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Friday, August 17, 2012

An NMSS Webinar on: Programs and Services for the Entire Family




The National MS Society
and MS Learn Online invite you to view.. 


Featuring: Nancy Law, LSW, and
Diana Schneider, PhD




The National MS Society offers a variety of programs, services and resources for people with MS and their family members and friends.  This video features Nancy Law, Executive Vice President of Programs and Services at the National MS Society and Dr. Diana Schneider, carepartner, discussing resources and support services available to the entire family.  

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Biogen Idec in MS biomarker deal with Regulus that could help to identify the best patients for clinical trials of multiple sclerosis drugs


Aug 16, 2012
NEW YORK (AP) -- Biogen Idec Inc. said Wednesday that it will work with Regulus Therapeutics Inc. to identify microRNAs biomarkers in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Biogen makes and sells several multiple sclerosis drugs including Avonex and Tysabri, and it is also developing BG-12, a pill that is seen as a promising treatment for the condition. The companies said Regulus believes the biomarkers may help identify the best patients for clinical trials of multiple sclerosis drugs, could be used to develop diagnostic tests and may help monitor the progression of the illness or relapses.
MicroRNAs are small RNA molecules. RNA helps synthesize proteins in the body, and microRNA helps regulate the way genes work.
Biogen will buy a stake in Regulus and will make upfront and potential milestone payments to the company. It did not disclose the size of the stake it is buying or the terms of any payments.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the immune system attacks healthy nerves. It can cause pain, numbness, slurred speech, impaired vision, muscle weakness, and neurological problems.
source: yahoo news


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Discovery of immune cells that protect against multiple sclerosis offers hope for new treatment



August 16, 2012

In multiple sclerosis, the immune system attacks nerves in the brain and spinal cord, causing movement problems, muscle weakness and loss of vision. Immune cells called dendritic cells, which were previously thought to contribute to the onset and development of multiple sclerosis, actually protect against the disease in a mouse model, according to a study published by Cell Press in the August issue of the journal Immunity. These new insights change our fundamental understanding of the origins of multiple sclerosis and could lead to the development of more effective treatments for the disease.

"By transfusing dendritic cells into the blood, it may be possible to reduce autoimmunity," says senior study author Ari Waisman of University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. "Beyond multiple sclerosis, I can easily imagine that this approach could be applied to other autoimmune diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis."

In an animal model of multiple sclerosis known as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), immune cells called T cells trigger the disease after being activated by other immune cells called antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Dendritic cells are APCs capable of activating T cells, but it was not known whether dendritic cells are the APCs that induce EAE.

In the new study, Waisman and his team used genetic methods to deplete dendritic cells in mice. Unexpectedly, these mice were still susceptible to EAE and developed worse autoimmune responses and disease clinical scores, suggesting that dendritic cells are not required to induce EAE and other APCs stimulate T cells to trigger the disease. The researchers also found that dendritic cells reduce the responsiveness of T cells and lower susceptibility to EAE by increasing the expression of PD-1 receptors on T cells.

"Removing dendritic cells tips the balance toward T cell-mediated autoimmunity," says study author Nir Yogev of University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. "Our findings suggest that dendritic cells keep immunity under check, so transferring dendritic cells to patients with multiple sclerosis could cure defects in T cells and serve as an effective intervention for the disease."
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source: EurekaAlert
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

LISTEN to Stu's Interview with MS Specialist, Daniel Kantor, MD


August 15, 2012

Written by Deanna Kirkpatrick - Co-Producer of Multiple Sclerosis UnPlugged
  on StuMS radio

Neurologist Dr. Kantor answers your burning questions about MS.
Dr. Kantor is a Migraine and MS specialist in his field. 
Great and very intersting conversation with Dr. Kantor and Stu
Definitely a must listen (I even learned a few things!!, - says Deanna) 

Listen to the Interview. Click HERE





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'Wearever' Provides One less Stress for those with MS



AUGUST 2012

Urinary incontinence is one of those things many people aren’t comfortable talking about. The hush-hush issue is rarely discussed publicly despite its frequency, including an estimated 80 percent of people with multiple sclerosis who deal with incontinence on a daily basis. If that’s you, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that 30 million Americans currently live with some level of urinary incontinence.

According to studies, people with MS who live with incontinence can have 30 or more episodes of incontinence per week. Despite the prevalence, the topic is black listed from most conversations. As a result, many people don’t know about all the available solutions, and for years have turned to adult diapers thinking it’s the only option.

The term “diaper” alone can significantly affect someone’s pride, not to mention the discomfort of wearing a plastic garment. So, now’s the time to have the conversation and understand other options that can keep your dignity and comfort.

The Wearever brand’s women’s panties and men’s briefs look and feel just like traditional underwear but offer the absorbent protection needed for those living with incontinence – just as well as adult diapers. Its innovative Unique-driTM sewn-in pad works through a three-layer design: the top layer lets liquid in; the middle layer moves liquid out to the edges of the fabric, wicking it away so it doesn’t pool and, therefore, resists bacteria growth and odor; and the urethane bottom layer prevents leak through so that the moisture is contained within the undergarment.

Wearever undergarments are easy-case machine washable, so they are reusable and last as long as a traditional pair of underwear. The women’s line even has stylish solutions like women’s lace panties or shapewear that helps smooth a woman’s midsection. Even better: Wearever products are also less expensive than the alternative, saving the average user nearly $500 a year compared to adult diapers.

In addition to the style, comfort and affordability benefits, the incontinence aid is also much better for the environment compared to adult diapers. Since the average wearer uses approximately 1,100 to 1,500 adult diapers each year, multiplied by millions of wearers across the country, billions of adult diapers are added to our trash heaps every year. As such, these disposable diapers are now the third largest consumer item in United States landfills, making up 17.5 million tons of garbage and 7 percent of all of the nation’s landfill waste. This number is staggering, especially when compared to infant diapers, which make up only 2 percent of landfills.

The eco-friendly issue is made more confusing as adult diapers are sometimes labeled biodegradable. However, not even biodegradable diapers break down in a landfill according to the California Integrated Waste Management Board. It can actually take up to 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose. Not only that, research from Natural-Environment.com showed that more than 82,000 tons of plastic and 250,000 trees are used to make disposable diapers each year.

It can’t be disputed: adult diapers are bad for the environment.

Since Wearever products are reusable and last as long as a traditional pair of underwear, a week’s worth of Wearever incontinence undergarments contribute zero waste over the course of a year. Compared to adult diapers, that’s billions saved from the landfill.

So, in spite of attempts to keep the topic under wraps, now is the time to consider the ultimate life changing alternative like Wearever underwear.  The option unknown by so many is simple: real underwear made especially for those with light, moderate or heavy urinary incontinence. Wearever is your more comfortable, affordable, stylish and eco-friendly solution.


About the author: 
Mandy Harrell is the brand manager for Wearever which offers comfortable, quality, affordable and stylish apparel solutions for everyday health and wellness concerns. The men’s and women’s underwear line of washable, reusable urinary incontinence panties and briefs is especially beneficial for active individuals who want to continue their normal lifestyle without worry or emotional stress resulting from urinary incontinence. To learn more, visit www.WeareverUS.com.  



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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An MS Residential Center - for those with Progressive forms of Multiple Sclerosis


Dr. Daniel Kantor reports directly from the Grabski Rehabilitation Center for progressive forms of MS (Multiple Sclerosis), ALS (Lou Gehrig's Diseases) and CP (cerebral palsy)





Watch this video then tell us (by leaving a comment) if you know of other MS residential centers, that we can blog.



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How Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS) Differs from Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS)



People are often confused by the terms primary and secondary and the relationship between these two disease courses.
Although both are considered progressive courses of MS, one does not follow the other. And, they differ in several important ways.

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Ohio leads nation in MS cases



By Meghan Millea
Posted Aug 14, 2012

Two-hundred Americans are diagnosed each week with multiple sclerosis, joining the 400,000 already living with the debilitating disease. There are 20,000 people with MS in Ohio alone, more than any other state, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
It’s no wonder doctors such as Union Hospital’s Alok Bhagat have their hands full. He sees 150 to 200 local MS patients each year. The disabling disease attacks the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. People living with MS may experience numbness in the limbs, chronic fatigue or more severe symptoms such as paralysis and loss of vision.
“There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis,” Bhagat said.
But there are more treatment options available to patients, as Bhagat shared during a lecture Thursday in the hospital auditorium. His lecture focused on early diagnoses of the disease, where most advancements can be used to help patients.
Bhagat said people experiencing symptoms such as numbness and fatigue should see their family physician. If the symptoms can’t be explained by simple causes, patients likely will be referred to a neurologist.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dealing With MS-Related Depression



Having multiple sclerosis puts you at a higher risk for depression. But finding the right support and treatment can make it easier to manage both conditions.



One day, you’re healthy and active — then suddenly you’re dealing with frequent doctor visits and the threat of crippling attacks. It’s no wonder that a chronic condition like multiple sclerosis(MS) can lead to depression.
dealing with multiple sclerosis related depression
“When you look at any chronic illness, MS included, there is the potential for a ‘reactive depression’ — a change in mood that goes along with the everyday adjustments that accompany the disease,” says Ben Thrower, MD, medical director of the Andrew C. Carlos Multiple Sclerosis Institute at Shepherd, part of the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. “There is also the biology of what MS does to the central nervous system, which can lead to depression even when everything else in your life is going well.”
If you have MS, what does this means for you? Unfortunately, MS puts you at a much higher risk for depression than the general population. “Studies suggest that the chance of developing depression for a person with MS is 50 percent,” Dr. Thrower says. By contrast, the risk for depression in someone who doesn’t have MS is five percent.
The Biology Behind Depression and MS
When you have MS, your immune system periodically attacks your central nervous system, resulting in scattered lesions throughout the brain and spinal cord. “Each attack results in some brain damage,” explains James Bowen, MD, medical director of the MS Center at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle.
More specifically, MS attacks the insulation of the nerve fibers in the brain, called myelin. “If you think of the central nervous system as an electrical system, the nerve fibers are the wires that act as the communication between the brain and the rest of the body,” Thrower says. When MS attacks those wires, communication between the brain and the body can slow down or even stop completely. “Depending on where the brain or spinal cord damage occurs, you can have physical weakness and numbness or cognitive mood changes,” he says.

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Multiple Sclerosis and Your Relationships



Relationships can be tricky, and multiple sclerosis can make them even more difficult. Try these tips for talking about MS and maintaining balance in your relationships.


Medically reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD

Friends and family are an important part of everyone’s life — but when you’re living with a chronic condition, it may not be easy to talk to them about your health. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is different for every person who copes with it. There are no exact timelines telling you when you may experience symptoms or how severe they’ll be at any given moment, but having a strong support system in place will help you better manage whatever comes your way. However, before you can build your support network, you’ll need to make a few important decisions, starting with whom you think should know about your condition.
multiple sclerosis and your relationships
MS and the People in Your Life
Your first instinct may be to tell everyone you know that you’ve been diagnosed with MS, or you may have just the opposite reaction and want to hide your MS from the world. Give yourself time to process your thoughts and emotions. Think about each person in your life and if there will be a benefit in sharing your diagnosis with them. People who are around you often are likely to recognize when your symptoms begin to appear. If these are people you trust, you may be able to count on them for support when you need it. Keep in mind that some people may be unsure of how to act around you if they don’t understand multiple sclerosis. Be prepared to answer questions and even educate them about MS.
Be cautious about giving too much information to people who might spread gossip to those you don’t want informed. Think it through before confiding in friends who are also co-workers, especially if you don’t want your personal medical information to get back to your employer before you're ready to disclose the knowledge yourself. Even a savvy boss may not have all of the facts about MS and may make decisions about your job performance based on your diagnosis, rather than your abilities.


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Ease MS and Put Fun Back Into Your Daily Life: 7 Tips for Managing Multiple Sclerosis




When you're busy with the medical management of multiple sclerosis symptoms, it can be easy to forget the effectiveness of simple, good lifestyle choices. These steps may help slow down MS and give you an all-over health boost, too.


Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH


There’s no doubt that living with multiple sclerosis (MS) can be tough. But researchers are working hard to find out the causes of MS, and what factors can ease or aggravate multiple sclerosis symptoms and even slow down its progression. Many involve making the right lifestyle choices every day, such as not smoking and getting enough vitamin D — steps that are definitely within your control. And some of these choices can improve your overall health while positively impacting your MS. Find out the steps you can start taking today.


TO Continue, Click here 




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Rising cost of ‘specialty’ drugs prompts employers to limit their use



When Kathi Ryness’s multiple sclerosis worsened in 2000, she began taking Avonex, a drug that helps slow the progression of the disease and reduces the number of relapses. At the time, her health plan covered the drug in full.
But in 2009, she and her husband, Gary, were forced to switch plans. Under their new coverage, the Alamo, Calif., couple owed $660 every four weeks for the weekly Avonex injections, 30 percent of the $2,200 cost. Within a year, the cost went up again, leaving Kathi, who is now 62, and Gary, 66, on the hook for $800 every four weeks.

The coinsurance was killing them. “It was a choice between that and eating,” Gary Ryness says.
Working with an insurance consultant, they switched from a preferred provider organization to a health maintenance organization that didn’t have coinsurance charges for self-injectable drugs such as Avonex. Now, they pay nothing for the drug.
“Everybody has different ways of classifying these drugs,” Gary says.
In coming years, experts say, more people will have to navigate the confusing and expensive terrain of such “specialty” medications.
While most drugs are made from chemicals and can have generic as well as brand-name versions, a typical specialty drug is biologic — that is, derived from living organisms — and has no substitute. In addition to treating MS, these drugs are used for such complex, serious conditions as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. Growth in spending on specialty drugs is far outpacing spending on traditional drugs, and many new onesare in the pipeline.
“In the next five to 10 years, the consensus of all the experts we spoke to was that a much larger proportion of consumers will be eligible for some kind of specialty drug,” says Ha Tu, a senior researcher at the Center for Studying Health System Change. She was the lead author on a recent report about managing spending on specialty drugs.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Making Healthy Choices



Anyone with a chronic disease needs to maintain the highest level of health possible—and with the fatigue, steroid therapy and depression that characterize MS, an unhealthy weight gain is easy with this disease.
It’s a vicious cycle: not only can MS symptoms invite unwanted pounds, but overeating can intensify the symptoms or conditions of MS, including stress on joints, pressure sores, fatigue, and overworking the heart and lungs.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society advises that people with MS who need to lose weight, should set realistic goals so they don’t give up along the way. A goal of 10 percent of your current body weight is reasonable. They offer these tips:
  • Don’t diet. Instead of thinking of your eating plan as a short-term change, make a plan to eat healthier for life.
  • Change one meal at a time. Eat a healthy breakfast, then a healthy lunch and dinner. Incorporate protein into your meals, try to avoid refined carbohydrates (such as white bread and pasta) and get most of your carbs from vegetables, fruit and whole grains. Watch your portions.
  • Snack. When you feel hungry between meals, don’t starve yourself until mealtime—that’s a recipe for binging at the next meal. Grab a healthy snack: raw unsalted nuts, low-fat yogurt, string cheese, whole-grain crackers, fresh fruit.
  • Focus on your food. Try not to read or watch TV while you eat. Instead, think about the food and eat sensually—that is, use your senses of taste, feel, sight and smell—to appreciate the food as you eat. That’s called “mindful eating,” the practice of being mindful of every aspect of the act.
  • Follow your cravings. If you regularly crave chocolate, eat a bit of dark chocolate for dessert. Don’t deny yourself the foods you love, just eat them in smaller amounts.
  • Talk with your doctor about your nutritional supplements. Even a supplement generally considered healthy such as fish oil (which contains omega-3 fatty acids) can pose risks: while research has shown that it slows the progression of disabilities, it is possible that it interferes with some drugs commonly taken by MS patients, such as Copaxone, Avonex, Betaseron and Rebif. If you decide to take fish oil supplements, ask your doctor to check for any medical issues.
If you’re trying to lose weight and build strength and wellness, it’s also important that you keep moving. A 1996 study at the University of Utah was first to show how exercise helps people with MS: subjects had better bladder and bowel function, less fatigue and depression, they socialized more and they felt more positive. Not exercising can bring on weak muscles, shallow breathing and lower bone density.
Try to exercise every day. Even people who live in a wheelchair can exercise every day; the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD) provides a list of exercise videos for people with disabilities on its website.
Aerobic exercise isn’t the only move that can help MS patients. Yoga, which emphasizes relaxation, breathing, stretching and focused movements, helps MS patients stay limber and positive. If you can’t attend a class, you can purchase a video and practice yoga at home.
Tai chi, a Chinese martial art that’s even more gentle than many forms of yoga, also has proven to help people with better balance, lower blood pressure and enhanced cardiovascular health. The studies did not involve MS patients, but the MS Society recommends trying it nevertheless.
Probably the healthiest choice any MS patient can make, however, is to make connections—with yourself and with others. A rewarding and simple first step is to begin a daily meditation practice. In 2010, a University of Montreal study found that meditation alleviates pain: the brain receives a “pain signal” but the individual doesn’t actually feel pain.
It also can be immensely helpful to share stories, advice and questions with other people diagnosed with MS. A few suggestions:
  • Daily Strength is an online forum for exchanging MS information, asking questions about your condition and making friends.

  • MS World is the message and chat board for the National MS Society. The site includes news, research, alerts of upcoming clinical trials, and a message board for teens.

  • The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America’s services include MS educational videos, networking for peer support, and a Reassurance Call program to keep patients’ isolation at bay. MSAA also sponsors a lending library; they loan a book or DVD for 45 days and cover all mailing costs.

  • For those who would rather meet other MS patients in person, theMultiple Sclerosis Foundation hosts gatherings across the country. You’ll see a map of the U.S. on the home page; click on the state where you live and a list of meetings will appear, with contact information and meeting times.

  • The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation also offers peer counseling through its program, “We Care, We Call.” Patients receive regularly scheduled calls from other MS patients at whatever frequency you wish. If you’re interested, email your request or call the Foundation’s helpline at 888-MS-FOCUS (888-673-6287).

  • The MSActivesource programs offer a range of support and personalized assistance for people living with MS. Patients are able to access a mentor, receive at-home injection training and MS counseling, and gain financial assistance with therapy

Article Source: Healthline.com

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