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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Diet, Smoking May Affect MS Progression



FRIDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- Dietary factors and cigarette smoking may alter the course of disease in patients with a milder form of multiple sclerosis, a new study finds.
Out of nearly 900 patients with what is called "relapsing onset" multiple sclerosis (MS), those who regularly consumed alcohol, caffeine and fish were less likely to progress to the point that they needed help walking, which is considered a milestone in the course of the disease. In contrast, cigarette smoking was associated with an increased risk of becoming disabled.
One explanation is that dietary factors might have a direct protective effect on MS patients, said Dr. Marie D'hooghe, a clinical neurologist in Belgium and lead author of the study. Caffeine, fish and alcohol at low to moderate levels are all known to have anti-inflammatory properties, and focal, or localized, inflammation in the brain and spinal cord is an important aspect of relapsing MS.
However, the study did not prove that caffeine and alcohol will slow MS, an incurable disease of the nervous system, and patients should not use these findings as a reason to suddenly start brewing coffee and sipping cocktails.
Also, the study only saw the associations between diet and smoking and disease progression among patients with relapsing-remitting MS, and not among those with what is known as primary progressive MS.
This suggests that progressive MS is a distinct phase of the disease with different mechanisms, D'hooghe said. "Degeneration [of nerve cells] is probably more relevant in progressive onset and inflammation is not as important," she said.







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Friday, March 30, 2012

US Neurologists take a wait and see attitude on the Gilenya oral medication for MS


While almost all U.S. neurologists believe that the recently reported deaths in Gilenya-treated multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are at least somewhat related to the patients’ treatment with Novartis’ Gilenya, overall satisfaction with Gilenya and perceptions of Gilenya’s safety and tolerability have not changed significantly since the publication of the reports. And, despite potential concerns, neurologists continue to project increased use of Gilenya in the next six months. However, 47 percent of neurologists do report discomfort with Gilenya’s risk-benefit profile compared to 26 percent of neurologists who were surveyed last quarter, suggesting that the impact of the U.S. and EU safety review may yet to be fully realized. One respondent made the following statement, reflective of the “wait and see” attitude expressed by many surveyed neurologists: “If the deaths are clearly shown to be related to Gilenya, I think it will be disastrous for the product. For the moment, I will withhold judgment, but I will advise prospective patients of this issue.






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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yoga helps man afflicted with MS overcome challenges



March 27, 2012
By MaryAnn Kromer - Staff Writer (mkromer@advertiser-tribune.comThe Advertiser-Tribune
Chuck Burmeister of Tiffin looks like the picture of health, and his active lifestyle gives no indication of serious illness; however, Burmeister has been struggling with multiple sclerosis since 2000. Since then, changes in his lifestyle and occupation have allowed him to lead a relatively normal life in spite of the incurable disease.
Burmeister has acquired his 200-hour certification as a yoga instructor. He teaches four classes of various levels at the YMCA in Tiffin. Once a month, he also offers a free MS yoga class at Community Hospice Care.
He also maintains a blog and website, www.yogachuck.com.
Also, Burmeister works four days a week at Diverse Technology Solutions doing "bench" work on computers that clients bring in. Most of the work arrives early in the week so he can finish before he leaves Thursday. He uses the extra day to study yoga, in conjunction with his ongoing training for advanced certification.
He credits yoga for overcoming his MS symptoms.
"I had no idea I would be where I am today. I never thought I would come out of it like this," Burmeister said.
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Alberta (Canada) mother with MS gets to keep her children at home


Alberta's human services minister says he wants to ensure a central Alberta woman can stay with the two young children she is no longer physically able to look after.
The woman, whom CBC will call "Marie" in order to protect her two daughters, 4 and 5, has multiple sclerosis, a disease that attacks the nervous system.
In Marie's case, MS has slowed her speech and forced her to use a walker to get around.
She said the symptoms became worse in 2009, after the birth of her second daughter. She was no longer able to clean her home, cook meals or bathe her children. A friend is now looking after them.
When Marie approached social services, she said she was told adoption was her only option.
"I think it's unfair," Marie told CBC News Monday.
"Just because I'm sick doesn't mean I love my kids any less."
Marie's friend, Kristina Jameson, was outraged by the province's response and turned to the media and the Internet.
"They're a family and they are a very strong family and they deserve to be together," Jameson said.
Jameson set up a Facebook page called Miracle for Marie, which has attracted more than 1,500 followers.
Some followers called for donations to Marie's cause, while others demanded the province do something to reunite the family.

'Help families stay together'

On Monday, Human Services Minister Dave Hancock said he would review Marie's case.
"We are here to help families stay together where possible," Hancock told CBC News.


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Former nurse writes to fight MS


Andrea Trosclair’s life was turned upside down several years ago.
She’s righted it though and has found ways to try to help others facing challenges in their own lives.
“God has a plan for me. I have to trust him right now,” Trosclair said.
Trosclair, 38, had to give up the career she loved as a registered nurse, in the wake of her diagnosis in 2005 with multiple sclerosis.
These days, she’s found another way to contribute to others, as an author of children’s books.
Her self-published book, “Gracie’s Gift,” came out last fall, and Trosclair plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from its sale to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America.
She has other books in the works, each to benefit a different charity.
On Saturday, Trosclair will be at the Walk MS: Baton Rouge fundraising event at Perkins Rowe to walk with her team of family and friends.
Her books will be sold there that day, too, with a portion of the proceeds going to the sponsor of the local walk, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
“Gracie’s Gift,” illustrated by Sean Gautreaux, of New Orleans, tells of a conversation between a little girl and her mother about hair bows, representative of the gifts that daughters are and how treasured they are.



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Monday, March 26, 2012

CCSVI update: Minimally invasive endovascular treatment for CCSVI is safe in patients with MS


March 26, 2012

Researchers who investigated the connection between chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (a reported condition characterized as a blockage in the veins that drain blood from the brain and spinal cord and returns it to the heart) and multiple sclerosisindicate that a minimally invasive endovascular treatment for CCSVI, is safe and may produce "significant," short-term improvement in physical- and mental health-related quality of life in individuals with MS. These findings were presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 37th Annual Scientific Meeting in San Francisco, Calif.

An estimated 400,000 people in the United States with MS-generally thought of as an incurable, disabling neurologic disease-may find hope that symptom relief is possible. MS is typically treated with disease-modifying drugs, which modulate or suppress the immune response believed to be central in the progression of the disease.

"Traditional theories surrounding treatment for multiple sclerosis in large part focus on autoimmune causes for brain pathology and neurologic symptoms. Based on this, treatment has been predominantly medications by mouth or injection," stated Kenneth Mandato, M.D., an interventional radiologist at Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y. "Interventional radiologists, pioneers in the field of minimally invasive therapies, have been performing an endovascular therapy called angioplasty for years, to treat blocked or narrowed arteries and veins. We have been using angioplasty to open jugular and azygos veins in the neck and chest respectively to improve blood flow in people with MS. On follow-up, we have seen many of these individuals report significant symptom relief," he added.



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Interventional Radiologists See 'Significant' Symptom Relief in MS Patients


SAN FRANCISCO, March 25, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Short-term Follow-up Supports Evidence That Angioplasty of Azygos and Jugular Veins Safe, Improves Quality of Life for Those With Multiple Sclerosis, Say Researchers at Society of Interventional Radiology's 37th Annual Scientific Meeting
Researchers who investigated the connection between chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (a reported condition characterized as a blockage in the veins that drain blood from the brain and spinal cord and returns it to the heart) and multiple sclerosis indicate that a minimally invasive endovascular treatment for CCSVI, is safe and may produce "significant," short-term improvement in physical- and mental health-related quality of life in individuals with MS. These findings were presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 37th Annual Scientific Meeting in San Francisco, Calif.
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Sunday, March 25, 2012

MycoPlasma and Auto Immune Disease


Mycoplasmas - Stealth Pathogens

By Leslie Taylor, ND
January, 2001



Mycoplasmas are a specific and unique species of bacteria - the smallest free-living organism known on the planet. The primary differences between mycoplasmas and other bacteria is that bacteria have a solid cell-wall structure and they can grow in the simplest culture media. Mycoplasmas however, do not have a cell wall, and like a tiny jellyfish with a pliable membrane, can take on many different shapes which make them difficult to identify, even under a high powered electron microscope. Mycoplasmas can also be very hard to culture in the laboratory and are often missed as pathogenic causes of diseases for this reason.

The accepted name was chosen because Mycoplasmas were observed to have a fungi-like structure (Mycology is the study of fungi - hence "Myco") and it also had a flowing plasma-like structure without a cell wall - hence "plasma". The first strains were isolated from cattle with arthritis and pleuro-pneumonia in 1898 at the Pasteur Institute. The first human strain was isolated in 1932 from an abscessed wound. The first connection between mycoplasmas and rheumatoid diseases was made in 1939 by Drs. Swift and Brown. Unfortunately, mycoplasmas didn't become part of the medical school curriculum until the late 1950's when one specific strain was identified and proven to be the cause of atypical pneumonia, and named Mycoplasma pneumonia. The association between immunodeficiency and autoimmune disorders with mycoplasmas was first reported in the mid 1970s in patients with primary hypogammaglobulinemia (an autoimmune disease) and infection with four species of mycoplasma that had localized in joint tissue. Since that time, scientific testing methodologies have made critical technological progress and along with it, more mycoplasma species have been identified and recorded in animals, humans and even plants.

While Mycoplasma pneumonia is certainly not the only species causing disease in humans, it makes for a good example of how this stealth pathogen can move out of it's typical environment and into other parts of the body and begin causing other diseases. While residing in the respiratory tract and lungs, Mycoplasma pneumonia remains an important cause of pneumonia and other airway disorders, such as tracheobronchitis, pharyngitis and asthma. When this stealth pathogen hitches a ride to other parts of the body, it is associated with non-pulmonary manifestations, such as blood, skin, joint, central nervous system, liver, pancreas, and cardiovascular syndromes and disorders. Even as far back as 1983, doctors at Yale noted:
    "Over the past 20 years the annual number of reports on extrapulmonary symptoms during Mycoplasma (M.) pneumoniae disease has increased. Clinical and epidemiological data indicate that symptoms from the skin and mucous membranes, from the central nervous system, from the heart, and perhaps from other organs as well are not quite uncommon manifestations of M. pneumoniae disease."(15)

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