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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Natalizumab shows promise for teens with multiple sclerosis

February 22, 2013 in Neuroscience 

Natalizumab shows promise for teens with multiple sclerosis

(HealthDay)—Natalizumab may be safe in pediatric multiple sclerosis (MS) patients with highly active disease, according to a small study published online Feb. 18 in JAMA Neurology.

Barbara Kornek, M.D., from the Medical University of Vienna, and colleagues retrospectively reviewed data on 20 pediatric patients with MS who started treatment with natalizumab (300 mg every four weeks) prior to 18 years of age (mean age at initiation, 16.7 years). These patients underwent MRI as clinically indicated, despite the fact that 19 of the patients were undergoing first-line disease-modifying therapy.

 The researchers found that treatment with natalizumab was associated with significant reductions in mean annualized relapse rates (3.7 without treatment versus 0.4 with treatment), median Expanded Disability Status Scale scores (two without treatment versus one with treatment), and mean number of new T2/fluid-attenuated inversion recovery lesions per year (7.8 without treatment versus 0.5 with treatment). 

Two patients had to stop therapy due to development of high-titer neutralizing antibodies against natalizumab. Other adverse events included headaches, asthenia, infections, and hypersensitivity. Eight patients had abnormal laboratory results, with John Cunningham virus antibodies found in five of 13 patients. Relapse activity occurred in six of eight patients within six months following discontinuation of natalizumab therapy. "Our data indicate that natalizumab may be safe and effective against MS in pediatric patients with breakthrough disease," the authors write.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Cancer Drug a Possible Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, Rat Study Suggests

Feb. 21, 2013 — A drug that is currently used for cancer can relieve and slow down the progression of the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS) in rats, according to a new study published inPLOS ONE. The discovery, which was made by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, might one day lead to better forms of treatment for patients with MS.

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(( WATCH THIS )) Stem Cell Therapy: Healing Force of the future

In this episode of Breakthrough Medicine, experts from the University of Miami's Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI) use adult stem cells to repair organs and save lives.
In this episode of Breakthrough Medicine, experts from the University of Miami's Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI) use adult stem cells to repair organs and save lives. A heart attack victim receives his own stem cells in hopes of repairing his damaged heart muscle, and after all other methods have failed, patients with chronic wounds turn to a revolutionary study that heals broken skin.

Can you be saved by your own cells? Watch to find out how unlocking the powers of adult stem cells is changing medicine.


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Stem Cell Therapy for Patients With Multiple Sclerosis Failing Interferon A Randomized Study - at Northwestern University

This study is currently recruiting participants.
Verified December 2012 by Northwestern University
Rush University Medical Center
University of Sao Paulo
Uppsala University
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Richard Burt, MD, Northwestern University

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is at onset an immune-mediated demyelinating disease. In most cases, it starts as a relapsing-remitting disease with distinct attacks and no symptoms between flares. Over years or decades, virtually all cases transition into a progressive disease in which insidious and slow neurologic deterioration occurs with or without acute flares. Relapsing-remitting disease is often responsive to immune suppressive or modulating therapies, while immune based therapies are generally ineffective in patients with a progressive clinical course. This clinical course and response to immune suppression, as well as neuropathology and neuroimaging studies, suggest that disease progression is associated with axonal atrophy. Disability correlates better with measures of axonal atrophy than immune mediated demyelination. Therefore, immune based therapies, in order to be effective, need to be started early in the disease course while MS is predominately an immune-mediated and inflammatory disease. While current immune based therapies delay disability, no intervention has been proven to prevent progressive disability. We propose, as a randomized study, autologous unmanipulated PBSCT using a conditioning regimen of cyclophosphamide and rATG versus FDA approved standard of care (i.e. interferon, copaxone, or mitoxantrone) in patients with inflammatory (relapsing) MS despite treatment with interferon.

Read more of this study from Clinical -


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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Staying Sharp With MS

Cognitive impairment doesn't have to slow you down. Here's how to deal with those MS symptoms that take a toll on your mental fitness.

Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

More than 400,000 people in the United States are currently living with multiple sclerosis, according to the National MS Society. Of these people, about 50 percent of them will experience some sort of cognitive impairment. That’s because just as MS impairs the body, it can also affect the mind.
staying sharp with MS
But for most, cognitive impairment in MS is rarely severe or debilitating. “Only 5 to 10 percent of people with MS suffer cognitive impairment that is bad enough to significantly interfere with daily activities or their ability to take care of themselves in their home,” says William Sheremata, MD, professor emeritus of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida.
Nonetheless, it is important to understand the MS symptoms that could affect you mentally.
Types of Cognitive Impairment Problems
MS symptoms involving cognitive impairment may include:
  • Short-term memory loss. This is the most common form of cognitive impairment. You draw a blank on a familiar phone number, forget whether you took your medication, or can’t recall why you left the living room to go into the kitchen.
  • Mental fatigue. Cognitive impairment can cause “brain fog” or slow thinking. “In psychological tests, MS patients have been found to tire more quickly," says Dr. Sheremata, leading them to perform less well on tests of cognitive performance.
  • Distractibility. You may have a hard time focusing on what you’re doing. Some MS patients with cognitive impairment issues are easily distracted by noise, such as the television or music. It’s also difficult for them to multi-task.
  • Verbal fluency problems. You may have difficulty finding the right words in conversations or get lost in a middle of a sentence. However, people with MS are able to understand words they hear and read just as well as people without MS, says Sheremata.
  • Impaired planning. People with this MS symptom can have trouble planning and organizing their day. Some research shows that up 40 percent of people with MS are less able to plan than people without MS.
  • Complex problems. Mental MS symptoms can impact a patient’s ability to figure out a difficult problem. “You may feel overwhelmed if a problem is too complex and may not be able to come up with alternate solutions,” explains Sheremata. This can lead to poor judgment.
Diagnosing and Treating MS Cognitive Impairment
Cognitive impairment doesn’t have to interfere with your quality of life or prevent you from continuing to work. Recognizing any difficulties and taking steps to compensate can make a big difference. If you suspect some cognitive impairment, discuss these MS symptoms with your doctor. Since cognitive impairment in MS is usually fairly subtle, your doctor will want to make sure that MS is causing the cognitive impairment rather than aging, medication side effects, or depression. You may be referred to a neuropsychologist or speech pathologist for testing. Based on these findings, a variety of exercises and techniques may be recommended to help compensate for cognitive MS symptoms. Certain disease-modifying MS medications may also be helpful.

Click here to continue reading - directly from everyday Health

Kaz Aston releases a “Really Clear Guide to MS”

When Kaz Aston was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 18 years ago, it made her more determined than ever to lead a full, active life, full of adventure. Her latest achievement is the publication of  “Really Clear Guide to MS” in 67 languages, to help people with MS understand the condition, and get the most out of life.

Kaz was a 21-year-old student nurse when she discovered she had MS. She started to learn as much as she could about the condition and to tell everyone how MS affects people and what patients can do to help themselves lead healthy lives. She found that many books and leaflets on MS were too complicated for patients and their families to fully understand. She saw there was a need for a new guide to explain the condition, how it develops, and the treatments available to help patients.

So, with her medical training and the backing of her consultant Dr Richard Nicholas, and specialist nurses at Charing Cross Hospital, in Hammersmith, London, Kaz has written the  'Really Clear Guide to MS' to help the 2.5 million people affected by Multiple Sclerosis across the world.

Kaz is acutely aware that in some countries there is very little information about MS and how the condition affects people. She has translated the guide into many languages to be accessible to people all around the world.
Kaz works tirelessly to spread information about MS, and supports many charities raising money and telling people about the condition.

She plays golf and darts, goes clay pigeon shooting, and has taken part in drag racing events and a Round the Island yacht race. She’s currently the sports lead for the Rotary Club of London.

She said: “This Really Clear Guide to MS is all about sharing useful information that you can easily understand with no big words or medical jargon. The topics included, I hope, will help you get your head around Multiple Sclerosis (MS) a little more. I have lived with MS for over 18 years, learnt loads over the last 20 years and am still learning. Yes being a Registered Nurse helped but when dealing with everyday life challenges we can all face then dealing with MS, it can be tough sometimes.”

The general perception of MS is that it is a debilitating condition which prevents people leading active lives. Kaz is trying to change that. She and her medical team are optimistic about the future for people with this condition. There have been many developments in the understanding and treatment of MS. Ten new drugs are being trialled and researchers are also exploring the benefits of stem cell treatment.

Visit MS Clear Guide from here:


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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

MS Relapses / Exacerbations

By , Guide Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board

MS relapses are one of the most frustrating areas of multiple sclerosis for patients, their doctors and loved ones to deal with and understand. The first year after my MS diagnosis, I was constantly wondering if the disappearing-reappearing-disappearing tingling in my feet was an exacerbation, because some days it would seem to be almost gone, then other days it would almost keep me from walking normally. Then I would have the girdle-band pain that was there for a couple of hours, then gone for three days, only to come back temporarily.

What a Relapse Is:

A relapse is a clinically significant event (meaning that it has outward signs and/or symptoms) caused by an MS lesion on your brain or spinal cord. It is either a worsening of symptoms that you already have, or the appearance of new symptoms. Relapses are also referred to as "exacerbations," "attacks" or "flares."

Causes of Relapse:

Relapses are caused by the inflammation that occurs when your immune system attacks the myelin surrounding nerves in your brain or spinal cord. Myelin is the protective coating that covers nerves and helps them conduct signals. When the myelin is attacked by immune cells, a “lesion” or an area of inflammation and eventual damage (demyelination) occurs, making the nerves less efficient in conducting signals. Your symptoms depend on the location of this lesion. For instance, inflammation in the cerebellum can cause loss of balance and coordination, while inflammation of the optic nerves can cause decreased vision.

Signs of a Relapse:

Some relapses are very obvious, for instance, losing your sight in one eye due to an attack ofoptic neuritis. However, other relapses may not be as sudden or dramatic and you may just feel extra “wobbly” or tired. The way to really know if you are having a relapse is to have an MRI with gadolinium (contrast material that is injected during the MRI scan). Gadolinium is drawn to areas of inflammation and “lights up” when a lesion is “active.” In this case, demylenation is currently occurring, and you are having a true relapse, rather than feeling symptoms caused by older lesions.

Complete article found here


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Signs of Multiple Sclerosis Relapse

Signs of Multiple Sclerosis Relapse

What Happens During a Relapse?

When you experience a multiple sclerosis relapse (also known as an exacerbation or flare-up), it's because new damage in your brain or spinal cord disrupts nerve signals. That's why you might notice new symptoms or the return of old symptoms. A true relapse lasts more than 24 hours and happens at least 30 days after any previous relapses. Relapses vary in length, severity, and symptoms. Over time, your symptoms should improve. Many people recover from their relapses without treatment.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Inspiring people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

by Claudia Sierra

I was diagnosed on January 15, 2001. This is a date that I will never forget. I never thought in life that I would ask a doctor if I was going to die. Only 5 months before I was feeling pins and needles, losing balance and the worst; I couldn't walk. That the doctor was explaining to me a much worse future did not certainly help. When the doctor told me I had MS, I started uncontrollably crying and at that time I did not even know what MS was. 

Here I am 21 years old, a college student doing all that college students do. Life couldn't be any better and I could not ask for more. Going to the beach, partying and concerts were my major in college.

Becoming an adult brought me to the reality of work but MS has not stopped me from living my life. Going to the beach several times a week swimming in the ocean; didn't stop me from partying; didn't stop me going to concerts jumping 2 to 3 hour's non stop. But MS gave me more: now traveling is part of my life; now I take Tai-Chi and belly dancing classes; I do exercise regularly; I eat much healthier; and now I can even work sometimes up to 12 hours non-stop.

Now at present I am 32 and certainly MS has changed my life. The way I see it and live it, most of the changes have been for the better. MS has not stopped me from doing what ever I want and however I chose to do it.

If you have been diagnosed with MS, I am sure we have things in common. If you want someone to talk to, do get in touch with me:


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Stony Brook Medicine - Dept of Neurology - Teleconference Series

Multiple Sclerosis

Teleconferences are presented by Lauren B. Krupp, MD. Dr. Krupp is a Professor of Neurology, Psychology and Pediatrics at Stony Brook Medicine, and is an internationally recognized expert in multiple sclerosis. She is the Director of the Lourie Center for Pediatric MS at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and the Co-Director of the adult MS Comprehensive Care Center at Stony Brook Medicine. Dr. Krupp is a principal investigator for numerous research studies on MS.

7:00 pm
Thursday, February 21 — pediatric
Wednesday, March 27 — adult
Wednesday, April 24 — pediatric
Thursday, May 16 — adult

To register - please call 631-444-7832
for any or all dates

Ask the expert your MS questions.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), these free teleconferences are an excellent opportunity to hear about the latest clinical research and ask questions of a world-renowned expert in the field. 

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Combating Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Fatigue

Medically speaking, fatigue is not the same thing as tiredness. Tiredness happens to everyone -- it is an expected feeling after certain activities or at the end of the day. Usually you know why you are tired and a good night's sleep solves the problem.
Fatigue is a daily lack of energy; unusual or excessive whole-body tiredness not relieved by sleep. It can be acute (lasting a month or less) or chronic (lasting from one to six months or longer). Fatigue can prevent a person from functioning normally and affects a person's quality of life.

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