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Friday, July 13, 2012

A $60 Device Will Let Paralyzed People Write Emails With Their Eyes


July 13, 2012


A new device could allow millions of people suffering from conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries and amputations to browse the Web and write emails using just their eyes, according to researchers from Imperial College London.
The device, composed from off-the-shelf materials and costing about $60, detects exactly where a person is looking by tracking their eye movements.
Someone can control a cursor on a screen just like a normal computer mouse and can click on items by winking.
The glasses are made with two video game console cameras that constantly take pictures of the eye to determine where the pupil is pointing.


Read more 

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MS-Specific Antibody Isolated





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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Multiple Sclerosis: New Marker Could Improve Diagnosis


ScienceDaily (July 12, 2012) — Diagnosing multiple sclerosis (MS) is a challenge even for experienced neurologists. This autoimmune disease has many symptoms and rarely presents a uniform clinical picture. New scientific findings on the immune response involved in MS could now help improve the diagnosis of this illness. Scientists analyzing the blood of MS patients have discovered antibodies that attack a specific potassium channel in the cell membrane. Potassium channels play an important role in transmitting impulses to muscle and nerve cells and it is exactly these processes that are inhibited in MS patients. 

The results are published in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

For the first time, scientists in Germany's multiple sclerosis competence network have been able to identify an antibody that bonds with the potassium channel KIR4.1. "We found this autoantibody in almost half of the MS patients in our study," explains Bernhard Hemmer, Professor of Neurology at the Klinikum rechts der Isar hospital at Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen (TUM). The biomarker was not present in healthy patients. The findings could therefore indicate that KIR4.1 is one of the targets of the autoimmune response in MS. Humans and animals without the KIR4.1 channel experience neurological failure and cannot coordinate their movements properly. Furthermore, their bodies do not create sufficient amounts of myelin, a layer of insulation that protects the nerve cells.





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Cytheris announces CYT107 orphan drug designation in Europe for the treatment of Progressive Multifocal Leucoencephalopathy (PML)



Scientific advice also received from EMA on proposed PML pivotal study protocol



Paris, July 10, 2012  - 



Cytheris SA, a privately held clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on treating lymphopenia driven diseases, announces today that the European Commission has granted an orphan designation for Cytheris’ CYT017, glycosylated recombinant human interleukin-7 (glycosylated r-h-IL7), for the treatment of Progressive Multifocal eukoencephalopathy (PML). Additionally, Cytheris obtained  scientific advice for a phase IIb study protocol with CYT107 in HIV-related PML. Cytheris has reached an agreement with the EMA on the key study endpoints. Cytheris will start this phase IIb study, intended to be pivotal, in early 2013. PML is a severe demyelinating disease of the central nervous system caused by the JC virus.

Read more:


Note: Although it is always exciting to read about topics like this, it is going into phase 2 trials so is several years away. It would be amazing if it did work for pml.


MSVN Medical Advisory Panel


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CCSVI news: “Facebook Medicine” Prompts Global Collaboration for Annette Funicello Research Fund



LOS ANGELES--()--The Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases has assembled a group of high profile physicians and scientists from around the world to serve as members of its new collaborative Science Review Board. The medical personnel that have joined together are all involved in research focused on treating Multiple Sclerosis, a neurological disorder that the former Disney legend and beach party star has suffered from for 25 years. Most recently, Jack Osbourne, 26-year-old son of Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, was also diagnosed with the disorder that affects nearly 2.5 million people worldwide.
The inspiration for creating Funicello’s Science Review Board was born in the social media platform Facebook in 2009. It was there, online, where thousands of MS patients worldwide started spreading the word about CCSVI (Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency), a vascular syndrome that impedes blood flow from the brain and spine and found in high incidence in patients with multiple sclerosis. The patient’s positive online “buzz” spread like wildfire and greatly accelerated the acceptance of what was considered a radical new approach to an old disease. It also generated the impetus for medical experts and scientists worldwide to seek grants to further research and begin clinical trials using a minimally invasive angioplasty technique to restore normal blood from the brain and spine. It has helped many MS patients to reduce their MS symptoms, but does not work for everyone. It is, however, a hopeful and different approach to treating the disease.
The CCSVI internet frenzy also caught the attention of Glen Holt, Funicello Fund Chairman and husband of the former Disney star. “I felt the online discussion was a revolutionary approach to moving research forward…Facebook medicine if you will,” he said. “It inspired our organization to put together a global Science Review Board, who will interact online to evaluate grant proposals for all promising MS and neurological disease research with CCSVI currently being one of our key areas of interest. Our hope is to open a global discussion among medical experts where insights and information can be shared for the benefit of all, especially MS patients.” A number of the world’s leading neurologists, interventional radiologists and scientists have joined Funicello’s Science Review Board. All will serve on a volunteer basis. They are:

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Stress Management May Prevent MS Brain Lesions



By 
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD


July 11, 2012 -- Teaching MS patients how to deal with stress can improve their quality of life -- and may also prevent or slow down formation of new brain lesions, according to a new study.
Patients with multiple sclerosis who attended stress managementtherapy sessions for six months had fewer new brain lesions from disease flare-ups and slower disease progression during their treatment, Northwestern University researcher David C. Mohr, PhD, and colleagues found.
The findings, published in the July 11 issue of the journal Neurology, add to evidence that stress management can slow MS disease activity.
"People who got the stress management training had significant reductions in the incidence of new brain lesions while enrolled in the weekly sessions," Mohr tells WebMD.
But the improvement disappeared when the weekly sessions ended, suggesting that more sustained therapy may be needed, he says.

Stress Management and MS

Mohr says stress management therapy may be a useful addition to MS drugs. He has spent more than a decade researching the impact of depression and stress on MS progression.
The new study included 121 MS patients randomly assigned either to a stress management treatment group or to a group that got no stress management training.
The treatment group received 16 sessions delivered over a six-month period. Sessions focused on helping patients recognize and evaluate potentially stressful situations. They were also taught relaxation and meditation techniques to help them cope with stressful events that could not be avoided.


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With help from the DoD, Researchers Developing New Multiple Sclerosis Drug That Can Be Taken Orally



MENLO PARK, Calif., July 10, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded SRI International a one-year grant to develop a novel therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune nervous system disease that affects about 400,000 people in the United States and more than two million people worldwide. There is currently no cure for this disorder, which can impair vision and movement.
The grant, funded through DoD's Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, will support the development of an oral drug that targets miR-326, a molecule recently found to stimulate the production of immune system mediators known as T-helper 17 (Th17) cells. Patients with MS have high levels of miR-326, and Th17 is thought to play a critical role in causing MS and other autoimmune diseases. The new therapy will inhibit miR-326 and block the production of Th17 cells.
The novel, orally administered drug will be more convenient for patients than currently available treatments. MS treatments today often require frequent hospital visits for injections or intravenous infusions. The new drug could also help patients who do not respond to existing medications, or who experience significant side effects as a result of taking them.
"New and more convenient and effective therapeutics for multiple sclerosis are greatly needed," said Jennifer Lam, Ph.D., a research scientist in SRI's Biosciences Division who is spearheading the project. "Our research is directed toward the development of a novel oral therapeutic as well as a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that contribute to MS."
The project described was supported by Award Numbers W81XWH-11-1-0736 from the U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity. The content of the information does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the Government, and no official endorsement should be inferred
READ complete article here

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Neuroprotective effects underpin fingolimod benefits in MS


July 10, 2012 - By Eleanor McDermid



Fingolimod therapy reduces inflammatory activity and tissue loss in the brains of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), shows further analysis of the FREEDOMS trial.

The FREEDOMS (FTY720 Research Evaluating Effects of Daily Oral Therapy in MS) investigators previously reported that fingolimod reduced the relapse rate and risk for progression of disability, relative to placebo.

The latest analysis shows improved results in the fingolimod group for a range ofmagnetic resonance imaging (MRI) markers, including brain atrophy, represented by total brain volume. During the 24 months of the trial, placebo-treated (n=418) patients lost about 1.2% of their brain volume, but this loss was reduced by both fingolimod doses (0.5 or 1.25 mg/day; n=854), with the size of reduction versus placebo ranging from 22.7% to 44.7% at various timepoints.

The MS treatments interferon beta and natalizumab have no significant effect on brain atrophy over a similar time period, note the researchers in the Archives of Neurology.
Brain volume loss in fingolimod-treated patients was faster over the first than second years of treatment, which the team puts down to "some degree of pseudoatrophy," in which reductions in edema cause brain volume loss in addition to that caused by atrophy.
"The clinical relevance of therapeutically reduced brain volume loss is underscored by the observations that atrophy is evident during the earliest stages of MS, proceeds relentlessly throughout the course of MS at higher rates than in healthy individuals, and has a significant correlation with physical disability," say Ernst-Wilhelm Radue (University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland) and team.

"Furthermore, brain atrophy is considered to be a better MRI predictor of future disability than T2 lesion load or T1 hypointense lesion load."


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Monday, July 9, 2012

Hot vs. Cold Therapy?



When should I use hot therapy vs. cold therapy? 


A good rule of thumb: 

  • Cold therapy for acute pain
  • Heat therapy for chronic pain
  • Always use heat therapy prior to an activity to loosen up your muscles, and cold afterward.

For acute pain, the Soft Ice® Compression Wrap provides short-term pain relief for soft-tissue injuries. Cold compression aids in reducing swelling, bleeding, spasms and pain. Apply as soon as possible after an injury has occurred and continue for 48 to 72 hours. (See the following question, "What should I do if I suffer an acute injury?") 

Heat or Moist Heat Therapy should be used for chronic conditions such as muscle discomfort or stiffness. Applying heat to an area effectively opens up the blood vessels allowing blood to flow freely to the affected area. This increases circulation, delivering an increased supply of oxygen and nutrients and removing waste from sore, fatigued and injured muscles. 

Many doctors recommend alternating cold and moist heat therapy for chronic pain as well - 20 minutes of cold, 20 minutes off, and then 20 minutes of moist heat. Combination therapy is an effective treatment for repetitive strain injuries, and can help with the pain of arthritis. For acute pain, once the swelling goes down, alternate cold therapy and moist heat therapy as described above. Our Drug-Free Pain Relief Kits provide the synergistic therapeutic benefits of cold compression and moist heat.


Learn more of Cold therapy products. Click here

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Discovery of SINGLE genetic variant could help to improve clinical trials of potential therapies. for multiple sclerosis


Genome study highlights risk factor for multiple sclerosis


By: Ewen Callaway  - July 9th, 2012
Like diabetes, most forms of cancer and other common diseases, there is no single gene that causes the autoimmune condition multiple sclerosis (MS). Dozens of genetic variations act in concert with environmental factors to cause the debilitating neurological disease.
Yet a single genetic variant may explain why drugs that treat other autoimmune diseases tend to make MS symptoms worse, and could identify other MS patients who might benefit from the therapies. Researchers say that the findings, which are published online in Nature also highlight how genome-wide association studies (GWAS) can yield useful medical insights.

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Caregivers: Secure Your Own Oxygen Mask First


written by the MS Foundation


If you are caring for a loved one with MS who is significantly disabled, you are probably facing some serious daily challenges. In fact, you may be so overwhelmed with responsibilities that you haven’t even considered your own mismanaged stress, poor diet, physical inactivity, unrecognized or undiagnosed depression, denial, fear, isolation, loneliness, or grief – all of which increase your risk for future health problems.

If you intend to continue caring for your loved one with MS, you simply must care for yourself first. Imagine yourself on an airplane. What does the flight attendant tell you to do in an emergency? Secure your own oxygen mask first – then tend to your child or significant other. The same principle applies to caregiving.

If you are “burning the candle at both ends,” it won’t be long before you fall victim to caregiver burnout. Consider the following questions:

• Are you often feeling angry, bitter, or resentful?
• Are you constantly exhausted and overwhelmed?
• Are you frequently ill?
• Do you find yourself thinking about an escape or a way out?
• Do you often feel hopeless or desperate?
• Do you deny yourself time with others?
• Do you use cigarettes, alcohol, sleeping pills or food to cope with stress?

If you recognize yourself in these behaviors, it’s time to focus on some serious caring – for yourself!

READ MORE



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Home-Care Grant Program


The information found below is found at the MS Foundation's website

The MSF understands the daily needs and challenges that must be met by individuals with MS and their caregivers. In order to meet these needs in the most timely and efficient manner, the MSF Home Care Assistance Grant Program serves as a liaison between the patient and the local resources that are available to meet his or her specific needs. Should resources within the patient’s community be unavailable, direct support will be provided on a temporary basis through the MSF Home Care Assistance Grant Program.
Available Services include
  • Home Care, such as personal hygiene services, light housekeeping, grocery shopping, meal preparation and transportation to and from appointments can be provided for a limited time.
  • Therapy Visits, based upon individual need, may be arranged with an occupational, physical or speech therapist. Through education and training, these therapists can help to foster independence, self-esteem, and better quality of life for the person living with MS.
  • Respite Care may be provided on a short-term basis for a scheduled period of time. Respite allows primary caregivers the opportunity to have time out to tend to themselves or other family business with the assurance that the patient is being cared for by a properly trained individual.
  • Coming Home from the hospital can be a difficult time of transition. The MSF Home Care Assistance Grant Program offers a four-hour visit from an aide who will meet the patient at the hospital, provide transportation, and get the patient settled comfortably at home.
For an Application or to learn more, click here to be redirected to the MS Foundation website

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vitamin D could be simple solution for multiple sclerosis



Perth, July 7 (ANI): Some neurologists believe that the debilitating forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) could soon come to an end thanks to vitamin D.
A world first clinical trial will investigate the role vitamin D could play in preventing MS.
MSWA chief executive Marcuss Stafford said there was already indicators that vitamin D could play a role in the disease.
"The further you are born from the equator, the greater your likelihood of contracting MS, the second clue that we have is that there is a variation in genes that metabolise vitamin D and the third key clue that has led us down this path is that there is an association between vitamin D deficiency and relapses within MS as well," WA Today quoted Stafford as saying.
MS, which is an incurable disease, manifests itself differently in individuals but affects the central nervous system and can, to varying degrees, interfere with the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.
There are currently no evidence-based interventions to prevent the development of it.
The trial would not involve people with diagnosed MS, but people in the early stages of showing MS symptoms.
It would look at the progress of those individuals towards MS.
The trial will be overseen by local neurologist Professor Bill Carroll from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and will involve 290 patients from across Australia and New Zealand.
"In this prevention trial we'll be giving patients three different levels of vitamin D while others will be given a placebo," he said.
"The link between vitamin D and MS appears strong.
"What we don't know is how important this vitamin D effect might be or what the optimum dose of vitamin D might be. This study will give us those answers," he added.
The trial will run for four years, and researchers will start to recruit patients who have experienced their first MS-like symptoms this month. (ANI)
 
    SOURCE: NewsTrack India

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The Role of Sharing In Healing - a Patient's story



By: Denise A. Coleman
July 2012

I have lived with chronic illnesses since I was 13 years old and it wasn’t until relatively recently that I fully realized how important it is to have others in my life who share the same, or similar, illness.   After coming to terms with the fact that I had both Chronic Pain from a series of back surgeries, and Multiple Sclerosis (MS), I had to identify ways in which I could best live with them and move forward in a way that worked best for me.

I became an advocate with the National MS Society and the American Pain Foundation and was able to participate in various campaigns and programs around the country, strengthening the goals and objectives I had lain out in the program I formed in 2002, The Chronic Pain and MS Awareness Project. I had to take a step back a month ago when the American Pain Foundation announced its closing; I did a lot of my advocacy work through this organization and I didn’t know where to turn for the structure it provided.

This came during a time that I was also facing a significant set back in my own health, and this is what I will address today.  All of us have set backs in our lives; set backs when we are faced with disappointments and must make decisions as to how we will proceed or will we instead decide to go in another direction or not go anywhere at all.  This was where I found myself these past six months and I must say I did not know where I was going to go or what direction I wanted to go in.  I can’t say that I am completely out of the woods, but once again I am making progress and looking forward to taking steps toward a full “recovery.”

Everyone is different, I know, and I will feel recovered when I am once again doing the things that make me feel like I am helping others reach their potential, for that helps me reach mine. Over the years being able to talk to others about the issues I was dealing with, whether it was physical, emotional or spiritual, has helped me.   This help might have been though a support group, a spiritual leader, and in my case it has often been through an email MS group that I have belonged to for the past 11 years—a group we call The Hang In There Group

The HITsters, our abbreviated name, is a group that has grown to as many as 18 women at times, who live all around the country, and represent various age groups, most of us in our 50s and 60s now, and we have witnessed each other go through various peaks and valleys of this disease over the years.  In sadness we shared the loss of several of our beloved members over the years, women who had become the dearest of friends, even though for the most part we never met them in person.

We speak of them often and remember with love how brave they were through the years and how much they lost as their illness progressed and took more of their life from them.

 I often wonder how I would have learned about the realities of MS, about how to deal with issues such as bladder leakage, numbness and gradual loss of mobility, and other symptoms without these dear women of Hang In There.

I don’t know if I have told the HITsters how important they have been to me over the years, or if they realize that the conversations about our symptoms and the impact MS has had on each of our lives have helped me get through some of the most difficult days.  I live alone and often rely on these friends as I would rely on a roommate, and I value the opinions and advice they have given me over the years. 

I am writing this today because I know there are many of you who don’t have such a group and I encourage you to form one.  If you don’t belong to a Support Group that meets in person, reach out to your local chapter of the MS Society for help in identifying others who might be interested in forming such a group.  

I hope you each have many people you can confide in and from whom you can receive support and love.  I am fortunate that I have a large family and many friends who are there for me, but until I found the HITsters, I didn’t know anyone who had MS, and I didn’t realize how important that was.  Reach out to others who share your illness and you will be surprised at how easy it is to share your thoughts and feelings, even those you never dreamed you would share with anyone.
--
Denise A. Coleman
110 Cedar Shake Court
Huntington Station, NY 11746


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