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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Restoring Function – Wellness, Nutrition and Rehabilitation Approaches

Entire sessions at the AAN focused on important topics like “Diet and Hormonal Influences in MS” and “Cognition Fatigue in MS,” highlighting a growing awareness of diverse paths toward finding solutions for everyone with MS.
Plant-based diet: Dr. Vijayshree Yadav (Oregon Health & Science University) and colleagues studied the one-year results of a low-fat, plant-based diet on measures of disease activity, mobility, fatigue, cholesterol, body weight, and compliance in 61 people with relapsing-remitting MS. Half of the participants received 10 days of diet and cooking training, while the control group was wait-listed. Results show no significant changes in MRI scans, EDSS, or mobility. Fatigue scores improved significantly. Participants showed good compliance, and were able to lose weight and reduce cholesterol levels. Although larger studies are needed, these results help to fine-tune our understanding of how managing diet may help people with MS. (Abstract P6.152)
Restrain an arm, rebuild the brain: Dr. Victor Mark (University of Alabama at Birmingham) reported on constraint-induced (CI) movement therapy, which involves immobilizing the arm that a person favors, and forcing the arm weakened by MS to do exercises and skilled movements to promote increasing the use of that arm in daily life. In a study supported by the National MS Society, 20 people with progressive MS were enrolled in either a CI program or a control group involving activities such as aquatherapy, massage and yoga. Use of the weaker arm improved, and brain tissue in the cortex (the outer layer of the brain) increased significantly in those in the CI program, but not in the control group. If the findings hold up with further study, it could produce dramatic results from a relatively simple technique. (Abstract S23.007)
Cognitive function in kids: Dr. Lauren Krupp (State University of NY, Stony Brook) and researchers from the Network of Pediatric MS Centers – the Network is funded by the National MS Society – examined cognitive changes over two years in 67 kids with MS. The most common problems were visual or motor integration, information processing speed, and attention. Most children did not get worse over the two years. Addressing cognitive problems in children with MS is crucial to improve the lives of this small but important population in the MS community. (Abstract S33.004) Read more about managing school-related issues in kids with MS.
Salsa, anyone? Rosalind Mandelbaum, Dr. Albert Lo and colleagues (Brown University/Providence VA Medical Center) enrolled eight people with MS in a four-week salsa dance program. Individuals participated in dance sessions twice a week. Dancing resulted in significant improvements in gait and balance both right after the program and after three months of follow up. The National MS Society is now funding Dr. Lo and colleagues to conduct a larger study that may lead to more widespread use of dance as therapy to improve function in MS. (Abstract P3.053)
Magnetic stimulation for depression: Repetitive Transcranial Magnet Stimulation (rTMS) was approved by the FDA as a treatment for major depression. A device that generates electromagnet pulses is placed on the scalp with the idea of stimulating specific brain activity. Dr. Sven Schippling’s team (University of Zurich and others) randomly assigned 18 people with MS to receive rTMS sessions over six weeks and 10 people with MS to receive sham treatments. Half who received rTMS in an area of the brain known as the motor cortex showed significant decreases in depression, and a non-significant decrease in fatigue during treatment that increased to a significant difference during follow-up. Nine participants who received rTMS in another brain area and those who received sham treatments did not improve. Larger studies are needed to determine the safety and effectiveness of this treatment for MS symptoms. (Abstract S33.007)
Source for the above information: National Multiple Sclerosis Society




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