal sprays or eye drops. Also, be aware that many of these can be purchased over-the-counter but still have side effects. They are commonly mixed in with other medications to provide multisymptom relief, such as cold and flu medications, and often available as “store brands,” so look carefully at the list of active ingredients. They are also often specifically added to other drugs (Tylenol PM or NiQuil) to help people sleep. Be aware that even some of the “nondrowsy” allergy medications can still affect those of us struggling with MS-related fatigue enough to be noticed.

The bottom line is to use antihistamines wisely – speak with your neurologist if you suspect that your fatigue is worsened by the use of your antihistamines. Maybe he or she can help you find another solution.

But “Fatigue” Isn’t Listed as a Side Effect of My Drug:

Most of the medications listed below have “tiredness” or “drowsiness” as a potential side effect. Some list “dizziness” or “weakness.” Others also have side effects, such as “sweating,” “trembling,” “difficulty breathing,” “lightheadedness,” “flushing,” “confusion,” “nausea/vomiting” or “fainting spells.” For someone that does not have MS, many of these effects could just be a passing annoyance. For those of us, though, who battle MS-related fatigue on a daily basis, any of the discomforts listed above may be enough to tip the balance between a good day and a bad day, fatiguewise.

Note to My Non-U.S. Friends: The list below includes brand names of drugs prescribed in the United States. For people in other countries, please refer to the generic name of the medication, which may be spelled differently depending on the country. Thanks for your understanding.

List of Antihistamines that Can Contribute to Fatigue in People with MS

Azelastine (Astelin): An antihistamine that is available as an eye solution or nasal spray.

Cetirizine (Zyrtec): An antihistamine that is used to treat both seasonal and year-round allergies as well as to treat hives and chronic itchy skin. It is available as chewable tablets, oral syrup or tablets.

Chlorpheniramine (Aller-Chlor, Chlor-Trimeton, and Teldrin as an ingredient in many store brands of allergy medicines): An antihistamine used to treat symptoms of allergies and colds. It is available as oral syrup, effervescent tablets, tablets or capsules.

Diphenhydramine (Benedryl): An antihistimine that reduces allergic reactions and vertigo, available as an injection, oral syrup or elixir, solution, tablets or capsules. It is also found in many types of cold medications or nighttime pain relief medicine (Advil PM, Tylenol PM) to help people sleep.

Loratadine (Claritin): An antihistamine to help relieve allergy symptoms, such as hay fever and itching. It is available as oral syrup or solution or tablets.

Phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine): Specifically for eye allergies or symptoms, available as eye solution, nose drops, spray, jelly, quick-dissolve strips or tablets.

Doxylamine (Unisom Sleeptabs, NyQuil, many store brands): This is an antihistamine that is primarily used as a sleep aid, either added to other medications or by itself. It is available as tablets, capsules or syrups.


READ MORE by visiting the aboutMS.com website


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Celebrate Second Anniversary of TYSABRI(R) for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

Yahoo Finance Press Release
Source: Biogen Idec and Elan Corporation, plc

Biogen Idec and Elan Celebrate Second Anniversary of TYSABRI(R) for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis


Tuesday July 22, 2:00 am ET

TYSABRI's Benefits Continue to Drive Product's Growth with More Than 31,800 Patients Receiving Treatment


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & DUBLIN, Ireland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB - News) and Elan Corporation, plc (NYSE: ELN - News) today announced the two-year anniversary of TYSABRI® (natalizumab) as a treatment for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), marking the reintroduction of the product in the United States (US) and the first international approval. The companies estimate that as of the end of June 2008, more than 31,800 patients worldwide are receiving TYSABRI treatment.

>> Read More

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Opexa Conducts Additional Analysis on Phase I/II Extension Study with Tovaxin(R) for Multiple Sclerosis

Press Release Source: Opexa Therapeutics, Inc.
Yahoo Finance

Opexa Conducts Additional Analysis on Phase I/II Extension Study with Tovaxin(R) for Multiple Sclerosis -
Tuesday July 22, 8:00 am ET


THE WOODLANDS, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Opexa Therapeutics, Inc., a company leading in the development of cell therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS) and diabetes, has completed an internal assessment of data from its Phase I/II two year extension study with Tovaxin in patients with MS. While confirming the favorable safety and efficacy profile of Tovaxin, further analysis also confirms both the benefit of consecutive annual treatments with Tovaxin and the advantage of tailoring each vaccination to the patient’s changing disease profile.

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Study To Investigate Link Between Cannabis Compound And Slowing Of Multiple Sclerosis

Study To Investigate Link Between Cannabis Compound And Slowing Of Multiple Sclerosis

Article Date: 22 Jul 2008 - 4:00 PDT


The CUPID (Cannabinoid Use in Progressive Inflammatory brain Disease) study at the Peninsula Medical School in Plymouth has reached an important milestone with the news that the full cohort of 493 people with multiple sclerosis (MS) has been recruited to the study.

CUPID is a clinical trial which will evaluate whether tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of many compounds found in the in the cannabis plant (and the main active ingredient) is able to slow the progression of MS.

READ entire article at Medical News Today

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HLA-DRB1(*)15 allele influences the later course of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis

HLA-DRB1(*)15 allele influences the later course of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis.

Cournu-Rebeix I, Génin E, Leray E, Babron MC, Cohen J, Gout C, Alizadeh M, Perdry H, Semana G, Brassat D, Clerget-Darpoux F, Yaouanq J, Edan G, Rosenheim M, Fontaine B.

[1] 1INSERM, UMRS 546, Paris, France [2] 2Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Paris, France [3] 3Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, Fédération des Maladies du Système Nerveux, Paris, France.

Most of the published works so far have aimed at finding genes associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) susceptibility. Very few studies have attempted to correlate disease features with DNA variants.

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Brain responses to verbal stimuli among multiple sclerosis patients with pseudobulbar affect

J Neurol Sci. 2008 Aug 15;271(1-2):137-147. Epub 2008 May 27 (Pre-released)

Brain responses to verbal stimuli among multiple sclerosis patients with pseudobulbar affect.

Haiman G, Pratt H, Miller A.

Multiple Sclerosis & Brain Research Czenter, Department of Neurology, Carmel Medical Center, Haifa, Israel; Evoked Potentials Laboratory, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Israel; Rappaport Faculty of Medicine and Research Institute, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.

PURPOSE: To characterize the brain activity and associated cortical structures involved in pseudobulbar affect (PBA), a condition characterized by uncontrollable episodes of emotional lability in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

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Neuroanatomy of pseudobulbar affect

J Neurol. 2008 Mar;255(3):406-12. Epub 2008 Feb 26

Neuroanatomy of pseudobulbar affect : a quantitative MRI study in multiple sclerosis.
Ghaffar O, Chamelian L, Feinstein A.

Neuropsychiatry Division, Dept. of Psychiatry, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, FG08-2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON M4N 3M5, Canada.

Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is defined as episodes of involuntary crying, laughing, or both in the absence of a matching subjective mood state. This neuropsychiatric syndrome can be found in a number of neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis (MS). The aim of this study was to identify neuroanatomical correlates of PBA in multiple sclerosis (MS) using a case-control 1.5T MRI study. MS patients with (n = 14) and without (n = 14) PBA were matched on demographic, disease course, and disability variables.

Comorbid psychiatric disorders including depressive and anxiety disorders were absent. Hypo- and hyperintense lesion volumes plus measurements of atrophy were obtained and localized anatomically according to parcellated brain regions.

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Atlas of MS publication promotion work begins at MSIF

Atlas of MS publication promotion work begins at MSIF

MSIF is working with the World Health Organization to produce the Atlas of MS. This major collaboration used a survey to determine the global epidemiology of MS and the resources to diagnose, inform, treat, rehabilitate, manage, support and provide services to people with MS in different countries.

Read More at MSIF

New Venezuelan MS Association

The Asociación Venezolana de Esclerosis Múltiple (AVEDEM) was established on 8 July 2008 in Valencia, Venezuela.

Currently the association has 32 members and is already carrying out a range of activities for people with MS.

On Sunday 13 July, a group of 15 AVEDEM members and their families spent the day in the country home of therapist Sr Reucar Galindez in Bejuma where they enjoyed food, a film and a relaxation workshop. Prior to the day, AVEDEM worked with local radio station, Radio America, in encouraging people to attend.

AVEDEM Day Trip – July 08

For Asociación Venezolana de Esclerosis Múltiple contact details, please click here.


Source: Asociación Venezolana de Esclerosis Múltiple

My source: THE MSIF