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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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CHAMPIONS TACKLING MS - AWARDS Dinner, Honoring Aaron Boster, MD and Jon e. Glaser, DDS - now open for registration. Visit www.events.msvn.org

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions About Multiple Sclerosis


1. What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease, whereby the body's own immune system, which normally targets and destroys substances foreign to the body such as bacteria, mistakenly attacks normal tissues. In MS, the immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system).

2. What Causes Multiple Sclerosis?

Doctors still don't understand what causes multiple sclerosis, but there are interesting data that suggest that genetics, a person's environment, and possibly even a virus may play a role.
Researchers believe that MS may be inherited (passed on from parents to children). First, second and third degree relatives of people with MS are at increased risk of developing the disease. Siblings of an affected person have a 2%-5% risk of developing MS.
Some scientists theorize that MS develops because a person is born with a genetic predisposition to react to some environmental agent, which, upon exposure, triggers an autoimmune response.
In addition, some studies have suggested that many viruses such as measles, herpes, and the flu viruses may be associated with MS. To date, however, this belief has not been proven.

3. What Are the Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?

The onset of multiple sclerosis may be dramatic or so mild that a person doesn't even notice any symptoms.
The most common early symptoms of MS include:
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Loss of balance
  • Weakness in one or more limbs
  • Blurred or double vision
Less common symptoms may include:
  • Slurred speech
  • Sudden onset of paralysis
  • Lack of coordination
  • Problems with thinking and processing information
As the disease progresses, other symptoms may include heat sensitivity, fatigue, changes in thinking or perception, and sexual disturbances.
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Tysabri reports 10 more brain disease cases


Saturday, February 19, 2011
THE owners of multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri have reported a further 10 cases of the rare brain disease PML as a side-effect of using the treatment.

The latest monthly update on cases shows that eight of the cases — identified among Tysabri users in January — were in patients in Europe, with the other two in the US.

Tysabri is jointly owned by US pharmaceutical firm Biogen Idec and Ireland’s Elan. The Dublin-headquartered company doesn’t comment on PML numbers but is currently working on trials for a new blood test to determine the existence of the JC virus in MS sufferers.

The existence of the virus is viewed as being an indicator of PML (Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy). The blood test is likely to become commercially available later this year, with 15,000 people in the US having already taken part in the clinical trial format.

The new cases of PML bring to 95 the total number of Tysabri-users who have contracted the potentially fatal brain disease, with 20 having died from it. Of those 95 cases, 52 were in Europe, with the remainder in the US.

While slightly up on previous months, the rate of new cases is still well within the accepted risk ratio.

"The total of 10 new cases in the last month is substantially ahead of average case levels of four to five per month. One month doesn’t make a trend, but the data may be more closely observed in coming months as a result by physicians, regulators and investors alike," said Jack Gorman of Davy Stockbrokers.

 This appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Saturday, February 19, 2011

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Fighting flare-ups of multiple sclerosis



Call it a flare-up, call it an exacerbation -- whatever you call it, you can't call it fun. Exacerbations of multiple sclerosis are the periodic, sudden worsening of symptoms that so many people with relapsing-remitting MS experience on a regular basis. You're walking along fine when you notice numbness in your right leg. Or suddenly you have double vision. If those symptoms last at least 24 hours, you're going through an exacerbation.
"Exacerbation is a more rapid evolution of new symptoms or worsening of old symptoms than just the overall progression of the disease by itself," says John Richert, MD, vice president for research and programs with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. "It comes on over a period of hours or days, as opposed to a slow progression that occurs over months and years."

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Study Suggests (Sun exposure) Vitamin D Levels May Have Role in Protecting Against Multiple Sclerosis


Feb. 7, 2011 -- Higher vitamin D levels and exposure to sunlight appear to be independently protective against multiple sclerosis, a progressive autoimmune disease that affects around 400,000 Americans.
In a newly published study from Australia that included people with and without early signs of multiple sclerosis (MS), sun exposure and vitamin D levels each predicted disease risk.
It has long been recognized that MS is a disease of latitudes, with high rates reported in colder climates and lower rates seen in tropical ones.
Some previous studies have also found low vitamin D levels to be associated with higher risk for MS. Others have suggested that taking vitamin D supplements may protect against the disease.
But there have also been suggestions that vitamin D -- which is produced by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight -- was only part of the story, study researcher Robyn Lucas, PhD, tells WebMD.
In a study published last spring, researchers reported that sun exposure protected against an MS-like disease in genetically susceptible mice and that the protection was not fully explained by the mice’s vitamin D levels.
“We really can’t say at this point if vitamin D is important or if it is just a reflection of sun exposure,” she says.
Sunlight exposes the body to both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Vitamin D production increases mainly with exposure to UVB, but Lucas says some of the protection against MS could come from UVA rays.

Continue Reading from WebMD

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"Providing You with 'MS Views and News'is what we do"
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Remain CURRENT with educational information of
 Multiple Sclerosis when registered at
the MS Views and News  website.
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Disclaimer:  'MS Views and News' (MSVN), 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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