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Friday, July 9, 2010

Sleep Disorders Common in Multiple Sclerosis

From Medscape Medical News - By: Jim Kling

July 8, 2010 (San Antonio, Texas) — Sleep disorders are highly prevalent in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and may exacerbate fatigue associated with the condition, according to a study presented here at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers 24th Annual Conference and the Third Joint Meeting of Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis.
To determine the prevalence and nature of sleep disorders in MS patients, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, conducted a prospective study of 100 patients (81 women; mean age, 40 years), recording demographic information, type of MS, date of diagnosis, use of tobacco and alcohol, sleeping habits, caffeine consumption, and medical history, including current and previous treatments and other medical conditions. Patients with congestive heart failure, primary respiratory disorders, obstructive respiratory disorders, or another neurodegenerative condition were excluded.
Half of patients were receiving interferon treatment, 17% glatiramer acetate, 22% natalizumab, and 11% other treatment regimens. Nine percent of patients had a family history of sleep disorders.
Participants were given a sleep disorder questionnaire and were scored on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
Pilar Prieto, MD, an MS fellow at the Baylor College of Medicine, reported the study findings. She said that 40% of patients reported current sleep disturbances with a score of 9 or greater on the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and 87.5% of these patients experienced significant fatigue. The most commonly reported sleep disturbances was difficulty falling asleep. The second most common concern was frequent awakenings.
"If we can modify these factors and give them a good night's rest, we can make a big change in their life," Dr. Prieto told Medscape Medical News. "As physicians we need to look further if the patient has fatigue. We can't only blame MS. It could be something else. "[Sleep disorders] could be one of the causes of fatigue," she noted.
The prevalence of sleep disorders is likely related to the severity of the MS, according to Randall Schapiro, MD, clinical professor of neurology at the University of Minnesota, who attended the session.
"A prevalence of sleep disorders of 40% would surprise me if the patients had an EDSS [Expanded Disability Status Scale] of 2. If they had an EDSS of 6 or 7, it wouldn't surprise me," Dr. Schapiro told Medscape Medical News.
Dr. Schapiro agreed that sleep disorders are an important factor in MS patients: "Fatigue is a common problem in MS, and we need to look for treatable causes of it. Sleep disorders are one of those causes. What this shows you is that probably we should be doing more sleep studies in MS patients."
The study did not receive commercial support. Dr. Prieto and Dr. Schapiro have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers 24th Annual Conference and the Third Joint Meeting of Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (CMSC): Abstract S07. Presented June 4, 2010.
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Natalizumab Improves Language Processing in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis

From Medscape Medical News - by: Jim Kling



July 7, 2010 (San Antonio, Texas) — Treatment with natalizumab (Tysabri, Biogen Idec and Elan) leads to improved language processing and retrieval of newly learned verbal material in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to research presented here at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers 24th Annual Conference and the Third Joint Meeting of Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis.
The researchers compared the effects of natalizumab with treatment with other disease-modifying therapies in patients with MS. The study included 46 patients taking natalizumab (mean ± SD age, 43.2 ± 9.1 years; mean ± SD years of education, 15.1 ± 2.5 years; 76% female; mean ± SD intertest interval, 14.9 ± 3.9 months; mean ± SD Expanded Disability Status Scale [EDSS] score, 3.8 ± 2.2; and disease duration <5 years, 9%; 5 – 10 years, 50%; and >10 years, 41%).
Investigators with South Shore Neurologic Associates of Patchogue, New York, and NeuroTrax Corporation of Newark, New Jersey, tested patients with a 30- to 60-minute computerized test designed to assess mild cognitive impairment (Mindstreams, NeuroTrax Corp). Patients were tested once, either before treatment or early in the treatment cycle (0-3 infusions), and again after the completion of more extended treatment (>9 infusions).
The comparison group included 37 stable patients, of whom 10 were receiving Avonex, 5 Betaseron, 5 Rebif, 5 CombiRX, 4 Copaxone, and 8 no treatment. In this group, mean ± SD age was 45.8 ± 10.8 years; mean ± SD years of education was 14.9 ± 3.6 years; 78% were female; mean ± SD intertest interval was 18.3 ± 5.0 months; mean ± SD EDSS score was 2.8 ± 1.8; and disease duration was less than 5 years for 32%, 5 to 10 years for 43%, and more than 10 years for 24%.
The researchers used repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) to assess improvements in EDSS, age- and education-adjusted cognitive domain scores, and raw data from individual tests. To measure effect size, the researchers computed Cohen's d (<.05 [1-tailed] was considered significant). The team used mixed-model ANOVA, controlled for EDSS, to analyze change over time between the groups.


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Thursday, July 8, 2010

University of South Florida granted patent for cell transplantation procedure

June 8, 2010

Umbilical cord blood cells and mannitol pass the blood-brain barrier


The University of South Florida's Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair has been granted a patent for a cell transplantation procedure combining human umbilical cord blood (HUCB) cells and a sugar-alcohol compound called "mannitol" that may make a big difference in treating life-threatening neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's diseaseParkinson's disease,multiple sclerosis and stroke, among others.

The technology administers the neuroprotective effect of umbilical cord blood cells along with mannitol to permeabilize the blood-brain barrier, allowing for the increased entry of therapeutic growth factors. Saneron CCEL Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology R&D USF spin-out company located at the Tampa Bay Technology Incubator, has licensed the technology.


The technology administers the neuroprotective effect of umbilical cord blood cells along with mannitol to permeabilize the blood-brain barrier, allowing for the increased entry of therapeutic growth factors. Saneron CCEL Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology R&D USF spin-out company located at the Tampa Bay Technology Incubator, has licensed the technology.


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New MS treatment (for CCSVI) promising but not proven

June 8, 2010

Man with multiple sclerosis says new test should be available in NL
BY JASON TEAKLE 
The Nor'wester


Alex Harrold has multiple sclerosis, but a new treatment now being offered in countries such as Poland and India, he says is a huge leap in research and the most promising thing he's seen in treating MS.

The treatment, which operates on the research premise of MS being caused by blockages in veins of the neck, a vascular problem, instead of the widely-accepted belief among the medical community and people with MS that it is a neurological disease, is convincing some Newfoundland and Labrador residents with MS to go as far as Europe and Asia for treatments, and to British Columbia for an initial test to determine if there are blockages in a person's veins.

"It's the absolute most promising thing I've seen in 20 years," said Mr. Harrold. "Nothing has ever excited me like this."

Mr. Harrold says though his friends and family want him to try the treatment, he has not made that decision, saying he wants to see more research and results before he considers undergoing it.

"I haven't made that decision yet," says Mr. Harrold. "I'm more interested in moving this faster in Canada."

Mr. Harrold has contacted provincial health minister Jerome Kennedy to advocate for Newfoundland and Labrador's health care system to make the test available in the province.

"Before people start going willy-nilly to Poland and India, we need to see more results," he said. "Forget about the treatment, we need the test available in Newfoundland and Labrador."'

Mr. Harrold added he suggested to Mr. Kennedy that the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming while advocating for the test to be brought to the province.

"There are MS people coming out of the woodwork," he said.

He said there are only about 1,000 people with MS in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the MS population is static.

Mr. Harrold said he hopes the province's relatively low MS population will still be enough people to make bringing a test here worthwhile and feasible.



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Breaching The Blood/Brain Barrier To Improve Treatment For Neurodegenerative Diseases

June 8, 2010

The University of South Florida's Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair has been granted a patent for a cell transplantation procedure combining human umbilical cord blood (HUCB) cells and a sugar-alcohol compound called "mannitol" that may make a big difference in treating life-threatening neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke, among others. 

The technology administers the neuroprotective effect of umbilical cord blood cells along with mannitol to permeabilize the blood-brain barrier, allowing for the increased entry of therapeutic growth factors. Saneron CCEL Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology R&D USF spin-out company located at the Tampa Bay Technology Incubator, has licensed the technology. 



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New Studies Show the MS Drugs Don’t Slow Progression

By: Ashton Embry, July 7, 2010

Five years ago, I wrote a New Pathways column on the value of the
commonly used, CRAB drugs (Copaxone, Rebif, Avonex, Betaseron)
for MS. It was based on published evaluations by the Cochrane
Collaboration, an organization which is free from drug company
influence. Based on their objective analyses, my unavoidable
conclusion was that “the available data on the effectiveness of the MS
drugs indicates that there is very little evidence that the interferons do
much good and that there is no evidence at all that Copaxone has any
value.”

Not surprisingly, this conclusion did not sit well with many people who
were taking the drugs and it was completely ignored (as were the
Cochrane analyses) by the neurologists who over the past 5 years
have kept prescribing the drugs as fast as they can. The annual
revenues from MS drugs is approaching the 10 billion dollar mark,
much to the satisfaction of both the drug companies that produce them
and the neurologists and MS societies that receive substantial financial
and in-kind benefits from those drug companies.

 
Continue Reading Ashton's report  by clicking here


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Struggling with Tight, Stiff Muscles? Take Control of Severe Spasticity!!

Information obtained from the MS World e-newsletter

Register for the July 13th Webcast...

If you are not available on July 13th, please register to be notified when the recorded webcast is ready for viewing anytime 24/7...


MSWorld is partnering with Medtronic and other patient groups, including Brain Injury Assoc. of America, National Spinal Cord Injury Assoc., National Stroke Assoc., & United Cerebral Palsy to promote a program to Take Control of Severe Spasticity.
Date: Tuesday, July 13, 7 PM CT (8 PM ET)
For Webcast instructions and registration visit: www.ReleaseYourPotential.com 

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British lass saddles up American style, for MS

This is a story of "another person" who wants to DO. To be heard. And to Make a Difference.
I, and others, should applaud her efforts. Clap-Clap


June 7,2010
WEST HARTFORD – The adventurous desire of one British woman found her saddled up on a motorcycle and heading down highways leading to scenic Connecticut back roads. Diane Freer, who now resides in West Hartford, is one of several women calling herself an Iron Maiden in a fight against multiple sclerosis.

 Feeding a growing interest in motorcycle riding, Freer surfed the Internet to learn more. In her search she stumbled across an article about the Iron Maidens, a group of women bikers who united their passion for riding with a passion to find a cure for MS.

A few months later, while out to eat with a friend whose pastime included riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, Freer shared with him her desire to take up riding. Sue Petruzzi was within earshot. As fate would have it, she was a member of the Iron Maidens fundraising team of which Freer had read about months earlier. Petruzzi chimed in and a new recruit was born. From this chance encounter a lasting friendship began.

Continue reading Diane's story by clicking here



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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How to Prepare for an Appointment with Your MS Neurologist

Advance planning can make a difference in your visit, and your health

By , About.com Guide
Created June 28, 2010



You have not seen your neuro for 6 months. In that time, you have had many moments where you said to yourself, “I should ask my doc about this weird twitch/possible side effect/thoughts on switching to new drugs when they become available” or any other number of things that would be a topic to discuss with the person who works with you to figure out medical mysteries and writes your prescriptions. The day of your appointment rolls around and your doctor walks in the door, smiling and asking how you are. You are staring at the folder in his hands, which contains the results of your routine MRI. That is all you can focus on, so you say, “fine,” searching his face for clues as to whether you actually are fine or not. Even after he reassures you that the scans look good and specifically asks you about symptoms or medication concerns, you simply cannot remember much of anything besides the fact that your feet still tingle and your injection was uncomfortable last night. You leave the appointment feeling slightly relieved by your MRI results, but frustrated because you know that there were many questions that you did not ask.

Any of that sound familiar? 

A weird phenomenon happens when many of us go to see our doctors – we seem to have the idea that they are going to take over and figure everything out for us, based on a scan and the snapshot of our symptoms that they see during the short time that we are in their exam room. This happens to the same people that look up menus online before deciding which restaurant to go to for dinner or read (and compare) book reviews before checking anything out of the library. Regardless of why we may have gone to our neurologist unprepared in the past, it is important that we get more strategic about our health and help our docs help us.

How to Prepare for Your Appointment

Treat your doctor’s appointments like important business meetings – prepare for them. You probably would have a list of questions ready before going to see any other professionals (an accountant, a lawyer, a realtor), and it just makes sense to get your thoughts and questions organized before seeing your doctor. Don’t think that you are overstepping your boundaries – it is respectful to come prepared to an appointment. Make a pledge to yourself to do this before every doctor’s appointment. Here are some suggestions for getting prepared:

Step 1: Update your doctor. Write out a few bullet points that summarize how you feel and what is happening. (See How to Talk to Your Doctor About Pain (or Anything Else) to make sure that you include relevant information about how your MS symptoms are affecting you.) Be short and to the point, but don’t leave out anything that might be important. Be sure to include any lifestyle adjustments you are making, including changes in diet, exercise and supplements. Also let your doctor know about any alternative providers you are seeing, such as acupuncturists, chiropractors and massage therapists.

CONTINUE with this needed read for many

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