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Friday, July 5, 2013

MS and Your Diet: Is There a Link?

By 
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD
WebMD Feature


Many foods have been touted as helpful for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Do they work?
"There are strong reasons to think that diet could affect MS symptoms and even help treat it," says neurologist Ellen Mowry, MD, of Johns Hopkins University.
But although a healthy diet is always a good idea, there is no proof that any diet or food, on its own, treats MS.
If you want to try changing your diet to see if it helps your MS, do your homework. Make sure you've got good information from a reliable source, that you'll get all the nutrients you need, and talk with your doctor before making major changes.
You may have heard about certain nutrients or diets for MS. One thing to keep in mind is that there hasn't been a lot of research done in this area, and there aren't solid results showing benefits.
For instance:
Oil change. Some early studies showed promise in a diet low in saturated fat and supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. But 2012 review of research did not find any benefit for omega-3s and omega-6s. So for now, the findings are mixed.
Vitamin DLow levels of vitamin D are linked with more severe MS symptoms. The body makes  vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, and MS is more common in parts of the world that get less direct sun. 
Does that mean that taking vitamin D supplements will help? That's not certain. "I think the evidence that vitamin D supplements could help is pretty strong, but we don't know for sure," says Mowry, who is leading two studies of vitamin D and MS. Before trying vitamin D supplements, ask your doctor to test your vitamin D blood level and ask their advice on how much you should take.
Diets that people have promoted for MS include:
  • Gluten-free diet. Cutting out gluten is popular. But there's no evidence it helps people with MS, says Allen C. Bowling, MD, PhD, medical director of the Multiple Sclerosis Service at the Colorado Neurological Institute and author ofComplementary and Alternative Medicine and Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Swank diet. This diet, developed over 60 years ago, has very low levels of saturated fats. Though some studies have shown promise, none has shown a convincing benefit, Bowling says. "I don’t think the Swank diet is harmful, but it’s hard to stick to," he says.
  • Wahls diet. This diet emphasizes fruits and vegetables -- 9 cups a day - but no studies have shown a clear result.  Bowling believes its emphasis on certain nutrients leads some followers to “use high doses of many supplements.” He cautions that the safety of such high doses has not been proven. Discuss any supplements you're taking with your doctor, even if the products are natural.





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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Clinical Trial Investigates Drug for Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

June 2013 

Santhera Pharmaceuticals has obtained an exclusive license from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to its rights on a patent granted in the USA for the use of idebenone for the treatment of primary-progressive MS (PPMS), a currently untreatable disease affecting about 40,000 patients in the Unites States. The NIH is investigating the efficacy of Catena® (idebenone) in PPMS in a placebo-controlled Phase II clinical trial (the IPPoMS trial).

Santhera is providing study medication under a clinical trial agreement which gives Santhera the rights to the results. Santhera has now obtained the exclusive rights to the use patent for idebenone in PPMS granted in the USA. Patients who complete the IPPoMS trial can enter into a 12-months open-label extension trial for which Santhera and the NIH recently signed a Materials Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (M-CRADA).

“Patients with PPMS do not respond to immunomodulatory therapies with proven efficacy in relapsing remitting MS,” said Bibiana Bielekova, M.D, the principal investigator of the IPPoMS trial. “Accumulating data indicate that mitochondrial dysfunction and related oxidative stress may play a major role in the pathogenesis of progressive MS. Idebenone enhances mitochondrial function and acts as an anti-oxidant against membrane damage in laboratory models and is a rational treatment choice in PPMS based on these pharmacological properties.”

Effective treatments for relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) are limited to immune-modulatory therapies which have not been proven to be effective in people with PPMS. This subtype develops much slower than RRMS but presents a steady functional decline without any distinct episodes of regeneration or acute relapses. IT is estimated there are about 40,000 people with PPMS living in the United States.


Adult PPMS patients up to 65 years of age with disability ranging from none to moderately severe are eligible to enroll in the trial. This is a Phase I/II safety/efficacy trial with an adaptive trial design: one year of pretreatment baseline period serves the dual purpose of collecting patient-specific biomarkers of disease progression and collecting longitudinal neuroimaging and clinical data for selection of primary outcome measures. This baseline period is then followed by a double-blind, idebenone (2250 mg/day) versus placebo treatment phase for a total of 2 years. 

Additional information can be obtained under www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT00950248).

Source: MSFYi Internet newsletter

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MS Presents Differently Among Family Members

Family members may share onset age of multiple sclerosis, but not disease severity. Sometimes multiple sclerosis (MS) runs in families. It has not been clear how similar the disease is between family members, however. MS is very variable in its symptoms and progression. 

Researchers at the University of Cambridge report a study which shows how the course of MS varies within families. The team looked at data on 2,310 individuals from over 1,000 families in which two or more members had MS. They looked at data on age of onset, disability, and disease severity. Age of onset tended to be similar between affected members of the same family. This was so whether parents and children or siblings were being compared. Siblings also tended to have similar patterns of progression. But there was no such relationship between parents and children.


There was also no correlation between the severity of the disease in one family member and its severity in another member. The cause of these observations is unknown – the underlying factors could be genetic or environmental. The findings have important implications for counseling patients with MS – they should not look to their relatives with MS for clues to the outcome of their own disease.

Source: MSFYi Internet Newsletter

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The ABCs of Pain Management for Multiple Sclerosis


About two-thirds of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience pain at some point during their illness. If you’re among them, getting your pain under control is a top priority. When your pain is well managed, you’ll feel more upbeat and ready to take on other challenges.

Causes of MS Pain

MS pain can take many forms, depending on the cause. There are three main sources:
  • Nerve pain is caused by problems with the nerves that carry sensation. Depending on which nerves are affected, it may feel like a stabbing pain in your face or a burning, throbbing, aching, or prickling pain around your body. Another form of nerve pain is Lhermitte’s sign—a shock-like sensation that runs from the back of your head down your spine when you bend your neck forward.
  • Muscle spasm pain occurs when a malfunction in nerve pathways makes your muscles squeeze and spasm painfully. Tightening of muscles around your joints may also lead to aching there.
  • Other muscle and joint pain results when MS keeps you from moving or standing normally. Limping, twisting awkwardly, or using mobility aids incorrectly puts stress on muscles and joints, which may lead to aching or stabbing pain.
Because MS pain is a complex problem, there is no simple solution. That can be frustrating, especially when you’re suffering. But don’t give up. There are many different treatment options available. By working closely with your doctor, you can develop an effective pain management plan. Often, the journey to pain relief follows an ABC path.


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Medications Used in MS

Medications Used in MS


The following table lists the medications commonly used in the management of MS. For each product, the table gives the chemical name, the brand name, and the common usage in MS, as well as its availability in the United States and Canada. Products available without a prescription are so indicated (+).
To See this Table of Current MS Medications, click here

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Why MS & Cooling?

Why MS & Cooling?


Many people with multiple sclerosis are sensitive to the heat, which often increases their symptoms. Studies have shown that cooling the body can help lessen the negative effects of heat and improve the quality of life of people with MS. 

According to a 2010 research study, Dr. George Kraft found that:

"...After body temperature had dropped about one degree... participants improved on tests of coordination, balance, and in the ability to sustain physical activity. We concluded that cooling is an appropriate therapy for people with MS heat-sensitivity." *

Here are some resources to help you learn more about MS and Cooling:

Source: POLAR PRODUCTS - http://www.polarproducts.com

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Higher Education May Be Protective Against Multiple Sclerosis-Associated Cognitive Deficits

July 2, 2013 — Multiple sclerosis (MS) can lead to severe cognitive impairment as the disease progresses. Researchers in Italy have found that patients with high educational levels show less impairment on a neuropsychological evaluation compared with those with low educational levels.

Their results are published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience.
MS is a progressive immunologic brain disorder with neuropsychological deficits including selective attention, working memory, executive functioning, information processing speed, and long term memory. These deficits often impact daily life (ability to do household tasks, interpersonal relationships, employment, and overall quality of life).
In this study, investigators first assessed the role of cognitive reserve, the brain's active attempt to focus on how tasks are processed, in compensating for the challenge represented by brain damage. Earlier studies had reported that higher cognitive reserve protects MS subjects from disease-related cognitive inefficiency but in these studies cognitive reserve was mainly estimated through a vocabulary test. Here, investigators considered educational level and occupational attainment instead of vocabulary. They also evaluated both educational and occupational experience, hypothesizing that an individual's lifetime occupational attainment could also be considered a good proxy of CR, similar to the way in which higher occupational attainment reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
The second aim of the study was to investigate the possible role of perceived fatigue. Fatigue can have a great negative influence on daily life, so that higher perceived fatigue might result in lower cognitive performance.
Fifty consecutive clinically diagnosed MS patients took part in the study. A control group included 157 clinically healthy subjects, with no psychiatric or neurological diagnosis. Individuals in both groups were, on average, of the same age, education level and gender. The mean age was 40.41 (± 9.67) years, with 12.37 (± 4.42) years of education.
Cognitive performance was evaluated using the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT), in which a series of single digit numbers are presented and the two most recent digits must be summed. This test has high sensitivity in detecting MS-related cognitive deficits as it relies strongly on working memory and information processing speed abilities. Fatigue was evaluated through the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS), which assesses the effects of fatigue in terms of physical, cognitive, and psychosocial functioning.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Myelin Repair Foundation Grants License for Novel Mouse Model to Biogen Idec

MRF's Innovative Technology Can Accelerate Drug Research and Development for Multiple Sclerosis
SARATOGA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul. 1, 2013-- The Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF) today has granted a non-exclusive sublicense to Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) for the use of MRF's technologies to generate a novel mouse model for all demyelinating diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS). 
Biogen Idec, an independent biotechnology company with a strong focus on multiple sclerosis therapies, will use the MRF technology in its in-house drug discovery programs. The Myelin Repair Foundation and Biogen Idec will collaborate to improve the licensed technologies to enhance discovery of myelin repair therapeutics and speed clinical development.
Novel technologies such as this mouse model come as a direct result of MRF's Accelerated Research Collaboration™ (ARC™) model, which centers on a collaborative research approach that accounts for the entire continuum of therapeutics development, from early research through clinical trials. The DTA mouse model was pioneered by MRF Principal Investigator Dr. Brian Popko, Ph.D., and Dr. Maria Traka, Ph.D., both from the University of Chicago, in collaboration with MRF Principal Investigator Dr. Stephen Miller, Ph.D. and Dr. Joseph Podojil, Ph.D., both fromNorthwestern University. The most commonly used models for MS currently mimic the hyperactive inflammatory process in MS patients. The DTA model is unique because demyelination is the result of the specific loss of the principal target cells in multiple sclerosis, thus facilitating the identification of potential treatments that will restore myelin production by these target cells.
“Our collaboration with the Myelin Repair Foundation will incorporate their technology into our evaluation of novel approaches to stimulating myelin repair,” said Ken Rhodes, Vice President of Neurology Research, Biogen Idec. “Our collaborative efforts with MRF scientists will evaluate drug candidates' effectiveness in reversing myelin damage and hopefully advance R&D efforts for a new generation of MS therapeutics.”
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Biogen Idec as a demonstration of our commitment to patients,” said Scott Johnson, CEO, founder and president of the Myelin Repair Foundation. “We feel it is unique that as a nonprofit research organization, we are licensing our technology to a pharmaceutical company to support drug discovery of MS therapeutics. The MRF's Accelerated Research Collaboration model is designed to translate academic research discoveries to the industry setting. With Biogen Idec by our side, our goal is to utilize improved technology to advance MRF programs for myelin repair therapies into the clinic, to ultimately impact patients with MS.”

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Study Shows That a Higher Concentration Dose of Glatiramer Acetate Given Three Times a Week Reduced Annualized Relapse Rates in the Treatment of Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis

JERUSALEM--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 01, 2013-- 
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA) announced today that data from the Glatiramer Acetate Low-frequency Administration (GALA) study, published in the Annals of Neurology, show that a 40mg/ 1mL dose of COPAXONE(R) (glatiramer acetate injection) administered subcutaneously three times per week significantly reduced relapse rates at 12 months and demonstrated a favorable safety and tolerability profile in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Currently, the approved dose for COPAXONE(R) is 20mg/ 1mL, which is a once a day subcutaneous injection.
The GALA study, a multinational, phase III, double blind, placebo controlled study, was designed to evaluate the efficacy, safety and tolerability of an investigational 40mg/ 1mL dose of GA given three times a week over a period of 12 months for the treatment of RRMS.
The published data show that glatiramer acetate (GA) 40mg/ 1 mL injections administered three times a week reduced annualized relapse rates by 34.0% (p<0.0001), reduced the cumulative number of new and enlarging T2 lesions by 34.7% (p<0.0001) when measured at six and 12 months, and the cumulative number of gadolinium enhancing lesions by 44.8% (p<0.0001) when measured at six and 12 months, as compared to placebo in patients with RRMS.
"We are pleased with the positive data of the GALA study which may lead to meaningful benefits for RRMS patients," said lead study author Omar Khan, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Chair of the Department of Neurology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI. "COPAXONE(R) 40mg/ 1 mL given three times a week demonstrated a favorable safety and tolerability profile, with the overall frequency of adverse events comparable to those seen in the placebo group."
The most common adverse event in the GA group was injection site reactions (35.5% with GA vs. 5.0% with placebo).
About the Study
The objective of the GALA study was to assess the efficacy and safety of glatiramer acetate (GA) 40mg/ 1mL administered three times weekly (tiw) compared with placebo in patients with relapsing--remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
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Texas man with multiple sclerosis uses bee venom therapy

This therapy was once spoken about many times. Now hardly...


WATCH BEE STING THERAPY Video found here


by Vicente Arenas / khou.com
Posted on July 1, 2013 at 11:29 PM
Updated today at 4:35 PM
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas -- According to Allan Swor, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, none of his medications were helping to ease the pain. He could barely move so he decided to try an unusual treatment.
He started bee venom therapy which requires him to be stung nearly 100 times each week.
“I thought it was crazy,” Swor said.
He still ordered the bees through the mail to begin the treatment. His sister Brenda Vozzo provides the treatment.
“I was scared to death,” Vozzo said.
She stings her brother 30 times a day, three days a week.
“I just feel better all the time,” Swor said. “I hope I can work again one day.”
The stings are said to produce cortisol which can relieve inflammation.
Doctors said there are no studies to prove it works.
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Immunotherapy for MS Succeeds in Trial

This article, about an early trial for a new MS drug that is delivered via skin patch sounds promising.   It is early phase I meaning it will be at least 5-6 years before we see it approved by the FDA if it works well and is found to be safe.
 Cherie C. Binns RN BS MSCN
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Published: Jul 1, 2013 | Updated: Jul 2, 2013



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A skin patch delivering peptides derived from the presumed autoimmune target in multiple sclerosis reduced relapse frequency and brain lesions in a pilot clinical trial, researchers said.
In 30 patients with relapsing-remitting MS enrolled in the 1-year, placebo-controlled trial, those receiving the myelin skin patches containing 1 mg of peptides had an annualized relapse rate of 0.43 versus 1.4 in patients treated with a placebo patch (P=0.007), according to Krzysztof Selmaj, MD, PhD, of the Medical University of Lodz in Poland, and colleagues.
The mean cumulative number of gadolinium-enhancing brain lesions per patient was lower with the 1 mg patch by 66.5% compared with controls (0.0085 versus 0.0255, P=0.02), they reported online in JAMA Neurology.
However, a 10-mg patch appeared to be substantially less effective than the lower-dose patch. Brain lesion counts and volumes in this group (which had only four patients) were similar to those in the placebo group, even as the mean annualized relapse rate was lower at 0.25 than in either of the other two treatment arms (P not reported).
Selmaj and colleagues speculated that the higher peptide dose in the 10-mg patch may have triggered increased pathological immune cell activity, potentially "induc[ing] a number of specific T cells to differentiate into effector cells," they wrote.
No serious adverse events were reported. Patch-site reactions of "modest intensity" were seen in four of the 20 patients receiving the myelin patches. Other adverse effects occurred at similar rates in all three arms.
In an accompanying commentary, Lawrence Steinman, MD, of Stanford University, called the results "promising" and added that they were consistent with what many in the field have considered the Holy Grail in MS: the induction of immunological tolerance.
MS is widely believed to result from an autoimmune attack on myelin, the principal component of the sheathing that surrounds nerve fibers. When the myelin sheaths become sufficiently degraded, nerve function is impaired as well.
But, compared with the drug-development effort industry has expended toward agents that interfere with some aspect of immune function, comparatively little has focused on persuading the immune system to stop attacking myelin in the first place, Steinman indicated.
"It is clear that the pharmaceutical industry is taking the safer approach, the 'well-traveled road,' when they redirect drugs with a major impact on immune function, drugs often already approved for other diseases," he wrote, alluding to drugs such as anti-CD20 drugs including rituximab (Rituxan) and ocrelizumab and the anti-CD52 agent alemtuzumab (Lemtrada).




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Monday, July 1, 2013

Find a 'Questcor Acthar' learning Program in Various USA locations, month-by-month


LINK TO QUESTCOR PATIENT PROGRAMS ANYWHERE IN THE U.S.A.




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A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study of Axona for Cognitive Impairment in Patients with MS

A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study of Axona for Cognitive Impairment in Patients with MS
Primary Investigators: Melissa R. Ortega, MD, Heather Katzen, PhD. University of Miami in collaboration with Accera, Inc.
Cognitive problems are a common symptom in individuals with MS. Treatment options are limited, and there is a pressing need for new interventions to treat MS-related cognitive impairment. Investigators at the University of Miami in conjunction with Accera, Inc. are currently testing a unique strategy for treating cognitive dysfunction in individuals with MS. This research study will examine the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of Axona in MS. Axona, manufactured by Accera, is a prescription medical food that has been shown to improve memory in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Axona is made from special fats (caprylic triglyceride), which the body breaks down into substances called “ketone bodies,” and these ketone bodies can provide an alternative energy source for brain cells. This alternative energy source may replace the failing metabolism of glucose in the brain, which research shows may be linked to cognitive decline in MS patients.

This double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study is being be conducted by Drs. Melissa Ortega and Heather Katzen at the University of Miami MS Center. The study will enroll 158 MS patients over the next 3 years and is funded by Fast Forward, LLC, a nonprofit organization established by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Patients between the ages of 18 and 59 with all types of MS (Relapsing Remitting, Secondary Progressive, or Primary Progressive) are eligible to participate. Participants will undergo detailed cognitive assessment before initiating treatment and again after 90 days of treatment, to determine whether Axona demonstrates a benefit over placebo.

For more information, please contact the study coordinator, Gloria Rodriguez at 305-243-8052.
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Background/Rationale: Cognitive problems are a common symptom in individuals with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Treatment options are limited, and there is a pressing need for new interventions to treat MS-related cognitive impairment. Glucose (a type of sugar) is used to fuel the cells of the healthy brain. For people with neurological conditions such as MS, glucose is not converted into energy as efficiently as it would be in a healthy brain, which can lead to a decrease in cognitive function. Caprylic Triglyceride may work to bypass this problem by providing an alternative energy source that is metabolized in the liver and used by the brain.

Objective: To evaluate the therapeutic effects of 90 days of caprylic triglyceride on cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis.

Design: Randomized, double blinded, placebo controlled trial of 158 subjects.

Outcome: Change in Total Learning (Trials 1-5) on the California Verbal Learning Test-2nd Edition-(CVLT-II) AND Change in Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) (at day 90

READ more of this study - that is taking place at the University of Miami - by clicking here


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Avanir Pharmaceuticals Announces Completion of Patient Enrollment in PRIME Study

Published: Monday, Jul. 1, 2013 - 6:13 am
/PRNewswire/ -- Avanir Pharmaceuticals,Inc. (NASDAQ: AVNR) today announced completion of patient enrollment in the company's phase II, placebo controlled study testing three doses of AVP-923 for the treatment of central neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis.Top-line results from this study are expected in the fourth calendar quarter of 2013.  
"Final completion of enrollment in PRIME is an important milestone in the AVP-923 development pathway," said Joao Siffert, MD, chief scientific officer at Avanir. "We are looking forward to the results from this study to help guide design of our phase III studies in neuropathic pain."
About the PRIME Study The objectives of the PRIME (Pain Research In Multiple Sclerosis) study are to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of AVP-923 for the treatment of central neuropathic pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.
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