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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.

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CHAMPIONS TACKLING MS - AWARDS Dinner, Honoring Aaron Boster, MD and Jon e. Glaser, DDS - now open for registration. Visit www.events.msvn.org

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Guanabenz drug prevents myelin loss, alleviates symptoms of MS in animal models

March 13, 2015

An FDA-approved drug for high blood pressure, guanabenz, prevents myelin loss and alleviates clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in animal models, according to a new study. The drug appears to enhance an innate cellular mechanism that protects myelin-producing cells against inflammatory stress. These findings point to promising avenues for the development of new therapeutics against MS, report scientists from the University of Chicago in Nature Communications on Mar. 13.

"Guanabenz appears to enhance the cell's own protective machinery to diminish the loss of myelin, which is the major hallmark of MS," said senior study author Brian Popko, PhD, Jack Miller Professor of Neurological Disorders at the University of Chicago "While there have been many efforts to stimulate re-myelination, this now represents a unique protective approach. You don't have to repair the myelin if you don't lose it in the first place."

Multiple sclerosis is characterized by an abnormal immune response that leads to inflammation in the brain and the destruction of myelin - a fatty sheath that protects and insulates nerve fibers. MS is thought to affect more than 2.3 million people worldwide and has no known cure.
Popko and his colleagues have previously shown that oligodendrocytes, the brain cells which produce myelin, possess an innate mechanism that responds to stressors such as inflammation. It temporarily shuts down almost all normal protein production in the cell and selectively increases the production of protective proteins. When this mechanism is malfunctioning or overloaded - by the chronic inflammation seen in MS, for example - oligodendrocyte death and demyelination is significantly increased.

A recent study found evidence that guanabenz, a drug approved for oral administration for hypertension, enhances this stress response pathway independent of its anti-hypertension actions. To test the suitability of guanabenz as a potential treatment for MS, Popko and his team exposed cultured oligodendrocyte cells to interferon gamma - a molecule that increases inflammation - resulting in greatly increased myelin loss and cell death.

Treating these cells with guanabenz prevented myelin loss and restored cell survival to near normal levels. Oligodendrocytes that were not exposed to interferon gamma were unaffected by guanabenz, suggesting that it enhances only an active stress response pathway.

Read more


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Two Progressive MS Phase III Trials to be Presented at AAN Annual Meeting

March 2015 -

biotinMyelin — the fatty substance that wraps around nerve cells — is lost inmultiple sclerosis (MS). Is there any way to get it back or to stop the deterioration of myelin? Researchers at MedDay Pharmaceuticals think that their drug may provide the solution. Known as MD1003, the medication targets the process of forming myelin, called myelination. It may stop the disease from progressing.
MedDay has announced that data from the first pivotal Phase III study using MD1003, a highly-concentrated pharmaceutical-grade biotin for use in primary and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, will be presented at the Clinical Trials Plenary Session at The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Annual Meeting, Washington DC on Friday April 24th at 1200 EST.
Two multi-center double-blind placebo-controlled trials in progressive MS examining the effects of MD1003 will be featured. The studies have been ongoing in France and the UK. Researchers completed the first pivotal Phase III study in 150 patients in early 2015. The second study should be finished by the end of the year.

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Stu's Views - after the passing of his Best Friend

Stu's Views -    Stuart needing to release grief

My body tingling and barely feeling anything since the passing of my best Friend of the last almost 12 years .. Neuropathic pain agin has entered by body making walking difficult.

Knowing life is short - knowing there is so much more to still do... for others and for myself



Enough of me though and allow me to give tribute to Snoop (Female) -
MY dog of just under 12 years of age


Welcome to Snoop's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency











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Friday, March 13, 2015

Hot off the Press–Summary of 47 Studies Shows That Even With Regular Exercise, Prolonged Sitting Can Result in Higher Chance of Disease and Early Death

Researchers from Toronto, Canada conducted a meta-analysis (here’s a link to the study) where they analyzed the results of 47 studies that fit their criteria to see whether when controlling for purposeful exercise, sedentary behavior results in higher rates of disease.  They found that sedentary behavior resulted in higher rates of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, cardiovascular disease incidence, cancer mortality, cancer incidence, and type 2 diabetes incidence,  They defined sedentary behavior to be sitting while at the computer, while watching television, in the car, etc.
The couch potato
So, how can your pup or cat help you?
  • Walking your dog as often as possible–even short walks will help you and your pup
  • Playing with your cat’s toys during television commercials-making sure to stand up
  • Playing fetch with your dog
  • Working on obedience training with your dog
Pomeranian dog standing on its hind legs to get a treat
  • Playing chase with your pet
  • When working at home, take five minute breaks every hour to play with your pet
  • When playing on social media, take five minute breaks every hour to play with your pet
  • Brushing your animal while standing
Red cat with brush.
Any of these, done consistently, can prolong your life and limit the incidence of disease.

Read more





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Landmark medical marijuana bill introduced in US Congress

Washington (AFP) - US senators on Tuesday introduced the most comprehensive legislation on medical marijuana ever brought before Congress, a bipartisan effort aimed at ending federal restrictions on the increasingly accepted treatment.

Twenty-three states already allow the use of cannabis to treat medical conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS) and epilepsy, but federal law still exposes users of the drug to potential investigation and arrest.
"Highly-trained officials in our country -- doctors and scientists, medical personnel -- are unable to prescribe and recommend drugs that could alleviate the pain and suffering of their patients," Senate Democrat Cory Booker told reporters.
"Today we join together to say enough is enough," he added. "Our federal government has long overstepped the boundaries of common sense, fiscal prudence and compassion with its marijuana laws."
The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act would remove federal penalties and restrictions for producing, distributing and possessing marijuana for medical purposes, provided there is compliance with state law.
It would give military veterans access to medical marijuana in states where it is legal, and it would crucially allow financial institutions to provide banking services to marijuana businesses.


Doctor to discuss alternative multiple sclerosis treatments in Cheyenne

March 2015 
CHEYENNE - By its very nature, multiple sclerosis can be a hard disease to live with. And with one of the highest rates of MS in the country - one in every 350 people - Wyomingites know that better than most.

While drug treatments for the disease have progressed by leaps and bounds in the past few decades, it's not uncommon for those living with MS to seek out alternative treatments to improve their quality of life.

Now, a Colorado neurologist wants to educate locals on which alternative treatments are the best at addressing MS and which could potentially worsen the patient's condition.

Dr. Allen Bowling has been studying and treating MS for more than 20 years. But alongside traditional drug therapy, Bowling has been an advocate of nontraditional treatments for the disease, which he believes can help sufferers lead healthier, more active lives.

"You don't normally see too many Western doctors willing to talk about complementary and alternative approaches," said Carrie Nolan, president of the Colorado-Wyoming chapter of the MS Society. "He's really interested in the whole person, and that's more unique."

Bowling recently published a book on the subject, "Optimal Health with MS," which he will discuss at a public forum this evening at Laramie County Community College.

In the book, Bowling said he goes over various types of lifestyle changes that he says have been shown to address some of the symptoms of MS. He noted that MS is first and foremost an autoimmune disorder - the body's own immune system misfires and attacks the nervous system, which can lead to a whole host of complications.

Those can include everything from vision problems and loss of coordination to weakness and chronic pain. And while there are treatments for the disease, there is no cure, which is why many sufferers often look to alternative treatments for relief.

"The usual treatment currently for MS is to use FDA-approved medications, and then medications to treat the various symptoms like weakness, vision problems, walking problems," Bowling said. "But there are many other things that can be done. Research studies going back 20 years now indicate people with MS can benefit from very regular physical activity - things like yoga or tai chi, Pilates, therapeutic horseback riding."

Bowling said diet can also play a role in addressing MS symptoms. Specifically, he said diets should include vitamins D and B12, though it's also important to be well rounded.

"A healthful diet may have many benefits for people with MS - low salt, low saturated fat, high fiber and a reasonable intake of calories," he said.

But Bowling also cautions MS sufferers who take herbs or other supplements. While some supplements may provide benefits, some can actually make their symptoms worse by spurring increased immune system activity.

"Something I highlight in the book, there are many supplements and herbs that could potentially be harmful to people with MS," Bowling said. "With MS, the immune system is already too active. There are many supplements marketed to people with MS that say you should be activating your immune system."

He said growing evidence also suggests that alcohol and tobacco use can worsen the symptoms of MS, as can other, unrelated medical problems. Finally, Bowling said, it's also important for those with MS not to forget their emotional well-being.

"An area that often doesn't get fully addressed is emotional health," he said. "There are some unconventional approaches that can be helpful in those areas, like meditation, prayer and spirituality."

Continue



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21-year-old MS sufferer: 'I feel like my life is on hold'



TALIA CARLISLE/Stuff.co.nz

HOLDING ON TO HOPE: Amy Clague needs to raise $100,000 to cover flights to Russia and a stem cell transplant which she hopes will give her a chance at a normal life.

A multiple sclerosis diagnosis was not the 20th birthday present Amy Clague was hoping for.

The Melrose nanny was celebrating with family last year when she noticed something wasn't right.

"My right side was kind of numb," Clague said.

"[The next day] I woke up and it hadn't gone away. Day three it was in my face. It had spread."

Clague had no feeling on her right side from her toes to her face when she visited Wellington Hospital's emergency department for tests.

Four possible outcomes weighed on Clague's mind as she awaited the doctor's results.

"It was going to be multiple sclerosis [MS], a brain tumour, a brain bleed or a stroke."

But Clague's mother, a neurological physiotherapist who treats MS patients, knew the answer.

Living with MS was an inconvenience she could do without, Clague said.

"I've been so angry. One of the worst things about MS is you don't know when or what is going to come. I feel like my life is on hold.

Click here to read more of Amy's story as well as to watch her video



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Caldwell resident fighting battle with multiple sclerosis

Eleni Christoforou, 32, is hoping to undergo a stem cell transplant to rid of the disease


Posted: Thursday, March 12, 2015 4:30 am
By NICOLE BITETTE Staff Writer 

CALDWELL — Eleni Christoforou, 32, hopes that a hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) will strike a decisive blow in her decade-long battle with multiple sclerosis (MS).
The Caldwell resident said the goal is to erase any memory of the disease from her body.
However, even with insurance coverage, the procedure will cost Christoforou roughly $20,000 between traveling to Chicago, where the transplant is done, and the other costs associated with removing and reinserting her stem cells, as well as fertility treatments.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that disrupts the brain’s ability to communicate with the body. The hematopoietic stem cell transplant will remove Christoforou’s stem cells from her bone marrow and then she will undergo chemotherapy before her own stem cells are injected back into her system with hopefully no memory of the MS, she explained.
Christoforou’s first symptoms left her unable to walk up the stairs, bumping into walls, losing her memory and confused. There were days where she would forget how to get home or how she arrived at work, she said.
She had a particularly bad episode in July of 2014 that left her unable to speak, walk, see and even feed herself. She spent a week in the hospital followed by two weeks at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, she said. She then spent another eight weeks in outpatient therapy in order to recover.
“It was a long road, but with lots of hard work and praying, you would never know that had happened to me by looking at me,” she said.


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Blood pressure drug protects against symptoms of multiple sclerosis in animal models

Date:
March 13, 2015
Source:
University of Chicago Medical Center
Summary:
An FDA-approved drug for high blood pressure, guanabenz, prevents myelin loss and alleviates clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in animal models, according to a new study. The drug appears to enhance an innate cellular mechanism that protects myelin-producing cells.


AN FDA-approved drug for high blood pressure, guanabenz, prevents myelin loss and alleviates clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in animal models, according to a new study. The drug appears to enhance an innate cellular mechanism that protects myelin-producing cells against inflammatory stress. These findings point to promising avenues for the development of new therapeutics against MS, report scientists from the University of Chicago in Nature Communications on Mar. 13.


"Guanabenz appears to enhance the cell's own protective machinery to diminish the loss of myelin, which is the major hallmark of MS," said senior study author Brian Popko, PhD, Jack Miller Professor of Neurological Disorders at the University of Chicago "While there have been many efforts to stimulate re-myelination, this now represents a unique protective approach. You don't have to repair the myelin if you don't lose it in the first place."
Multiple sclerosis is characterized by an abnormal immune response that leads to inflammation in the brain and the destruction of myelin -- a fatty sheath that protects and insulates nerve fibers. MS is thought to affect more than 2.3 million people worldwide and has no known cure.
Popko and his colleagues have previously shown that oligodendrocytes, the brain cells which produce myelin, possess an innate mechanism that responds to stressors such as inflammation. It temporarily shuts down almost all normal protein production in the cell and selectively increases the production of protective proteins. When this mechanism is malfunctioning or overloaded -- by the chronic inflammation seen in MS, for example -- oligodendrocyte death and demyelination is significantly increased.
A recent study found evidence that guanabenz, a drug approved for oral administration for hypertension, enhances this stress response pathway independent of its anti-hypertension actions. To test the suitability of guanabenz as a potential treatment for MS, Popko and his team exposed cultured oligodendrocyte cells to interferon gamma -- a molecule that increases inflammation -- resulting in greatly increased myelin loss and cell death.
Treating these cells with guanabenz prevented myelin loss and restored cell survival to near normal levels. Oligodendrocytes that were not exposed to interferon gamma were unaffected by guanabenz, suggesting that it enhances only an active stress response pathway.
The team then tested the drug on multiple mouse models of MS. When treated with guanabenz, mice that are genetically engineered to express high amounts of interferon gamma in their brains were protected against oligodendrocyte and myelin loss. Treated mice retained several times more myelination and oligodendrocytes than untreated mice.
To study a chronic model of MS, the researchers immunized mice with a component of myelin, triggering an immune response against myelin similar to MS in humans. Clinical symptoms developed, but guanabenz administered a week after immunization significantly delayed the onset of these symptoms and reduced peak severity. Treatment also prevented around 20 percent of mice from developing symptoms at all.
To study the suitability of guanabenz as a therapeutic after MS symptoms have already appeared and peaked, the researchers used a mouse model in which symptoms relapse and remit -- cycling from high severity to low severity to high again over time. They administered guanabenz immediately after symptoms peaked, and found a nearly 50 percent reduction in severity during the next relapse cycle.
"Human MS predominantly follows a relapsing-remitting pattern," said co-author Sharon Way, PhD, a National MS Society Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago. "Our hope is that this approach would provide protection against future relapses by making them milder and less frequent."
Continue reading by clicking here

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CME program: "Clinical Challenges in MS Care: Family Planning, Pregnancy, and Disease-Modifying Therapies"

Dear Colleague,

Can you correctly answer this question:

Which one of the following disease-modifying therapies should be discontinued and an accelerated elimination procedure initiated in a male MS patient who wants to father a child?

A. Glatiramer acetate
B. Interferon beta-1b
C. Fingolimod
D. Teriflunomide

Participate in this John Hopkins University School of Medicine educational activity to learn the answer to this and other questions related to MS therapy in women of childbearing age.

EARN CME or CNE Credit!

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing, in cooperation with Medical Logix, LLC, are currently offering this educational program certified for CME and CNE credit, at no charge to participants:


 Video Clinical Dialogue and eCase Challenge:



Jointly presented by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the 
Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing

Release Date: May 7, 2014
Expiration Date: May 6, 2015


Estimated time to complete each part of this activity: 60 minutes for each of the two activities. Each part of this activity has been approved for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ and 1.0 contact hour for nurses. There are no fees or prerequisites.

Supported by independent educational grants from
EMD Serono and Genzyme, a Sanofi Company.

 
Learning Objectives
After participating in this activity, the participant will demonstrate the ability to:
  • Recognize the importance of providing preconception counseling to all patients of childbearing age in order to reduce reproductive risks.
  • Apply the most recent evidence concerning the reproductive safety of approved DMTs when counseling patients with MS who are considering pregnancy or those who are pregnant.
  • Summarize and provide context for the available data (animal and human) concerning the reproductive safety of newer and emerging DMTs.
  • Assess the available evidence regarding DMTs and male reproductive health in order to effectively communicate their potential risks to male patients with MS.
  • Discuss the evidence on the safety of DMTs used during lactation, in order to optimize outcomes for patients with MS who breastfeed their infants.
  • Implement evidence-based treatment strategies to optimize the management of postpartum relapses.

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine takes responsibility for the content, quality, and scientific integrity of this CME activity.

Statement of Need
Multiple sclerosis typically affects women of childbearing age and can influence fertility, pregnancy and decisions regarding breastfeeding. Management of a pregnant patient with MS or a patient contemplating pregnancy presents many unique issues and can be quite challenging.

The intent of this Clinical Dialogue, a video-based activity, is to review the most up-to-date evidence on MS, specifically on fertility and pregnancy outcomes, management of MS during pregnancy, the reproductive safety of DMTs, their use when breastfeeding and issues related to postpartum management. We will also address preconception issues, including pregnancy outcomes when it is the male patient who has MS. The eCase Challenge, a text-based activity, will allow the participant to apply the knowledge gained from this Clinical Dialogue in a few real-world clinical scenarios.

It is important to emphasize that the questions and answers discussed in this program must be individualized to the specific circumstances of each patient and their acceptance of risk.

Johns Hopkins Chair and Course Director:
Jack N. Ratchford, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

Faculty:
Moderator
Jack N. Ratchford, MD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

Patricia K. Coyle, MD
Professor and Vice Chair
Department of Neurology
Director, Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center
SUNY at Stony Brook University Medical Center
Stony Brook, NY

Lynn Stazzone, RN, MSN, NP, MSCN
Nurse Practitioner
Partners MS Center
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Boston, MA

Intended Audience

Healthcare professionals, specifically, neurologists, internists, family practice physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses and other providers involved in the care of patients with multiple sclerosis.


This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint providership of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing. The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

Credit Designation Statement
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine designates this enduring material for a maximum of 2.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Credit Reciprocity:

American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) accepts certificates of participation for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by the ACCME. Physician assistants may receive a maximum of 2.0 credits of Category 1 for completing this program.

Disclosure Policy Affecting CME Activities
It is the policy of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine that the faculty and provider disclose real or apparent conflicts of interest relating to the topics of this educational activity, and also disclose discussions of unlabeled/unapproved uses of drugs or devices during their presentation(s). Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine OCME has established policies in place that will identify and resolve all conflicts of interest prior to this educational activity.  Detailed disclosure will be made in the course materials.

 To view the activity, please CLICK HERE 

Please keep in mind that you will need to login with your email address and password to access this program. If you forgot your password, click on the "Forgot Password" link in the top right corner of the site.

We hope you enjoy this informative educational program!

The MS-Leaders Team

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Office of Continuing Medical  Education, Turner 20, 720 Rutland Ave, Baltimore, MD 21205

 
In cooperation with Medical Logix, LLC

Medical Logix, LLC, 130 W. Main Street, Suite 144, Collegeville, PA 19426


Please do not respond to this email directly. Any questions or concerns,  

  
www.ms-leaders.org 




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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Researchers Identify a New Genetic Risk Factor for Multiple Sclerosis Development


Researchers Identify a New Genetic Risk Factor for Multiple Sclerosis Development

shutterstock_133446737March 10, 2015
A team led by researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) recently revealed in the journal ASN NEURO a new genetic variation that significantly increases the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) in women. The study is entitled “A Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism in Serine-Threonine Kinase 11, the Gene Encoding Liver Kinase B1, Is a Risk Factor for Multiple Sclerosis.
MS corresponds to a progressive, immune-mediated disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord nerves), causing damage to the myelin layer covering neurons. The loss of myelin results in an impairment in signal transmission along the nerve fibers, affecting motor function such as walking and speaking. This neurodegenerative disease affects around 2.5 million people worldwide. The exact causes for MS are not clear but genetic factors are known to contribute to the risk of developing the disease as relatives of MS patients have a higher risk than the general population.
Researchers identified a new genetic variant through a woman who, along with her four siblings – a brother and three sisters, including twins – had all been diagnosed with MS. “This is an extremely rare occurrence,” noted the study’s lead author Dr. Anne Boullerne in a news release, as there were no reports on five siblings all diagnosed with MS.
“I was immediately interested in the possibility of a genetic study of the family because all five siblings – an entire generation – are affected by MS, and so we could have a very good chance of discovering key genes related to inheritance of the disease,” explained Dr. Boullerne.
Continue Reading


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