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Friday, September 27, 2013

ADAPT your Home for MS

Because daily activities -- including leisure activities -- can cause fatigue more quickly in people with multiple sclerosis, it's important to modify your activity levels. And, because MS can make moving around difficult, making certain changes to your home environment may help conserve energy and increase independence.

Home Equipment for Multiple Sclerosis

If you have multiple sclerosis, an occupational therapist or rehabilitation specialist can recommend a variety of devices that are designed to make home care and daily activities more comfortable. Some examples include:
  • Built-up utensils
  • Grab bars
  • Reacher devices
  • Electric beds or mattresses
  • Sliding boards
  • Wheelchairs
Along with appropriate medicationsexercise, and other management techniques, this equipment can help you maintain a good quality of life. 

What Changes Can I Make in My Home for Multiple Sclerosis?

For those with multiple sclerosis, following is a list of the most common recommendations that can assist you in dressing, bathing, using the toilet, general hygiene and self-care activities, eating and drinking, working in the kitchen, cleaning, and shopping.
Not all of these recommendations may benefit your personal situation. Your occupational therapist or rehabilitation specialist can help determine which of these recommendations are best for you.
Dressing
  • Get dressed while sitting in a chair that has arm rests. This will help you keep your balance.
  • Roll from side to side to get pants over your hips. You can do this while sitting in a chair or lying down on your bed.
  • Wear clothes that are loose-fitting and have elastic waistbands.
  • Choose wrap-around clothing instead of the pull-over type. Also choose clothing that opens in the front, not the back.
  • Wear clothing with large, flat buttons or use Velcro closures.
  • Use a buttonhook to button clothing.
  • If you have shoulder weakness, use a dressing stick to get your coat or shirt on and off.
  • Use a zipper pull or attach a leather loop on the end of the zipper to zip pants or jackets.
  • Use devices such as a sock aid and a long-handled shoehorn for additional assistance.
Bathing
  • Install grab bars inside and outside the bathtub or shower.
  • Use a bathtub transfer bench or a shower chair with back support.
  • Put extended lever handles on faucets to make them easier to turn.
  • Put a nonskid mat in the bathtub.
  • Use a handheld hose for showering and bathing.
  • Use a long-handled sponge or scrubbing brush.
  • Use soap-on-a-rope, bath mitts, or sponges with soap inside, or a soft soap applicator instead of bar soap.
  • Use lukewarm water; very hot water can cause fatigue and aggravate your symptoms.
  • Sew straps on towels to make them easier to hold while drying.
  • Place a towel on the floor outside the tub to dry your feet so you don't slip.
  • Put a towel on the back of your chair and rub your back against it to dry. Or use a terry cloth robe instead of a towel to dry off.

Continue reading  from page 2 of the WebMD article

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Number of multiple sclerosis patients in the UK 'growing'

The number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the UK is falling while the number of those living with the disease is growing, research shows.
Scientists at the University of Dundee found that between 1990 and 2010 there was a 2.4% annual rise in MS patients despite a fall in new cases.
The increase was put down to improved mortality rates, which fell 3% a year.
Researchers believe the findings could have a major impact on the future allocation of resources for patients.
The study estimated that across the UK just over 6,000 people were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis during 2010 and there were nearly 127,000 people living with the condition.
In MS patients the body's immune system attacks and destroys the myelin coating of nerves in the brain and spinal cord.
'Environmental factors'
The peak age at which MS is diagnosed is between 40 and 50 years.
The disease is much more common in women than in men - 72% of people living with MS in 2010 are women.
Dr Isla Mackenzie, who led the research, said the study covered patients from GP practices throughout the country.
She said: "This study provides an up to date national picture of the epidemiology of MS in the UK.
"It is important to have this information on the prevalence of MS in order to understand the impact of this disease and to ensure that adequate resources are provided both nationally and regionally for people affected by MS."
MS is more common in Scotland than in other regions of the UK.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New imaging test for multiple sclerosis developed at Case could help speed up new treatments & Discoveries

Brie Zeltner, The Plain DealerBy Brie Zeltner, The Plain Dealer 

on September 24, 2013

CLEVELAND, Ohio-- Multiple sclerosis, an immune-related disease of the brain and spinal cord that causes muscle spasms, numbness and difficulty walking, has no cure. Several treatments can stabilize the disease early in its course or slow it down once it has advanced, but many of them have serious side effects.

One of the impediments to advancing research on new treatments for MS is that there is no imaging test that can track or show the exact state of damage to the myelin, which is the fatty protective insulation to the nerves that is broken down during the disease.

Now, researchers at Case Western Reserve University think they have found a way to do just that, using positron emission tomography, or PET imaging and a molecular marker called MeDAS. By injecting MeDAS into the spinal cords of mice and rats that have an animal model of the disease, they were able to show, and quantify, the damage done to the animals’ myelin.
“This is a highly desired technique in the medical community,” said Yanming Wang, senior author of the paper describing their findings published Monday in the journal Annals of Neurology, and associate professor of radiology at Case. “[Drug companies] have myelin-repairing drugs in development but no way to measure their effectiveness in a quantitative way. This imaging technique could allow them to do that.”

About 400,000 people in the United States and more than 2 million people worldwide have multiple sclerosis, according to the National MS Society. The disease is two to three times more common in women.

Wang said the technique may also be of use in other diseases that involve nervous system damage, such as Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injury and stroke.

Wang’s group, at Case’s Center for Imaging Research, has been working on the problem for a decade, he said. It’s been difficult to find a molecule that could penetrate into the brain and attach itself to the myelin in the spinal cord and nowhere else in the body. MeDAS was able to do that.

The traditional imaging test for diagnosing MS is magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. This technique can show inflammation and is pretty reliable at helping diagnose the disease in its early stages, but cannot accurately track the disease’s progression. PET imaging uses a different method to take pictures of the brain and spinal cord that reveals how well these tissues are functioning at any given time.

PET can, for example, tell doctors if a patient’s nerves are still working in the spinal cord or if there has been additional loss of myelin over time, Wang said. It is therefore potentially much more valuable as a tool to track the progress of the disease or to see if a treatment is working, he said.

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Novartis Confirms Long Term Benefits Of Gilenya In Multiple Sclerosis

9/25/2013 1:36 AM ET

Novartis International AG (NVS: Quote) announced that new data showing the benefits of Gilenya on patient outcomes in multiple sclerosis will be presented at the 29th Congress of the European Committee for Research and Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Novartis said the new four-year data from the pivotal FREEDOMS and FREEDOMS extension studies plus a separate analysis of three studies (FREEDOMS, FREEDOMS II and TRANSFORMS) will show the benefits of continued Gilenya treatment on brain volume loss compared to delayed treatment of two years. The company said these data will reinforce the correlation between brain volume loss and disability, underlining the need for addressing brain volume loss in patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

Data from international and U.S. real-world databases will also confirm the favorable effect of Gilenya on reducing relapse rates for patients with Multiple Sclerosis, the company said.

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Popular video game helping patients ease the symptoms of multiple sclerosis



Playing video games never used to be a workout. But with new technology making the player a part of the action, they’re helping some multiple sclerosis patients get fit and decrease the symptoms of their disease.

“Individuals with MS have a lot of balance issues and vertigo problems,” said Ruchika Prakash, an assistant professor of psychology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “There's numbness in the extremities…And then there's spasticity, or the stiffness of the muscles, as a result of which the movement of the joints becomes challenging, becomes restricted.”
In an unconventional study at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Prakash and her colleagues have been looking at how the game “Dance Dance Revolution” can keep MS patients on their feet.
“We thought this game might motivate them, because it's fun, and entertaining and because the game gives a lot of feedback,” said Anne Kloos, assistant professor of clinical health and rehabilitation sciences at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
Tracy Blackwell, 51, was diagnosed with MS in 2001 at age 39. The mother of three was forced to retire from her job as a supervisor at the United States Postal System because of extreme fatigue and failing physical ability.
“I couldn't do anything,” said Blackwell. “My left leg dragged, my left arm was almost useless, so it stopped me from living day to day.

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Biogen Idec to Present Extensive New Data from Its Robust Multiple Sclerosis Portfolio at ECTRIMS

September 23, 2013
 More than 55 company-sponsored presentations underscore Biogen Idec's commitment to treatment advances for people with MS --
- Company will also launch Registry Research Fellowship Programme -
WESTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--September 23, 2013-- 
Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) will present 58 data sets from the company's multiple sclerosis (MS) clinical portfolio of approved and investigational products at the 29(th) Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) in Copenhagen, Denmark, October 2-5.
The collection of data being presented at ECTRIMS represents Biogen Idec's industry-leading expertise in MS research and showcases the company's deep understanding of differing patient needs. Through decades of cutting-edge science, Biogen Idec has more experience than any other company in advancing the treatment of this disease, recognising that physicians need therapeutic choices to meet treatment goals.
"Biogen Idec is proud to be at the forefront of innovation in MS, which has been made possible through our research and development efforts over the past 30 years," said Douglas E. Williams, Ph.D., executive vice president, Research and Development at Biogen Idec. "Our commitment has enabled us to bring a number of therapy options to patients, and we are excited to be presenting data on some promising candidates which have the potential to broaden the treatment spectrum for people living with this chronic, debilitating disease."
Data at ECTRIMS will be presented from across Biogen Idec's portfolio, including:
Approved medicines:
TYSABRI(R) (natalizumab): offers established efficacy that has been proven to reduce relapses and slow disability progression.
TECFIDERA(R) (dimethyl fumarate): an oral treatment for relapsing forms of MS, including relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), which has been clinically proven to significantly reduce important measures of disease activity with a favorable safety/tolerability profile. TECFIDERA is currently approved in the United States, Canada and Australia.
FAMPYRA(R) (prolonged-release fampridine tablets): the first approved treatment to address the unmet medical need of walking improvement in MS patients, demonstrating efficacy in patients with all MS types. Approved in the European Union.
Investigational medicines:
PLEGRIDY(TM) (pegylated interferon beta-1a): a potential new molecular entity for relapsing forms of MS in which interferon beta-1a is pegylated to extend its half-life and prolong its exposure in the body. Pegylation offers a less-frequent dosing schedule.
DACLIZUMAB HIGH-YIELD PROCESS (DAC HYP): is being developed as a once-monthly subcutaneous injection. DAC HYP is believed to target the activated immune cells that can play a key role in MS without causing general immune cell depletion. DAC HYP is being developed under a collaboration agreement with AbbVie, Inc.
Anti-LINGO-1 (BIIB033): is the first candidate being investigated for its potential to repair neurons damaged by MS.
Registry Research Fellowship Program opening for applications
At ECTRIMS, Biogen Idec will also launch The Multiple Sclerosis Registry Research Fellowship Program, an initiative which solidifies our ongoing commitment to clinical research in order to improve the lives of people living with MS. Grants awarded through the program will provide an annual stipend of up to EUR75,000 per fellow, for training in research with large real-world evidence datasets in MS.
Full session details of the 2013 Annual Meeting can be found on the ECTRIMS website: http://www.ectrims-congress.eu/2013.
The titles of key Biogen Idec abstracts are as follows:
TYSABRI:

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Utah man with multiple sclerosis to compete in Ironman

Posted on: 6:22 pm, September 22, 2013, by  September 22, 2013
TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — Lyle Anderson was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on his 30thbirthday, which was about seven years ago, and since that time he’s completed seven marathons, four half-Ironman races and one full Ironman race.
Come October, he’ll complete in the Kona Ironman, which is one of the most prestigious races known to man.
“Some days I’m just worn out, and it’s hard training for an Ironman on those days because you really have to kick your butt out the door to go work out because you just don’t want to,” Anderson said. “You just want to lay down.”
Some days are better than others for Anderson. The 36-year-old  father of four was diagnosed with relapse remitting MS, which means he’ll have periods of little to no symptoms and then he’ll experience flare ups.
“It was pretty bad for a while there,” Anderson said. “I lost a bunch of weight cause my digestive system wasn’t working. Basically everything that could go wrong went wrong with me.”
Anderson chose to get active and started running marathons, then triathlons, and just last year he finished one of the most respected endurance races in the world: the Iromman. An Ironman consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a full marathon, 26.2 miles, on foot.

Continue Reading and watch a video

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MS: Cytokine Fails to Gauge Tx Response



Serum levels of interleukin 17F (IL-17F) were not associated with the response to treatment with interferon beta-1b in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, researchers found.

There were no significant differences in IL-17F concentrations when comparing patients with less versus more disease activity, those with no versus some disease activity, or clinically-defined responders versus nonresponders, according to Hans-Peter Hartung, MD, of Heinrich-Heine-Universität in Düsseldorf, Germany, and colleagues. 


FULL STORY»






Information provided by:

Cherie C. Binns RN BS MSCN
Clinical Systems Consulting
187 Robinson Street
Wakefield, RI 02879-3505
401-783-1236 ph
401-789-5934 fax




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Controversial MS Theory Flops Again

Ultrasound and MRI scans in 100 multiple sclerosis patients and 100 healthy age- and sex-matched controls failed to show any abnormalities consistent with the chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) theory, Canadian researchers said.


"We found no evidence of reflux, stenosis, or blockage in the internal jugular veins or vertebral veins in any study participant," wrote Ian W. Rodger, BSc, PhD, of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and colleagues online in PLoS ONE, which "provides compelling evidence against the involvement of CCSVI in multiple sclerosis.


" FULL STORY»


Information provided by:

Cherie C. Binns RN BS MSCN
Clinical Systems Consulting
187 Robinson Street
Wakefield, RI 02879-3505
401-783-1236 ph
401-789-5934 fax












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Wheeled Mobility Device Users Needed for Study

9/25/2013

Researchers from The Human Engineering Research Laboratories at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System are looking for wheeled mobility device users (males and females), age 7 or older to participate in a study on the impact of transfer setup on hand positioning during independent transfers. Participation includes completing a questionnaire, recording body measurements; and assessing strength, ability to reach, and transferring from the wheeled mobility device to a different surface.

The research study will involve a visit of approximately 1.5 hours. Participants will be compensated $50 for completing the study. Participation is voluntary and all information collected will be kept confidential. If you are interested in participating or learning more about the study contact the following clinical coordinators: Annmarie Kelleher or Stocy Eckstein at (412) 822-3700. The study is sponsored by the U.S. Access Board and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

NOTE: THIS STUDY IS ONLY AVAILABLE to those that can travel to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, as this study is only taking place in Pittsburgh, PA


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Monday, September 23, 2013

Nutrition: What to eat or not to eat, that is the question

The China Study
Medical Author: Charles P. Davis, MD, PhD
Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
A few weeks ago, a doctor who works at the same hospital where I practice came by to say hello, and I noticed he had lost some weight. When I inquired about his weight loss, he said that he had decided to do something to get rid of the extra pounds, but when I asked him what he was doing, he seemed a little hesitant to discuss what he had done. This is one of the worst things to tell someone like me because I'm kind of curious about all things I can't easily explain. How does a highly conservative doctor (yes, I'm also a little judgmental) make such an effective and rapid change in weight...and why did I feel like I was prying the method(s) out of him? He knows me well enough to say that I'm kind of a data addict and that I respect efforts that attempt to prove points by evidence-based information, so instead of telling me outright what he did, he referred me to a book (he even gave me a copy, perhaps because I'm also cheap) and said I needed to read it if I wanted to find out what he did and was continuing to do. I was hooked.
The book was one I would never choose to read on my own. The title was unattractive to me, and the purported subject matter was one that I have had little interest in exploring. Perhaps because as a medical doctor, I and many others have experienced little or no training in the subject and most of us consider the information about the subject as the purview of other professionals. The book is titled The China Study, and it was written by T. C. Campbell and T. M. Campbell. Its subject is nutrition, the subject matter best left to professional nutritionists, in the opinion of myself and many others...so I thought.
The book is the summation of the lead author's lifetime journey through academia, which was and is focused on scientific studies related to nutrition. OK, it sounds boring. However, the authors have cleverly woven a life story about change, personal conflict, academic pressures, business interests, government regulations, and personality clashes, all linked to nutrition. To do that and present data to support many of the turning points involved in his life is a remarkable accomplishment to me because it held my interest.
More important perhaps than holding a reader's interest, the book made me rethink what I know about nutrition and its potential impact upon my family members, friends, and my patients' health. I decided to first go back to the basics, which to me helps clarify subjects; that basic point is to define terms that often have several meanings. There is a lot of confusion and much advice about what to eat and what not to eat in order to have a healthy diet. But first, what is a diet, anyway? The term diet as defined by several dictionaries is supposed to mean the usual or customary intake of food and drink by people or animals. A secondary meaning is a regulated or prescribed intake of food and drink for medical or cosmetic (for example, weight loss) purposes. The first definition does not imply that someone's food and drink intake is healthy; it simply means a person's diet is what they normally eat and drink. However, the second definition clearly implies that a diet is regulated or prescribed for specific reasons that are often health related. Consequently, it is fair to state that everyone has or "is on" a diet, but clearly not everyone's diet fits the second meaning. In my view, the second "diet" definition suggests that sometimes a person's customary intake needs to be regulated or prescribed for specific purposes, the first of which is medical. Many doctors (and patients) don't or won't like the sound of that. Why? It implies that someone (the doctor) knows what is medically best for someone else (the patient) to eat and drink.
My experience has led me to believe that diet (food and drink intake) is to most people a very sensitive, complex, and personal decision. Much of our experience with foods and drink are based on family experience, but individual decisions about taste, consistency, and even socialization and emotion can play a significant role in our diet (the first meaning of the word). Most people do not want anyone to "intrude" on basic aspects of their life and lifestyle.

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Tips to Control Muscle Spasms

Control Muscle Spasms

Many people with multiple sclerosis experience spasticity, or muscle stiffness and spasms. It usually affects the muscles of the legs and arms, and may interfere with the ability to move those muscles freely.
Spasticity can occur either as a sustained stiffness caused by increased muscle tone or as spasms that come and go, especially at night. It can feel like a muscle tightening or it can cause severe pain. Spasticity can also produce feelings of pain or tightness in and around joints and can cause low back pain. The intensity may vary depending on your position, posture, and state of relaxation.

What Causes Spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis?

Spasticity is the result of an imbalance in the electrical signals coming from the brain and spinal cord, often caused by damage to these areas by multiple sclerosis. This imbalance causes hyperactive muscle stretch reflexes, which result in involuntary contractions of the muscle and increased muscle tension.

What Triggers Spasticity Due to Multiple Sclerosis?

For someone who has multiple sclerosis, spasticity may be aggravated by extremes of temperature, humidity, or infections. It can even be triggered by tight clothing.

How Is Spasticity Diagnosed?

To diagnose spasticity your doctor will first evaluate your medical history, including what medications you have taken and whether there is a history of neurological or muscular disorders in your family. To confirm the diagnosis, several tests can be performed to evaluate your arm and leg movements, muscular activity, passive and active range of motion, and ability to perform self-care activities.

How Is Spasticity Treated if I Have Multiple Sclerosis?

If you suffer from multiple sclerosis, spasticity can be treated using physical therapymedications, surgery, or any combination of these treatments. Your doctors will consider the severity of your condition, your overall health, and the following factors when prescribing an appropriate treatment plan:
  • Is the spasticity affecting function or independence?
  • Is the spasticity painful?
  • What treatment options have already been tried, and how did they work?
  • What are the costs of the possible treatments?
  • What are the limitations and side effects of the treatment?
  • Will the benefits outweigh the risks?

How Does Physical and Occupational Therapy Help Spasticity?

A basic physical therapy stretching program is the first step in treating spasticity linked to MS. A daily regimen of stretching can lengthen muscles to help decrease spasticity.



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Are you looking to learn about a different option for treating your MS relapses?

New Webcast Program

Are you looking to learn about a different option for treating your MS relapses? 

SIGN-UP for a free online education session where you will:

·         Explore the differences between MS relapses and pseudo-relapses
·         Review the importance of treating your MS relapses
·         Learn how to talk about your MS relapses with your healthcare                     provider
·         Find out about an available treatment option for MS relapses
·         Hear insights shared by a person living with MS


Sign up today! Visit http://www.msrelapseprogram.com or call 1-877-219-0410.





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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Study tied changes in thalamus to tell-tale MS sign

WebMD News from HealthDay

Study found health conditions prompting scans
By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 23 (HealthDay News) -- Atrophy of a key brain area may become a new biomarker to predict the onset of multiple sclerosis, researchers say. If so, that would add to established criteria such as the presence of brain lesions to diagnose the progressive, incurable disorder.
Using special MRI images, scientists from three continents found that the thalamus -- which acts as a "relay center" for nervous-system signals -- had atrophied in nearly 43 percent of patients who had suffered an initial neurological episode that often comes before a multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis.
"The telling appearance of lesions, which is a hallmark of the disease, is only part of the pathology," said study author Dr. Robert Zivadinov, director of the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center at the University of Buffalo, in New York. "Our finding is more related to [initiating] clinical trials, to using thalamic volume as a new biomarker for testing and treatment, and to increasing awareness among investigators that this disease is more than just about lesions."
The study was published online April 23 in the journal Radiology.


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