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Friday, February 10, 2012

Caltech researchers report potential MS breakthrough



February 9, 2012
Caltech researchers report a possible breakthrough in multiple sclerosis medicine in the latest issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.
Scientists led by Paul Patterson, the Biaggini Professor of Biological Sciences at Caltech, have found a way to use tissue from the brain to help heal neurons damaged by the disease. The scientists developed a gene therapy to stimulate production of specialized nerve cells called oligodendrocytes that make material that protects neurons.
The therapy uses leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), a naturally occurring protein.


“We're using the brain's own progenitor cells as a way to boost repair," Benjamin Deverman, a postdoctoral biology student at Caltech and lead author of the paper, said in a statement.
"This new application of LIF is an avenue of therapy that has not been explored in human patients with MS," Deverman said, adding the therapy might also help spinal-cord injury patients. Patterson and Deverman, who’ve done their initial research on mice, plan to develop their research to bring it closer to potential human clinical trials.
-- Bill Kisliuk, Times Community News
Source:  Pasadena Sun


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New book offers advice on speaking to MS patients



Author: Ursula Pari, Anchor


San Antonio - Dr. Dee Kite has written numerous books from fiction to self-help, but her latest one -- “The Dumbest Things Smart People Say… To Folks With MS” -- is the most personal. 
It is written with the help of hundreds of Multiple Sclerosis patients like herself, who wrote into websites about the inappropriate and hurtful encounters with mostly well-meaning folks.
Kite, who also works as a life coach out of her Olmos Park home, has suffered from MS since she was a grad student but was not diagnosed with the disease until many years later.
She says the diagnosis was more like being "set free" than anything else, since she finally had an explanation for her numbness in her extremities and extreme fatigue.
Then came the many suggestions and comments from folks regarding the disease. 
"Because we look so good, how could we possibly feel so bad? 'Why can’t you get up?' [they’d say],” Kite said.
From suggesting she go get stung by bees to some natural concoction, Kite says these well-meaning comments really hurt. 
“I thought, 'This might be a fun page to put on my website for my clients with MS,' because we could all commiserate,” she remembered.
After a few years, she realized she had enough for the book and published the resulting paperback.


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Documentary explores controversial MS treatment for CCSVI


BY JONATHAN HAMELIN, POSTMEDIA NEWS FEBRUARY 9, 2012

Anecdotes may be considered an inadequate form of medical evidence, but enough positive ones can inspire people to act.

This is proven in the latest documentary by Regina filmmakers, Leif Kaldor and Leslea Mair, called MS Wars: Hope, Science and the Internet, which is airing this month on CBC's The Nature of Things with David Suzuki.

Due to the many positive testimonials posted on the Internet from people undergoing the controversial MS treatment known as liberation therapy, the multiple sclerosis community in Canada put pressure on the government to introduce clinical trials, which are to proceed this year.

``When you start to assemble a large number of anecdotes, that becomes a large body of evidence,'' said Kaldor, writer/director. ``These people started to assemble that evidence, until it got to a point where they couldn't just say it's an individual story.''

More than two million people worldwide are affected by MS, a neurological disease that affects the ability of nerve cells in the brain to communicate, leading to impairment or destruction of the spinal cord.

The documentary centres on Italian vascular surgeon Paolo Zamboni's findings published in 2009. He discovered that people with MS typically have blockages in the veins in their necks, which carry blood the brain. He had conducted clinical trials in Italy, inserting balloons into patients' blocked veins to widen them. Afterward, most reported having less fatigue and more energy and balance.

The medical community was split on what to make of Zamboni's findings. In Canada, the government initially rejected clinical trials until more research was done.

Waiting was not an option for some Canadians with MS, however, so they paid thousands of dollars to travel to places that offered the procedure, such as Costa Rica and Poland. Some posted before-and-after videos online, showing them jumping or doing yoga poses - activities that were impossible before.

However, critics claim that advocates of liberation therapy fail to mention that some Canadians have died from the procedure. And even when the procedure works, the effects don't always last.



CONTINUE Reading



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Treating Early MS By Targeting Inflammation?



Laurie L. Barclay, MD
Posted: 02/09/2012

Inflammatory Cortical Demyelination in Early Multiple Sclerosis

Lucchinetti CF, Popescu BF, Bunyan RF, et al
N Engl J Med. 2011;365:2188-2197

Study Summary

In multiple sclerosis (MS), cortical disease is associated with disease progression and cognitive impairment. Although MRI studies suggest that cortical lesions occur early in the disease course, most studies of cortical lesions have been autopsy studies in patients with long-standing, chronic, progressive MS. These studies suggest that cortical lesions are not associated with inflammation.
Lucchinetti and colleagues examined the prevalence and nature of demyelinating cortical lesions in patients with MS using cortical tissues obtained during stereotactic biopsy sampling of white-matter lesions. Of 563 patients screened, 138 had sufficient cortex in the biopsy sample for assessment of cortical demyelination. Immunohistochemistry allowed determination in cortical lesions of demyelinating activity, inflammatory infiltrates, meningeal inflammation, and topographic association between cortical demyelination and meningeal inflammation. A subgroup of 77 patients (56%) had confirmation of diagnoses at the last follow-up visit, at a median of 3.5 years.
Cortical demyelination was present in 38% of patients. Of 31 patients with cortical demyelination who underwent long-term follow-up, 25 (81%) had definite MS compared with 72% of patients without cortical demyelination. Characteristics of inflammatory cortical demyelination were CD3+ T-cell infiltrates in 82%, and macrophage-associated demyelination in 41%. Among patients with sufficient meningeal tissue for study, meningeal inflammation was topographically associated with cortical demyelination.

Medscape Neurology © 2012 WebMD, LLC


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An MS Patient's story on PML


Angela created the video found here in October 2010. 


This video is very informative and so, I needed to share it


I hope she recovered from the PML


Click the above link and comment to this blog posting if you want.


..
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an MS Patients' Story about medication called Nuedexta for Pseudobulbar affect


First - for those that do not know, Nuedexta is a new medication for Pseudobulbar Affect.
PseudoBulbar Affect is Uncontrollable Laughing or Crying


Click here to watch and listen to this patient's story on  YouTube




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Thursday, February 9, 2012

ABOUT Half of Patients With MS Do Not Take Disease-Modifying Medication Within Four Years of Diagnosis



A referral to a neurologist may be a mitigating factor for expanded treatment with medication among patients with MS.

AMSTERDAM—About half of insured patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the United States do not take disease-modifying drugs within four years of diagnosis, according to a study presented at the Fifth Joint Triennial Congress of the European and Americas Committees for Treatment and Research in MS.

Comorbid conditions, such as depression and inflammatory arthritis, may influence patients’ decision not to use medication. Consultation with a neurologist, however, was associated with expanded use of therapeutic drugs, which increased yearly, according to the study.

The reasons that so many patients with MS do not take medication are unclear. “Some of these patients had not seen a neurologist. Some had forms of MS where there is no treatment. Others have mild MS and preferred no treatment,” Lawrence Steinman, MD, Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, told Neurology Reviews. “These are just speculative comments,” he added.

Although the benefits of pharmaceutical treatments for MS have been established, it is uncertain which patient populations are more likely to take disease-modifying drugs. A group led by Dr. Steinman studied insurance claims to determine the patient characteristics associated with use of therapeutic drugs.

Using insurance claims made between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2007, the researchers created a cohort of 32,083 patients with MS, each of whom had had six months of continuous insurance coverage before filling his or her first prescription. The patients’ mean age was roughly 45, and about 75% of patients were female. The team excluded from the study patients first dispensed with immunosuppressants or other medicines.

Among patients treated with a drug, 9,541 first used interferon agents, and 5,212 began by using glatiramer acetate. During the six-month baseline period, the mean age of the treated patients was 45. The cohort included 16,434 patients who used no therapy during the observation period. The mean age of untreated patients during the six-month baseline period was 46.



Continue Reading



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