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Saturday, October 5, 2013

A New Kind of Therapy Shows Promise in MS Patients

A new therapy for multiple sclerosis that teaches the body to recognize and then ignore its own nerve tissue appears to be safe and well-tolerated in humans, a small new study shows.

If larger studies prove the technique can slow or stop the disease, the therapy would be a completely new way to treat autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and type 1 diabetes.

Most treatments for MS and other autoimmune diseases work by broadly suppressing immune function, leaving patients vulnerable to infections and cancers.

The new treatment targets only the proteins that come under attack when the immune system fails to recognize them as a normal part of the body. By creating tolerance to only a select few proteins, researchers hope they will be able to cure the disease but leave the rest of the body's defenses on guard.

"This is important work," said Dr. Lawrence Steinman, a professor of neurology at Stanford University who was not involved with the study.

"Very few investigators are trying therapies in humans aimed at simply turning off unwanted immune responses and leaving the rest of the immune system intact to fight infections -- to do surveillance against cancer," Steinman said. "The early results show encouragement."

For the study, published in the June 5 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers in the United States and Germany recruited nine patients with MS. Seven had the relapsing-remitting form of the disease, while two others had secondary progressive MS (a more advanced phase). All were between the ages of 18 and 55, and were in good health except for their MS.

Blood tests conducted before the treatments showed that each patient had an immune reaction against at least one of seven myelin proteins.


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Stem Cell Therapy, News


Click: http://www.cellr4.org/article/403













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Friday, October 4, 2013

Be Aware: 7 Things to Know About Depression for adults over 65



The bad news: Millions of Americans over age 65 struggle with undiagnosed depression, and their suicide rates are high. The good news: When depression is diagnosed, therapy works


by Jodi Helmer, AARP, 

Consider: More than 6.5 million adults over age 65 struggle with depression, but fewer than 10 percent receive treatment.


Consider: More than 6.5 million adults over age 65 struggle with depression, but fewer than 10 percent receive treatment.


Add that suicide rates among older adults are up to seven times higher than in other age groups, and you can understand why finding some relief in any way — be it antidepressants or talk therapy — could prove life-saving.


But there's a problem. Doctors often miss the signs of depression in people 65-plus because the symptoms are different in younger patients. Instead of feeling sad or blue, seniors are apt to feel irritable or tired, have trouble sleeping, lose their appetite and be unable to concentrate, new research published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology finds.


In fact, Helen C. Kales, M.D., professor of psychiatry and researcher at the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System, says research shows that up to 40 percent of older patients with depression — that's 2.6 million people — may have such symptoms. No wonder it's so much harder to diagnose depression in older adults.


But that's not a call for inaction. There are steps we can take to help both those suffering from depression and their friends or family members — if we know what to look for. Here are seven key things to keep in mind about this increasingly common condition:


1. You can get a free diagnosis


Depression screening is one of the free services offered under the Welcome to Medicare visit provided through the Affordable Care Act, and mental health experts say it's helping more older patients get treatment. In 2000, research showed that fewer than 25 percent of patients over age 65 with probable depression received a diagnosis and treatment, but by 2007 that had jumped to nearly 52 percent.


The increase in screening, says Mayo Clinic psychiatrist William Bobo, M.D., reflects a growing awareness that major depression is a common but treatable disorder in older people. Screening tools in a doctor's office "can give people a way to get the treatments they need to stop suffering."


2. Antidepressants aren't always the answer


Antidepressant use has skyrocketed — jumping 400 percent between 1988 and 2008, according to the National Center for Health Statistics — but they're far from a sure bet in beating depression.


While meds can be effective, "the belief that medications will solve the problem is too simple. Depressed patients who take medication and do nothing else are not very likely to have a full, lasting recovery," says psychologist Stephen Ilardi, Ph.D., associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Kansas and author of The Depression Cure.


The other depressing news about antidepressants is that research shows they often don't perform any better than a placebo. And there's been little progress in developing new drugs. In 2010, GlaxoSmithKline, the pharma giant that makes antidepressants such as Paxil, stopped researching new drugs for depression.


To complicate matters, older adults are at higher risk for side effects from antidepressants, such as increased danger of falling and loss of bone density, as well as drug interactions with their other meds.


And Bobo cites another reason that finding the right medication may become trickier with age: Age changes a patient's ability to metabolize medication, and that increases susceptibility to side effects.


Mixed results with antidepressants have led researchers to explore other treatments for depression, including electromagnetic pulses to stimulate the brain.


Probably the simplest, healthiest and most effective treatment for depression in older adults is exercise, according to a 2013 study in the British Journal of Psychiatry. Going for a brisk walk every day, hitting the driving range or signing up for a dance class can be a natural mood elevator.


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Thursday, October 3, 2013

New Data Analyses Show Significant Clinical and MRI Improvements with PLEGRIDY(TM) (Peginterferon Beta-1a)

- Analyses Reinforce Efficacy of PLEGRIDY, Further Supporting a Potential New Treatment Option for People with Multiple Sclerosis --
WESTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--October 01, 2013--

Biogen Idec  announced new data analyses from year one of the two-year, pivotal, Phase 3 ADVANCE study of PLEGRIDY(TM) (peginterferon beta-1a). PLEGRIDY is an investigational subcutaneous injectable for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS), in which interferon beta-1a is pegylated to prolong the molecule's exposure in the body and enable the study of a less frequent dosing schedule. Clinical and MRI data from the study demonstrated a reduction in relapses, disability progression and the number of MS lesions when compared to placebo, and further support the clinical efficacy profile of PLEGRIDY. These data will be presented this week at the 29(th) Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) in Copenhagen, Denmark 2-5 October.
"If approved, PLEGRIDY could become a valuable addition to the interferon class of multiple sclerosis therapies," said Professor Peter Calabresi, MD, director, The Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center. "The combination of efficacy demonstrated across key disease measures and a less frequent dosing schedule has the potential to offer an important therapeutic option for people living with MS."
Improvements Seen in Clinical and MRI Endpoints
Over one year, absence of measured disease activity (defined as no relapses, no disability progression, no gadolinium-enhancing [Gd+] lesions and no new or newly enlarging T2-hyperintense lesions compared to baseline) among patients, was significantly higher with PLEGRIDY: 34 percent in the two-week dosing arm (p<0.0001) and 22 percent in the four-week dosing arm (p=0.01), compared to 15 percent in the placebo arm.
In the intent-to-treat population of the ADVANCE study, PLEGRIDY, when dosed every two weeks, significantly reduced the number of new or newly enlarging T2-hyperintense lesions, new T1-hypointense lesions, new Gd+ lesions and new active lesions compared to placebo at 48 weeks. Specifically, PLEGRIDY reduced the number of:


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Biogen Idec: New Analyses Show Tysabri Given Earlier Reduces MS Disease Activity

By RTT News,  October 03, 2013


(RTTNews.com) - Biogen Idec ( BIIB ) Thursday announced results from several new analyses of Tysabri (natalizumab) data that demonstrate its effectiveness in reducing multiple sclerosis or MS disease activity.

According to the drugmaker, this effect was particularly significant in people with relapsing MS who initiated treatment when they had lower Expanded Disability Status Scale or EDSS scores as well as in those who have been treated for more than two years.

Alfred Sandrock, group senior vice president, Development Sciences and Chief Medical Officer, Biogen Idec, said, "These analyses build upon a growing body of evidence that demonstrates greater clinical benefits for people with MS when TYSABRI is initiated earlier in the course of the disease, as well as when TYSABRI is used for a longer duration in appropriate patients."

These data will be presented at the 29th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis or ECTRIMS in Copenhagen, Denmark from October 2-5.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com

http://www.rttnews.com
This article appears in: News Headlines

Source: Nasdaq






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Vitamin D-based treatment key to halting multiple sclerosis

WASHINGTON: Researchers have discovered a vitamin D-based treatment that can halt - and even reverse - the course of the disease in a mouse model of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

The treatment involves giving mice that exhibit MS symptoms a single dose of calcitriol, the active hormone form of vitamin D, followed by ongoing vitamin D supplements through the diet.
Lead scientist biochemistry professor Colleen Hayes said that all of the animals just got better and better, and the longer we watched them, the more neurological function they regained.
While scientists don't fully understand what triggers MS, some studies have linked low levels of vitamin D with a higher risk of developing the disease. Hayes has been studying this "vitamin D hypothesis" for the past 25 years with the long-term goal of uncovering novel preventive measures and treatments.
Over the years, she and her researchers have revealed some of the molecular mechanisms involved in vitamin D's protective actions, and also explained how vitamin D interactions with estrogen may influence MS disease risk and progression in women.
First, Hayes' team compared the effectiveness of a single dose of calcitriol to that of a comparable dose of a glucocorticoid, a drug now administered to MS patients who experience a bad neurological episode. Calcitriol came out ahead, inducing a nine-day remission in 92 percent of mice on average, versus a six-day remission in 58 percent for mice that received glucocorticoid.
Next, Hayes' team tried a weekly dose of calcitriol. They found that a weekly dose reversed the disease and sustained remission indefinitely.
But calcitriol can carry some strong side effects - it's a "biological sledgehammer" that can raise blood calcium levels in people, Hayes says - so she tried a third regimen: a single dose of calcitriol, followed by ongoing vitamin D supplements in the diet.
The study has been published online in the Journal of Neuroimmunology.

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48 new genetic variants linked with multiple sclerosis found

Scientists have identified 48 new genetic variants that influence the risk of developing multiple sclerosis, a disabling neurological condition.

The work by scientists from the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium (IMSGC) nearly doubles the number of known genetic risk factors for the condition. 

The genes implicated by the newly identified associations underline the central role played by the immune system in the development of multiple sclerosis and show substantial overlap with genes known to be involved in other autoimmune diseases. 

Led by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine's Jacob McCauley, on behalf of the IMSGC, the study relied upon an international team of 193 investigators from 84 research groups in 13 countries. 
Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects over 2.5 million individuals worldwide. The disease  in patchy inflammation and damage to the central nervous system that causes problems with mobility, balance, sensation and cognition depending upon where the damage to the central nervous system occurs. 

The present study takes advantage of custom designed technology known as ImmunoChip - a high-throughput genotyping array specifically designed to interrogate a targeted set of genetic variants linked to one or more autoimmune diseases. 

IMSGC researchers used the ImmunoChip platform to analyse the DNA from 29,300 individuals with multiple sclerosis and 50,794 unrelated healthy controls, making this the largest genetics study ever performed for multiple sclerosis. 

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Multiple sclerosis cases hit 2.3 million worldwide

LONDON (Reuters) - The number of people living with multiple sclerosis around the world has increased by 10 percent in the past five years to 2.3 million, according to the most extensive survey of the disease to date.

The debilitating neurological condition, which affects twice as many women as men, is found in every region of the world, although prevalence rates vary widely.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is most common in North America and Europe, at 140 and 108 cases per 100,000 respectively, while in sub-Saharan Africa the rate is just 2.1 per 100,000, the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation's Atlas of MS 2013 showed on Wednesday.

The atlas also confirmed that MS occurs significantly more in countries at high latitude, with Sweden having the highest rate in Europe and Argentina having more cases than countries further north in Latin America.

The reason for the link to high latitudes is unclear but some scientists have suggested that exposure to sunlight may reduce the incidence of the disease.

The survey found a big increases in the number of medical experts trained to diagnose MS and help patients with treatment, while the number of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines available to carry out scans has doubled in emerging countries.

But huge disparities remain when it comes to access to modern disease-modifying drugs.

MS medicine has seen a number of advances in recent years, particularly with the introduction of a new generation of oral therapies such as Novartis' Gilenya, Biogen Idec's Tecfidera and Sanofi's Aubagio.

These medicines offer an effective alternative to older disease-modifying treatments that are given by injection.


Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/sns-rt-us-multiplesclerosis-cases-20131001,0,2596309.story#ixzz2gi1p72UD


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Approval of Phase I Stem Cell Study in Progressive MS

The stem cell research division of the Tisch MS Research Center of New York has announced the FDA approval of a Phase I stem cell study in individuals with progressive MS. The study will use a patient's own stem cells, taken from his or her bone marrow, in an open label, Phase I clinical trial. According to the center's news article, approximately 20 progressive MS patients, recruited from the existing patient population of the International Multiple Sclerosis Management Practice (IMSMP), will be initially enrolled.

The article also notes that the Tisch MS Research Center stem cell trial is the first of its kind in the United States and incorporates several key advantages in terms of the type of stem cells being used and how they are administered (via multiple rounds of treatment into the cerebrospinal fluid). The center states that this FDA approval is the culmination of more than a decade of research into the therapeutic potential of stem cells for MS patients. Their initial ("proof of concept") studies with an animal model of MS showed that the injected stem cells migrated to areas of demyelination and may have affected the rate of repair


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Shingles: An Overview



Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which is the same virus that causes varicella (chickenpox). This usually occurs decades after the initial chickenpox infection. The reactivation of this virus causes a painful rash with clusters of fluid-filled blisters. Shingles is not contagious, but before the blisters dry, the virus-filled fluid can transmit chickenpox to someone who has not been previously exposed to the virus and comes in close contact with the open rash. Other symptoms of shingles can include fever, headache, chills, and an upset stomach.


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Learning about Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS)

The Less Talked-About Form of MS
Historically, primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) has seemingly taken a back seat to other types of multiple sclerosis (MS). By far, the largest amount of information published about research and treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS) has been in reference to relapsing-remitting and secondary-progressive forms of MS (RRMS and SPMS respectively).

The emphasis has been on RRMS and SPMS for a number of reasons. First, 85 percent of individuals diagnosed with MS begin with the RRMS form, and after many years, RRMS usually advances to SPMS - so clearly the vast majority of patients fall under these categories. Second, RRMS, with its trademark flare-ups and remissions, is the easiest to identify, measure, and observe changes - both in terms of symptoms and diagnostic/ evaluative testing. And third, unlike PPMS (and eventually SPMS), constant flare-ups of inflammation play a vital role in RRMS.
This inflammation in RRMS occurs within the brain and spinal cord (components of the central nervous system [CNS]), and gives researchers a specific target for potential drug and treatment therapies. Disease flare-ups as well as ongoing subclinical disease activity (referring to changes occurring inside the body without any new or worsening symptoms) are frequently observed and measured through the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology.


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Top 6 Benefits Of Guided Meditation

Guided Meditation CD
25% of all proceeds will Benefit MS Education

Billions of people today suffer from chronic stress, pain and tension. Our modern life has caused us to experience an epidemic of burn out, chronic fatigue and stress related illnesses.
More than ever we are in need of integrating activities into our lives that bring us to a state of balance and peace.
Meditation is a focused mental activity that is proven to bring us to a state of balance where we can deeply relax and lead more joyful and productive lives.
There are many forms of meditation. One of the easiest ways to learn how to focus the mind is to listen to guided meditations. Spoken word guidance with relaxing nature sounds and music brings us to a state of calm alertness so we may lead a healthier life.
Psychological Benefits:
• Increasing your intelligence
• Improving your memory
• Enhancing your creativity
• Drastically improving your ability to think clearly
• Improved problem solving abilities
• Decreasing anxiety
• Decreasing & eliminating depression
• Helping to resolve addictions
• Reducing irritability and moodiness
• Enjoying a more positive outlook
Physical Benefits:   
Click here to continue reading

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

When “No Option” Is Not an Acceptable Option - an MS Patient's Story

written by: Jennifer Ziegler


Here in the midst of a typical, hot, Austin, Texas summer afternoon, I’m reflecting back on my Multiple Sclerosis (MS) journey, and what brought me to this treatment crossroads. I realize there are literally thousands of “MS’ers” with stories just as compelling and dramatic as mine. Bottom line, I am not unique! Many patients run out of options with FDA approved treatments about five to ten years after their diagnoses. We then turn to our MS patient community to find out what to do next.
Recent editorials and commentaries highlighted elements of heated debate on current regulations limiting the translation and verification of cellular therapies 1 , 2 , and I am pleased to see that CellR4 could represent a platform for better communication and understanding in the field, including also the voice and perspective of patients.
Over the past few years, I have had a growing suspicion that something in the Multiple Sclerosis community was not quite right. More specifically, something just doesn’t addup. I keep asking myself, why are so many MS patients seeking overseas, alternative treatments? MS patients in particular seem to be at the top of the list of “disease communities,” seeking treatment abroad. There has to be more to this than meets the eye. The claims the drug companies, the FDA and many scientists are making, are in direct opposition to what MS patients are actually experiencing. I hope to dispel the idea that the majority of MS patients are being targeted for marketing by foreign stem cell clinics. In reality, patients share their successes and failures in regard to adult stem cell treatments and clinics. We then make informed decisions in becoming medical tourists. The successes we are seeing and hearing from other patients far exceed any those derived from any FDA approved treatment available to us in the United States to date. You could then form a hypothesis about other “disease communities,” like ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s COPD, etc, seeking overseas treatment for exactly the same reasons. There is a giant breakdown in our current regulatory system, and the huge popularity of medical tourism is a direct reflection of this gaping black hole in domestic treatment options.
I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in September of 2004. When faced with a medical crisis of an unexpected nature, your whole world gets turned upside down. So what did I do? I turned to advocacy work with the Lone Star Chapter of the MS Society in Austin,Texas, and became a grassroots activist for Texans living with chronic illness. I spent three sessions doing grassroots advocacy work, and got three priority bills passed in one session at the Texas State Capital. While there, I met quite a few MS patients who had become medical tourists to receive adult stem cell therapy. At the time I had injected an FDA approved maintenance drug for five years. Not long after, my body began to reject the MS drug I was on, and I had to abruptly stop it. It was then that I made the decision that I would get adult stem cell therapy one day.
Fast forward a few years, to October 5th, 2012. I was set to begin my first adult stem cell treatment in Houston, Texas. My dear friend, who also has MS, had just finished her adult stem cell therapy with my same doctor, that past August. We drove down together to Houston early that morning. Little did we know that my treatment would begin and end all on the sameday! I was scheduled to receive 600 million cells, divided into three treatments. The first treatment went off without a hitch. On the drive back home, we received a phone call that the FDA had shut the IRB study down. Talk about an emotional roller coaster! I had just been overjoyed to start my treatment, and then became very confused and angry, as to why the FDA would pursue this course of action. Over the following weeks, I expected a phone call to say that everything was fixed, and I would be able to continue my treatment, but that never happened. Now I face the fact that I may have to leave the country, like many of my friends have done, to finish my treatment.
Since then, a small group of patients have banded together to speak out about being denied treatment with our own cells, in our own country. We feel this to be a medical procedure; done between one informed and consenting patient and our fully capable physician. At http://www.patientsforstemcells.org we give a history of the timeline of FDA control of the cells inside your body. We show the safety and efficacy of being treated with your own stem cells compared to riskier procedures or dangerous, FDA approved medications. We also vet media sources that present biased reporting on autologous stem cells.  This is the “Cliff Notes” to the last nine years of my life. We at Patients For Stem Cells find ourselves in a unique position to have pretty big voices in this stem cell debate. We hope to approach each discussion, with integrity, honesty, intelligence, compassion and with our own personal experiences. Hopefully we can help to press for change within the medical and bureaucratic communities, filling in the gaps with an informed and well connected patient community.
MS patients, along with many other orphan diseases, are often left with no treatment options. We have put our faith in FDA approved treatment only do be left confused and wanting. We hope to seek answers and partnerships with those of you in the scientific community who have been doing this a lot longer than we have. We at Patients For Stem Cells appreciate the effort brought forth by ICMS (International Cellular Medicine Society), to have more open and honest debate regarding autologous stem cells therapy and FDA or other agency regulations. Everyone around us seems to be well versed in identifying all the wrongs and concerns of an unregulated stem cell treatment, but offers little in the way of solutions. We are hoping to draw on this fact and ask the scientific community to help “no option,” chronically ill patients, find legal solutions. We’ve got too much living yet to do!



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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2013 MS Symposium WEBCAST archive of our Live program on September 28th in Miami, Florida

OKAY everybody - HERE is the Link that many of you have been waiting to receive.
This is the Un-edited version of the 2013 MS Symposium. 

Yes, it is long, but remember you will be watching on YouTube and you can pause and restart and pause and restart. 

There are (3) different sessions. 
1) One with two MS neurologists (Fonseca and Steingo),
2) then a panel of Complimentary and Alternative therapies 
(Melissa Kaplan, Nutrition; Jane Kauffman, Acupuncture; and Michelle Alva, Relaxtion techniques)
3)  and our (3rd) session with a personal trainer, Jeffrey Segal for adaptive exercise with MS


 -- PLEASE share this link with others and other MS related FB pages - thank you
  or Click here


PLEASE Comment on the YouTube Channel


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