A web-blog (formerly known as Stu's Views and MS News), now published by MS Views and News, a patient advocacy organization. The information on this blog helps to Empower those affected by Multiple Sclerosis globally, with education, information, news and community resources.
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Disclaimer: 'MS Views and News' DOES NOT endorse any products or services found on this blog. It is up to you to seek advice from your healthcare provider. The intent of this blog is to provide information on various medical conditions, medications, treatments, and procedures for your personal knowledge and to keep you informed of current health-related issues. It is not intended to be complete or exhaustive, nor is it a substitute for the advice of your physician. Should you or your family members have any specific medical problem, seek medical care promptly.
Thanks to Michelle for forwarding this important info. especially for a guy named Stu, who rarely sleeps.....
Napping can be great! But sometimes when you wake up after a nap, you feel groggy and almost as if you are more tired now than you were before taking the nap. Why does this happen? According to Dr. Michael Breus “If you take it longer than 30 minutes, you end up in deep sleep. Have you ever taken a nap and felt worse when you woke up? That’s what’s happening — you’re sleeping too long and you’re going into a stage of sleep that’s very difficult to get out of.”
Benefits of Naps
So what are the most ideal ways to nap? Napping can be seen as a quick reboot or boost for the brain. Think of when your computer is starting to perform slowly and things aren’t responding up to par, after you shut everything down and do a reboot, things are back up to speed. The brain is quite similar in that, as you nap, even for very short periods of time, benefits can be seen in a number of areas.
Sleep experts suggest that taking a 10-to-20-minute power nap can give you a quick burst of alterness and mental clarity when you don’t have much time. This can be used throughout the day, late at night, before something important or right before you are trying to beat the final boss of a video game you’ve been playing all night right and you know you need the extra quickness.
When I was interested in trying to maximize my time awake (which I still am, but haven’t tried much lately) I did some research into sleeping cycles and how to minimize the amount of sleep you need while still being able to function well. I ended up choosing a cycle that gave me a core sleep and then several naps throughout the day that lasted about 20 minutes. I found that after the 20 minutes naps, I felt great. Very alert, mental clarity was high and I was ready to go for the next 3 or 4 hours easily.
I found though, that near the beginning of my experiment with cycles, I would start to lose cognitive clarity as I got closer to the end of the day. While this was part of the transition portion of the cycle, I got to feel what its like when the brain just isn’t getting enough deep sleep. According to Dr. Mednick, this is where longer naps of 60 minutes or so are said to be good for increasing that cognitive power again.  Mednick also states that the 90-minute nap will likely involve a full cycle of sleep, which aids creativity, emotional and procedural memory, such as learning how to ride a bike. Waking up after REM sleep usually means a minimal amount of sleep inertia.
A study evaluating the recuperative effects of short and ultra short naps found that napping for 5-10 minutes can create a heightened sense of alertness and increased cognitive ability when comparing to not taking a nap at all.
If you are looking for a quick recharge: nap for 5 – 20 minutes.
If you are looking for deeper sleep rejuvenation: nap for 60 – 90 minutes.
Final tip: When you take your shorter naps, sit up slightly as it will allow you to avoid falling into a deeper sleep. If you dream during these power naps, it could be a sign that you are sleep deprived.
“There is much being written and discussed about stem cells and this session will help healthcare professionals be better informed when discussing the topic with their patients,” said Dr. Freedman. “I will be discussing the many obstacles that still need to be overcome in terms of ensuring the safety as well as the efficacy of such a treatment.”
The “Meet the Professor” is part of a robust educational agenda that includes lectures, panel discussions, poster presentations, and continuing education programs for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and psychologists.
The Cooperative Meeting of CMSC & ACTRIMS, May 28-31, at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, TX, opens with Dr. Stephen Miller discussing “Tolerance Directed Immunotherapies Employing Biodegradable PLG Nanoparticles –The Future of MS Treatment. “
JERUSALEM & LUND, Sweden--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- May 23, 2014
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) and Active Biotech (NASDAQ OMX NORDIC:ACTI) announced today that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) confirmed its January 23, 2014 opinion to recommend against approval for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) in the European Union (EU) at this time.
Both companies remain committed to the NERVENTRA® (laquinimod) clinical development program for multiple sclerosis (MS) and are focused on evaluating the CHMP feedback to determine potential next steps.
“We are disappointed with the outcome of the re-examination and will be working with the EMA to make NERVENTRA available to multiple sclerosis patients in the EU,” said Michael Hayden, President of Global R&D and Chief Scientific Officer. “We believe NERVENTRA has a favorable risk-benefit profile and the potential to fulfill an unmet need for a treatment that decreases disability progression, and protects against brain volume loss, two important goals in the management of MS.”
To further confirm the benefits of NERVENTRA on disability progression, Teva is conducting the CONCERTO trial, the largest MS trial with disability progression as the primary endpoint. The ongoing CONCERTO trial is the third Phase III study in RRMS and explores daily doses of NERVENTRA 0.6 mg and 1.2 mg. In addition, Teva is investigating the potential of NERVENTRA in progressive forms of MS. The first trial for this indication is planned to be initiated soon.
Biogen Idec (BIIB) today received a positive recommendation from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the marketing authorization of PLEGRIDY™ (peginterferon beta-1a), a pegylated interferon administered subcutaneously for adults with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
The CHMP’s positive opinion is now referred to the European Commission (EC), which grants marketing authorization for medicines in the EU.
“The CHMP’s positive opinion for PLEGRIDY marks an important milestone in bringing a meaningful treatment advance to people with MS in the EU,” said Douglas E. Williams, Ph.D., Biogen Idec’s executive vice president of Research and Development. “We believe PLEGRIDY will offer physicians and those living with MS a unique treatment option that combines efficacy, a favorable safety profile consistent with the established interferon class, and a once-every-two-week dosing schedule.”
The CHMP opinion is primarily based on Phase 3 data from ADVANCE, one of the largest studies conducted with an interferon treatment in MS, which included more than 1,500 MS patients. Data from the first year of ADVANCE demonstrated that PLEGRIDY, dosed once every two weeks, significantly reduced annualized relapse rate (ARR) at one year by 36 percent compared to placebo (p=0.0007). PLEGRIDY reduced the risk of 12-week confirmed disability progression, as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), by 38 percent (p=0.0383) compared to placebo. PLEGRIDY also significantly reduced the number of new or newly enlarging T2-hyperintense lesions compared to placebo. The ADVANCE two-year data was consistent with the positive efficacy and safety results observed in year one.
“In PLEGRIDY, we have a potential treatment that offers a less frequent dosing schedule, while providing robust clinical and MRI results,” said Professor Dr. Bernd C. Kieseier, Heinrich-Heine Universität. “These factors combined with the known safety profile of the interferon class, make it a compelling option for patients with RRMS.”
The safety and tolerability profile of PLEGRIDY observed in ADVANCE was consistent with that of established MS interferon therapies. The most commonly reported adverse drug reactions (ADRs) with PLEGRIDY treatment (incidence ≥10% and at least 2% more frequent on PLEGRIDY than on placebo) were injection site erythema, influenza-like illness, pyrexia, headache, myalgia, chills, injection site pain, asthenia, injection site pruritus, and arthralgia.
Following the opinion adopted by the CHMP, a decision from the EC is expected within the coming months.
Important Ways to Safeguard Your Health if You Have MS
Multiple sclerosis brings with it a unique set of challenges. It also increases your risk for other health issues. Some are known complications of MS, while others travel with it for as of yet unclear reasons. There are steps you can take to help prevent some of these MS health risks. It's also important to be aware of their warning signs, so you and your doctor can take quick action
Treatment with human stem cells has allowed mice crippled by a version of multiple sclerosis (MS) to walk again after less than two weeks – suggesting a possible new direction for human therapies.
Scientists admit to being astonished by the result and believe it opens up a new avenue of research in the quest for solutions to MS.
Professor Tom Lane, from the University of Utah, who led the US team, recalled: “My postdoctoral fellow Dr Lu Chen came to me and said, ‘The mice are walking.’ I didn’t believe her.”
The genetically engineered mice had a condition that mimics the symptoms of human MS.
They were so disabled they could not stand long enough to eat and drink on their own and had to be hand-fed.
The scientists transplanted human neural stem cells into the animals, expecting them to be rejected and provide no benefit. Instead the experiment yielded spectacular results.
Within 10 to 14 days, the mice had regained motor skills and were able to walk again. Six months later, they showed no sign of relapsing.
The findings, published in the journal Stem Cell Reports, suggest the mice experienced at least a partial reversal of their symptoms.
A similar outcome in humans could help patients in potentially disabling stages of the disease for which there are no treatments.
“This result opens up a whole new area of research for us to figure out why it worked,” said Dr Jeanne Loring, a co-author of the paper and director of the centre for regenerative medicine at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. “We’ve long forgotten our original plan.”
MS is an auto-immune condition caused by the body’s own defences attacking myelin, the fatty insulation surrounding nerve fibres.
As myelin is stripped away, nerve impulses can no longer be transmitted properly, leading to symptoms ranging from mild tingling to full-blown paralysis.
Drugs that dampen the immune system can slow early forms of the disease, but little can be done for patients in the later stages.
ATLANTA, May21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --Inhibikase Therapeutics, Inc., an emerging developerof products to treat infectious diseases with little or no resistance, announces today that it has received Orphan Drug Designation for imatinib to treat Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
PML is a rare side effect of small molecule and antibody drugs given to patients with autoimmune diseases like arthritis and multiple sclerosis (MS); PML also occurs in 1-3% of clinical AIDS patients. Certain drugs used to treat autoimmune disease suppress the ability of a patient to fight infection, particularly for the virus known as JC (for John Cunningham virus). JC lives inside most people, but when the immune system is suppressed, JC can occasionally migrate into the brain, 'blowing up' certain brain cells that results in a debilitating loss of cognitive and motor neuron function, often culminating in a patient's death.
"Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can be a very disabling disease. To date, Tysabri® is our most effective treatment," noted neurologist Dr. Jeffrey B. English, Director of Clinical Research at the MS Center of Atlanta. "Unfortunately, it carries a risk of a life threatening brain infection that can lead to PML. There are ways to screen for PML early, but we have no effective treatments for this disease," commented Dr. English. "If there was a way to treat PML, this would open up a pathway for many more patients to receive Tysabri®, the most effective treatment for MS."
Imatinib, the active ingredient in the Company's lead product IkT-001Pro, is a host-directed protein kinase inhibitor that disrupts the ability of JC virus to reproduce in the patient. IkT-001Pro delivers imatinib to its targets using a proprietary technology that should reduce the dose and side effects of imatinib therapy while simultaneously enhancing imatinib's ability to suppress the causative virus of PML. Imatinib is also the active ingredient in the anti-cancer drug Gleevec®, developed by Novartis AG and used to treat certain forms of blood and stomach cancer. "The anti-JC virus activity of imatinib cannot be achieved by simply altering the frequency or amount of Gleevec® given to patients," notedMilton H. Werner, PhD, President and CEO of Inhibikase. "Early trial work has already shown this. To succeed, we're talking reengineering how imatinib is absorbed and distributed in the body."
"The granting of Orphan Drug Designation is a pivotal milestone in the development of IkT-001Pro to treat this rare and debilitating illness," said Dr. Werner. "The Designation will enable resources for continued development, but more importantly the Designation provides an additional avenue for discussion with the FDA on the best path for bringing IkT-001Pro to market. PML is a rare side effect of at least 13 beneficial medications, and PML may also arise as a side effect of many more medications now in clinical development. IkT-001Pro, when administered as a companion therapeutic, could reduce the risks of these marketed and investigational treatments, thereby improving patient safety and focusing treatment decisions on the efficacy of the treatment, not just on the risk of an unintended and potentially fatal side effect."
"PML can pose a grave risk to people with MS and other disorders who use powerful immune-modulating therapies, and this risk often forces people to avoid or limit the use of otherwise very effective treatments," commented Dr.Timothy Coetzee, Chief Advocacy, Services and Research Officer at the National MS Society. "This Orphan Drug Designation by the FDA should provide incentive to develop a program focusing on the unmet need of a treatment for PML."
Military personnel serving during the first Gulf War have one of the highest incidence rates for multiple sclerosis (MS) ever reported, leading to speculation that environmental exposures in the war zone triggered the disease. Research trying to determine causes, however, came up with a surprising result: The servicemembers at the greatest risk were those who were never deployed.
By Annette M. Boyle
Mitchell Wallin, MD, MPH
WASHINGTON — The first Gulf War cohort has one of the highest incidence rates for multiple sclerosis (MS) ever reported. Were the veterans at greatest risk those who:
Tended oil fires?
Were exposed to chemical weapons?
Contracted endemic infectious diseases?
None of the above?
In a surprising twist to this mystery, recent research indicates that the servicemembers most likely to develop multiple sclerosis had none of the exposures hypothesized as risk factors. Instead, the highest risk occurred in those who were not deployed in the 1990-1991 Gulf War.
A new study sought to determine why military personnel in the First Gulf War have such high incident rates for multiple sclerosis. In this photo, SSG James L. Leach, detector dog handler from the 118th Military Police Company, and bomb detector dog Jupiter, checks a vehicle in 1991. Army Photo by LaDona S. Kirkland
“We found that there was no increase in risk across the board for any group in Gulf War I,” said Mitchell Wallin, MD, MPH, clinical associate director for the VA’s MS Center of Excellence-East and associate professor of neurology at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington. “That doesn’t mean deployment anywhere won’t increase risk, but deployment in the first Gulf War was not a risk factor. We didn’t look at the Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom or Bosnia cohorts.”
Previous research by Wallin and his VA colleagues found an MS incidence rate of 7.3 per 100,000 men and 24.7 per 100,000 women in the Gulf War cohort. “The age-specific rates for the cohort are among the highest seen in comparable populations,” Wallin told U.S. Medicine, but he added that very few incidence studies exist for MS, and none includes as diverse a population base as the military study. 1
Based on the incidence rates, looking for risk factors in deployment seemed like a logical next step for research. “The rates for MS are very high in the military, and we wanted to know what was going on. It was evident that those deployed in theater had exposures including viral infections, vaccines, air pollutants and central nervous system toxins. Could those exposures have triggered MS?”
The researchers looked at all active-duty military and activated Reserve and National Guard who served between Aug. 1, 1990, and Dec. 31, 1991. “This wasn’t a sample. There were over 1,800 cases of MS in the cohort, out of 700,000 deployed servicemembers and 1.8 million nondeployed. If there was a signal there, anything that increased risk, we would have found it,” Wallin said.
The researchers drew on medical records from the DoD and VA to find service-related cases of MS between 1990 and 2007. Among the 696,118 deployed personnel, 387 developed MS. Of the 1,786,215 nondeployed servicemembers, 1,457 incident cases of MS were found.
Deployment was not significant across almost all groups and appeared to be protective among whites, males, members of the Air Force, Army and Navy and for all groups under 44 years of age. Overall, deployed personnel had about two-thirds the risk of developing MS compared to nondeployed individuals. For whites, the relative risk was 0.62 and for blacks, 0.83.
Notably, “Marines had half the rates of other services, yet they had the longest deployments and were most likely to be deployed,” Wallin added.
A subset analysis looked at the soldiers exposed to nerve agents, including sarin and cyclosarin released when U.S. forces detonated the Khamisiyah Iraqi weapons cache in March 1991. Of the estimated 100,487 Army veterans exposed to the chemical weapons, 65 developed MS. For this group, the relative risk was a non-significant 1.10.