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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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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Low Dose Naltrexone – Bogus or Cutting Edge Science?


This was written in 2010 but still remains, questions needing answers
Requested to be posted by Gloria S. - thank you

Published by  under Science and Medicine 
On SBM we have documented the many and various ways that science is abused in the pursuit of health (or making money from those who are pursuing health). One such method is to take a new, but reasonable, scientific hypothesis and run with it, long past the current state of the evidence. We see this with the many bogus stem cell therapy clinics that are popping up in parts of the world with lax regulation.
This type of medical pseudoscience is particularly challenging to deal with, because there is a scientific paper trail that seems to support many of the claims of proponents. The claims themselves may have significant plausibility, and parts of the claims may in fact be true. Efforts to educate the public about such treatments are frustrated by the mainstream media’s lazy tendency to discuss every study as if it were the definitive last word on a topic, and to site individual experts as if they represent the consensus of scientific opinion.
Recent claims made for low dose naltrexone (LDN) fit nicely into this model – a medical intervention with interesting research, but in a preliminary phase that does not justify clinical use. And yet proponents talk about it as if it is a medical revolution.

Click here to read more


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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Is it me or my MS? Listening to your body may assist you in identifying relapses


Here's some information that may help:


What's a relapse?
A relapse (also called an attack or exacerbation) is a period of time lasting more than 24 hours when old symptoms worsen or new ones appear in the absence of a fever and with a change in your neurological examination. The change in your examination means your health care provider is able to observe a change in certain areas, such as in change in your reflexes, coordination, strength or maybe your visual acuity.
If you think you're experiencing a relapse, you may want to contact your health care provider.
Some other reasons you might want to contact your health care provider might include:
·         Loss of vision or blurry vision
·         Abrupt change in bowel or bladder function
·         A urinary tract infection
·         Feelings of depression or thoughts of hurting yourself
Any time you are concerned with a symptom or feeling


Source: MSLifelines.com

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Investigators Recruiting for Study of Tysabri in Early Relapsing-Remitting MS



Aug 24, 2012
Summary: U.S. investigators are recruiting 300 people with early relapsing-remitting MSto detect factors that might help better predict which patients do better on natalizumab (Tysabri®, Biogen Idec and Elan) in this population. This is an observational study: The investigators are observing people who have been diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS within the past three years, and have decided to take Tysabri – no study drug will be provided. The study, also known as the STRIVE study, is sponsored by Biogen Idec.
Rationale: Tysabri is a laboratory-produced monoclonal antibody that is approved for people with relapsing forms of MS to delay the accumulation of physical disability and reduce the frequency of clinical exacerbations. It is designed to hamper movement of potentially damaging immune cells from the bloodstream, across the “blood-brain barrier” into the brain and spinal cord. (Click here to read about Tysabri and its association with PML, a potentially fatal viral infection of the brain.)
Tysabri is generally recommended for patients who have had an inadequate response to, or cannot tolerate, an alternate MS therapy. Its use in the earliest stages of MS has not been systematically studied. The primary purpose of the study is to determine which patient characteristics most reliably predict future favorable disease-free response, to enhance the ability to make benefit-risk decisions for using Tysabri in early-stage relapsing MS.
Eligibility and Details: Participants must be ages 18 to 45. This is an observational study; the investigators are observing people who have been diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS within the past three years, and have decided to take Tysabri. No study drug will be provided. Individuals who test positive for JC virus antibody (indicating previous exposure to the virus that causes PML) are not eligible to participate.
Participants are being followed for four years. The primary outcome being measured is the proportion of people who are free of disease activity (according to the EDSS scale, MRI scans and relapses) at the end of two years and four years. The investigators are also looking at, secondarily, the factors that might predict disease-free status, as well as other measures including optic nerve fiber damage, cognitive function, capacity for work and quality of life.
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MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging and diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis


Written By an MS Patient FOR MS Patients


MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging AKA the procedure wherein many non-claustrophobic people find out what claustrophobia kinda feels like.  MRI is an important tool in diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis and in monitoring disease progression. Last week I underwent the least stressful MRI that I have ever experienced (thanks Ativan!). What is MRI for Multiple Sclerosis?
Depending on your disease activity and medication you are probably being scanned anywhere from every 6 months to every 2 years. How does the MRI work and what does it teach us? Today we are discussing traditional MRI for Multiple Sclerosis.
How It Works And What It Reveals
MRI works by realigning molecules in the body using powerful magnetic fields which are then measured and recorded by radio frequency fields.
When an MS relapse or exacerbation occurs, the blood-brain barrier has been weakened, allowing the immune system to attack the central nervous system. If an exacerbation has happened recently, the still-weakened barrier will also allow contrast agents to pass through. Because contrast fluid shows up very brightly in new areas of damage, MRI can distinguish new damage from old damage.
MRI records the scanned area in 3-D which allows us to see exactly where damage has occurred and how much of the brain is scarred. While much is still unknown about how we are affected by location of lesions, and many lesions cause no symptoms at all, we do know some things. Certain parts of the brain do tend to affect specific parts of the body. Therefore, a lesion in a specific area of the brain can often be identified as the cause of a symptom in the correlating area of ability.
We also know that brain atrophy is a part of living with Multiple Sclerosis. MRI measures this as well. Check out this graphic to see the contrast between a healthy brain and brain scans showing atrophy related to MS.
What To Expect
Your MRI will usually occur at a hospital which will contact you with a proposed time for the appointment after your referral. Your referring doctor may prescribe something to keep you calm during the procedure. I highly recommend that you accept this medication as long as someone is available to drive you home. If you dislike taking medication, you can always abstain unless you find it too difficult to undergo the procedure.
When you arrive at the facility, check in. You will need to register (even if you have pre-registered over the phone) and you will need to fill in paperwork about your health history, any tattoos you may have (inks have contained metals in the past) and any metal that may be in your body. When it is time, you will be taken to a room to change into clothing provided by the facility for MRI. A locker will be assigned to you – leave absolutely everything in this including glasses, jewelry, etc. Nothing that may contain any metal is allowed inside the MRI room.
A companion is usually allowed to accompany you into the MRI room. Once inside the room, you can choose to use ear plugs to help dampen the noise inside the machine. You will lie down on a sliding tray and your head will be secured with a cage. Some facilities will cover you with a blanket and surround you with towels to help keep you still. The technician will run an IV into your arm if you are receiving contrast (contrast is typically used in MRI for MS). The technician will put a call button in your hand for you to use if you need assistance and will then slide you into the machine.
For brain scans, you will usually be confined within the machine from the waist up.
Usually the technician’s voice will be transmitted via speakers inside the machine – they may ask you if you are alright. Hold as still as possible for the duration of the procedure – movement can ruin the image. A brain scan takes less than an hour – about 3/4 of the procedure will be complete before you are removed from the machine briefly as the contrast agent is administered. The machine makes a variety of very loud sounds while it is in use.
How To Stay Calm
  • First and foremost, be prepared. Have a plan of what to think about while inside the machine and control your thoughts. Plan to think about something you enjoy. Try to recite song lyrics to yourself, or recall stories word-for-word. Practice telling a story about something that makes you happy. The goal here is not to succeed in a memory exercise, but to distract your mind as much as possible.
  • Close your eyes before they slide you into the machine and do  not open them until you are fully out. If you open your eyes you will discover that they are astonishingly close to a wall. Bring an all-cloth sleeping mask if you are uncertain that you can keep your eyes closed.
  • Having a friend or loved one in the room can be very soothing. They can provide physical contact with any part of you not inside the machine if you need reassurance.
  • Some facilities can provide music to you during the procedure. I have never personally experienced this, but I would love the chance to. I’m certain that this would help.
  • Drugs. I could not do it without drugs, but I am admittedly a claustrophobic in normal life. Many people do not expect to have trouble in an MRI and only discover that they are wrong when they undergo the procedure. My last MRI technician stated that about 1 in 8 patients daily unexpectedly panicked inside the machine. I recommend that you discuss this with your doctor so that you can receive a prescription for a couple of pills to keep you calm.
  • Rhythmic, regular breathing. Try to control your breath – this will also help to keep you still.
While many of us will always have anxiety when faced with the machine, there is truly nothing to fear. The information you will gain from this procedure will help you arm yourself against the future.
MRI is an inescapable part of a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. It is important to find out what works for you as quickly as possible because I promise you will experience more than one.

Stuart says: Geesh - I still do remember my first few Closed MRI's and how drugged I needed to be to get into those tubes... YUK - Even now though after more than 15 scans, I still very much dislike getting into those chambers. 
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Natural Cannabis found in Marijuana helpful for MS but the patent is held by U.S. government


Aug 17, 2012

(NaturalNews) Twice as many patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) that were prescribed cannabis reported relief from muscle stiffness over the placebo while cannabis also provided better relief of body pain, muscle spasms, and sleep disturbances. In the MS study published online on July 12 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. Dr. Zajicek states that overall, progression of disease in this group ... was less than expected... In other words, cannabis appears to have slowed the progression of the disease also. This is the strongest evidence behind using cannabinoids for symptom relief in MS so far.

Oddly enough, the US government holds patents on the medicinal attributes of marijuana's usage. This is the same government that denies its citizens the legal right to use medical marijuana.

It seems logical to conclude that if our government now owns the rights to a "natural substance" through patenting that the U.S. government knows that marijuana has valid medicinal properties. So why is the U.S. government so adamant in outlawing medical marijuana and unwilling to admit that marijuana has valid medicinal properties? Some 60 percent of Americans in our "democratic" society believe that doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana and yet the man with the gun and handcuffs says "NO." That's not democracy!

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/036839_cannabis_marijuana_multiple_sclerosis.html#ixzz24yZMzano


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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Establishing a Partnership With Your Doctor


Establishing a good working relationship with your doctor can make a difference in your health and the health of your family. Make sure you:


Choose a doctor with whom you are comfortable talking.Your doctor may be helping you make life and death decisions, so you must feel that your doctor cares about you, listens to you, answers your questions, and helps you understand. You should not feel afraid to discuss anything with your doctor or feel intimidated in any way.

Talk with your doctor about your values and preferences regarding care. Do you prefer to try more conservative therapies first? Do you wish to complement traditional therapies with alternative therapies? Will your doctor support your preferences?

Find a doctor who supports your information needs. If you prefer to be well informed about your condition, find a doctor who will provide additional resources for you and who will allow time during your appointment for you to ask questions.

Talk with your doctor about how involved you wish to be in making decisions. Do you want to know all your options before making a decision? Does your doctor support you seeking a second opinion?


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COGNITIVE DEFICITS and TIPS ON ENHANCING YOUR COGNITIVE FUNCTION FOR DAILY LIVING



Cognition means knowing or perceiving. No matter what you are doing, your nervous system is always trying to provide you with the most complete and accurate picture of reality. Your cognitive processes create and refine this picture, and make it possible for you to use it. Your adjustment in every area of your life depends upon your cognitive abilities because they are what enables you to recognize and understand what is going on around you. You use these adjustments to come up with plans for dealing with changes, and you can come up with ways to put your plans into effect. Judging whether or not your approaches and adaptations worked, remembering them if they did, and then modifying them if they didn't are all cognitive processes. Every aspect of dealing with MS (as with everything else in your daily life!) is based upon the use of your cognitive abilities, therefore it can benefit you to be aware of them.

There is another important benefit to becoming familiar with your cognitive symptoms. These symptoms tend to be extremely sensitive to changes in your level of stress, so they may serve as effective warning signals. Changes in the ways that your cognitive abilities are working may provide some useful clues that you are approaching your limits. Subtle changes in aspects of your cognitive functioning can alert you that you're in danger of exceeding your capacities. Armed with these warning signals, you may be able to slow down and re-adjust, before your established symptoms begin to appear and/or intensify.

The most common cognitive difficulty in people with MS is mild to moderate impairment of short-term and working memory. People who usually have good memories may find themselves forgetting things, such as appointments. Their attention span and ability to concentrate may be diminished. Sometimes they find it hard to keep track of what they were doing before they were interrupted. For example, they may have difficulty getting back on track if the phone rings while they were sorting mail. While these problems can be quite subtle, they can be extremely frustrating and upsetting.

Some people with MS experience more serious cognitive problems. They have difficulty with planning and problem-solving and tend to become overwhelmed and inflexible when a task is too complex. They may lack the flexibility to generate alternative solutions. They may even be unaware of their difficulties and have problems monitoring their own behavior. 

Comprehension of the impact of their behavior on others may also be overlooked.

Difficulties with the self-regulation of behavior can create problems in many different ways. Some people with MS may be unable to plan and organize purposeful activity. Sometimes the problem is in the area of initiating action. Difficulties with "getting started" may appear to others as depression or lack of motivation. Other people who have MS may have the opposite problem of being unable to stop themselves. They may be very talkative and uninhibited, blurting out comments they would have kept to themselves in the past. Because they are unresponsive to the normal social clues that let them know their behavior is inappropriate, they seem very impulsive and oblivious to the reactions of others. Furthermore, they may have a "short fuse" and experience unpredictable angry outbursts.

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Fast Forward and the University of Cambridge collaborate to find new drugs that will repair the nervous system in people with MS



Aug 20, 2012
Research - Restore button
Fast Forward, LLC, a not-for-profit subsidiary of the National MS Society, is funding research at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh, UK to screen for compounds that can stimulate myelin repair in MS. Myelin is the substance that surrounds nerve fibers and is a target of the immune attack on the brain and spinal cord in MS.
The project, which will be directed by Robin Franklin, PhD, DVM, grew out of findings from a Nervous System Repair and Protection Initiative funded through the Society’s Promise:2010 campaign. Drs. Franklin and Charles ffrench-Constant, PhD (University of Edinburgh) found a molecule called RXR-gamma that is “turned on” following myelin damage, and which play a role in forming new myelin. Now Dr. Franklin is being funded to find molecules that can stimulate RXR-gamma. The award provides Dr. Franklin with $200,000 over a 12-month period that started July 13, and like other Fast Forward partnerships, payments will be contingent upon the completion of specific milestones.
Dr. Franklin and colleagues are working with Domainex, a drug discovery company that has an exceptional track record of drug candidate delivery. Dr. Franklin’s team and Domainex are using a proven virtual screening method that will allow them to identify a library of about 1,000 molecules that can promote RXR activity.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with the world class team of scientists led by Dr. Franklin,” said Dr. Timothy Coetzee, Chief Research Officer at the National MS Society. “Driving research to restore function in people with MS is a critical component of the Society’s research strategy.”
Read more about Fast Forward.
Read more about efforts to restore function to people with MS. 


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NIH researchers implicate unique cell type in multiple sclerosis



Study reveals new effects of the investigational MS drug daclizumab


Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found evidence that a unique type of immune cell contributes to multiple sclerosis (MS). Their discovery helps define the effects of one of the newest drugs under investigation for treating MS — daclizumab — and could lead to a new class of drugs for treating MS and other autoimmune disorders.

In these disorders, the immune system turns against the body's own tissues. Ongoing clinical trials have shown that daclizumab appears to help quiet the autoimmune response in MS patients, but its precise effects on the legions of cells that make up the immune system are not fully understood.

The new study, published in Science Translational Medicine, shows that one effect of daclizumab is to thin the ranks of lymphoid tissue inducer (LTi) cells. These cells are known to promote the development of lymph nodes and related tissues during fetal life, but their role during adulthood has been unclear. The new study marks the first time that LTi cells have been implicated in any human autoimmune disorder.

"While further study is required to confirm the role of LTi cells in autoimmunity, our results point to the cells as a promising target for the development of new drugs to treat autoimmune disorders," said Bibiana Bielekova, M.D., an investigator at NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

Dr. Bielekova and her team found that among MS patients participating in clinical trials of daclizumab, the number of LTi cells was elevated in patients not receiving daclizumab compared to those on the drug. Patients receiving daclizumab also had reduced signs of inflammation in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that surrounds the brain. And the researchers found that daclizumab appears to steer the body away from producing LTi cells, in favor of another cell type that counteracts autoimmunity.

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SYMPTOMS AND CONTRIBUTING FACTORS OF UTIs



If you experience urinary urgency or frequency, a burning sensation when urinating, abdominal or lower back pain, elevated body temperature, increased spasticity, or dark, foul-smelling urine, a urinary tract infection is probably present.

Between 70 and 90 percent of people with MS develop some bladder dysfunction over the course of the disease which places them at increased risk for UTIs. Chronic UTIs are prevalent, particularly among women with disabilities. They are primarily associated with disorders characterized by neurogenic (related to nervous tissue or impulses) bladder, such as multiple sclerosis. Contributing factors are believed to include difficulty in maintaining adequate cleanliness, restricted fluid intake with the hopes of reducing trips to the bathroom or to avoid searching for accessible rest rooms, indwelling or contaminated catheterization, infrequent urination and excessive sweating with prolonged sitting in a wheelchair.

SOLUTIONS

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Using positive psychology to cope with chronic illness


Is it possible to use positivity as a drug?

When someone has a more positive outlook on life, their brain is more engaged, motivated and productive – ultimately improving their health.

Shawn Achor, a Harvard researcher and author of The Happiness Advantage, spoke with Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor of FoxNews.com, about the science behind positive psychology, a method to help people cope with chronic illnesses.

“It’s the joy we feel striving towards our potential,” Achor said of his method.  “The reason we love this definition is because part of what it does is takes away from the momentary pleasures we can feel.  You can feel ups and downs in your life based on work or based upon a chronic illness, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re happy.”

Achor is the head psychologist at Everday Matters, a program developed by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the biotechnology company Genzyme, which chronicles the journeys of five people living with MS as they overcome their health challenges through positive psychology.
“They want to make positive psychology – the tools we’ve been learning about, how we can raise people’s levels of happiness – we want to find ways to make them more practical,” Achor said.

CLICK HERE to continue reading and to watch a video


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