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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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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Designing an epidemiologic study of neurologic disorders in Gulf War vets

posted by news on december 11, 2015 - 8:00pm
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) requested that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine conduct a study to respond to Public Law 110-389 to determine the incidence, prevalence, and risk of developing multiple sclerosis and other neurologic diseases -- including migraines, Parkinson's disease, brain cancers, and central nervous system abnormalities difficult to diagnose precisely -- as a result of service in the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf and post 9/11 Global Operations theaters.

In a new Academies report, Considerations for Designing an Epidemiologic Study for Multiple Sclerosis and Other Neurologic Disorders in Pre and Post 9/11 Gulf War Veterans, the committee convened to carry out the study concluded that while technically feasible, it would not continue with the next steps of designing and implementing a study of the neurologic diseases of concern. The primary reason for the committee's conclusion was the restriction to using only existing VA data for its work. Furthermore, VA and numerous other researchers have already published results on the outcomes of concern using VA data linked to other data sources, and therefore, it is unlikely that the committee would find different results from those well-designed studies that already have been published and scrutinized. Given that the committee would be limited to using existing VA data only, an Academies study would essentially repeat the work of others, yet have the additional limitation of not having access to other important data sources. Thus, the committee did not believe it could advance the knowledge significantly beyond what is already known.


Source: National Academy of Sciences



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Getting a Handle on STRESS (G-r-r-r-r!!)

You Can...Get a Handle on Stress

The stress response: the good and the bad

Stress is a daily fact of life. Stress hormones jump start your brain and body into action. They make your heart race when you're falling in love, help you escape a burning building—or meet an important deadline.
Stress can be triggered by external and internal sources. External stressors can include your crying baby, loss of a job, a job promotion, problems with an intimate relationship, and having a chronic disease. Internal stressors have to do with your attitude and your positive or negative view of the external stressor.

Good stress goes bad.

Stress is like a light that turns on when you need it. But when you can't turn it off, you run the risk of burnout which can impact your health.
Chronic stress weakens the immune system and increases the risk for a number of illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Most research studies about the effects of stress on MS have been inconclusive, but one recent study by Dr. David Mohr at the University of California, San Francisco, found significant increases in MS relapses following stressful life events.

The tell-tale signs of chronic stress:

  • Irritability*
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, guilty, worthless*
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Persistent nervousness
  • Chronic worry or anxiety
  • Sad or “down” feelings*
  • Sweating
  • Stomach aches, constipation, diarrhea, cramps, or nausea
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations
  • Muscle tightnes
  • Shallow breathing
  • Trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep
  • Loss of interest in usual activities, including sex*
  • Eating too much or too little*
  • Decreased energy; feeling “slowed down”*
  • Distractibility and impaired memory*
  • Difficulty making decisions*
  • Feeling empty or “numb” *
(* also a symptom of depression)

You CAN take control of runaway stress

Click here to continue reading this important article


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You Can...Stay Flexible Through Stretching

Stretching is a simple and all-natural therapy for reduced range of motion and spasticity caused by MS. Both symptoms can lead to limited mobility, pain and reduced enjoyment of life.
But that doesn't have to happen. You CAN maintain and even increase your flexibility through stretching.

What is stretching?

Stretching is a process of muscle and soft tissue elongation that is thought to:
  • Increase range of motion and flexibility
  • Promote relaxation
  • Reduce pain
  • Improve function and mobility
  • Normalize muscle tone and tightness
  • Prevent contractures (joints with limited mobility due to spasticity)
There are no conclusive studies on the long-term benefits of stretching on people with MS. Within existing studies, stretching parameters vary widely, so make sure to discuss any regimen with your healthcare provider first. Ask your chapter about stretching classes with instructors experienced in MS.

Get stretching!

Try active or passive stretching:
  • Active stretching contracts the muscles opposite the ones being stretched. For example, when you contract your buttock muscles to lift the pelvis, you will simultaneously stretch the front thigh.
  • In passive stretching, gravity can assist the stretch, or another person can manually stretch you. Equipment such as a brace that holds the joint at a specific angle, or a serial cast, which increases a stretch over time are other options. Ergometers, or arm cycles, also work well for managing spasticity and maintaining range of motion. Ask if you can use one in a physical therapist's (PT) office.

A little medical help

Continue reading  from this MS Society website article


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Get Control of Bladder & Bowel Issues

You Can...Get Control of Bladder & Bowel Issues

Gotta go! gotta go!

Bladder and bowel accidents are embarrassing. About 85% of people with MS are likely to experience these problems. It can happen early in the disease or late. Whenever it does, the fear of accidents can make people with MS stay at home and give up their outside activities.
The good news is You CAN manage MS related bladder and bowel issues.

First step

Consult with your healthcare provider for a comprehensive evaluation at the first sign of a problem. These can include:
  • Bladder urgency
  • Frequency of urination
  • Leaking urine
  • Constipation
  • Loss of bowel control
As with other symptoms of MS, these can vary greatly from person to person. Depending on the cause, a management plan can include a combination of self-help strategies and medications. It may take some time working with your healthcare provider to identify the most effective techniques.

Bladder

You might think that cutting back on fluids is a good strategy. Don’t do it. It can lead to serious bladder and kidney problems. You need 6-8 cups of water a day.
  • Plan your fluid intake. To drink 6-8 cups of water, divide this amount into portions. Drink fluids in larger amounts at 3 or 4 designated times a day. You can then plan a bathroom stop about 1 to 2 hours later. Sipping fluids throughout the day is a bad idea. It encourages more frequent bathroom visits.
  • Establish a schedule of urinating every 2 to 4 hours, whether you feel the need or not. This behavioral technique is called bladder training or timed voiding. You can coordinate this with your drinking schedule.
  • Reduce or eliminate caffeinated drinks (coffee, soda, tea, and alcohol) in your diet. These are bladder irritants. Avoid them altogether if you are traveling or going out.
  • Discuss prescription medications for frequency and urgency with your health-care provider.
If the above approaches aren’t enough, Intermittent self-catheterization (ISC) may be recommended.

Bowel

click here, to continue reading from The National MS Society website


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Trigeminal neuralgia, type of nerve pain, is an early multiple sclerosis symptom

Trigeminal neuralgia, type of nerve pain, is an early multiple sclerosis symptomA type of nerve pain, called trigeminal neuralgia, can be very hard to cope with and has become known as an early symptom of multiple sclerosis.
Trigeminal neuralgia affects the fifth cranial nerve, trigeminal, which is responsible for the sensation in the face involved with biting and chewing. It is the largest of the cranial nerves and gets its name from the fact that each nerve has three major branches.
People with trigeminal nerve pain can have attacks that last for days, weeks, or even months at a time. Sadly, in some cases, attacks happen literally hundreds of times a day. It is possible for some sufferers to go into remission for long periods, although doctors have noticed that periods of remission in their patients seems to get shorter as time goes on.
This type of neuropathic pain is described as severe facial pain – like a sharp, shooting or electric shock. The nerve pain can last a few seconds or a few minutes and then just end abruptly. In the vast majority of cases, it impacts part or all of one side of the face. Most people with trigeminal pain complain about discomfort in the lower part of the face.
Some people who have suffered this kind of nerve pain for years go on to develop a continuous aching, throbbing or burning sensation, along with the sharp pain


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Multiple sclerosis paroxysmal symptoms confused with seizures due to sudden onset


Multiple sclerosis paroxysmal symptoms confused with seizures due to sudden onset  Multiple sclerosis paroxysmal symptoms can be confused with seizures due to its sudden onset. Paroxysmal symptoms are unique to multiple sclerosis (MS) and involve unusual sensations or muscular contractions. The main differences between multiple sclerosis paroxysmal symptoms and epileptic seizures are that paroxysmal symptoms do not cause short-circuiting of brain waves and do not have other features in the brain, such as epileptic seizures.
Paroxysmal symptoms can be sudden but are short lasting, and if symptoms last for several days, it could be due to exacerbation or relapse. There are many conditions and symptoms that can trigger paroxysmal symptoms, including fatigue, change in temperature, emotional changes, or a sudden change in body position.

Types of paroxysmal symptoms in MS

Many symptoms of multiple sclerosis can appear and disappear. Here are the most common ones:
  • Types of paroxysmal symptoms in MSDiplopia: double vision caused by weakness in muscles that control the eyes
  • Paresthesia: abnormal sensations described as burning, tingling, prickling, itching, numbness or pins and needles
  • Trigeminal neuralgia: intense pain occurring in the lower part of the face
  • Ataxia: unsteadiness or lack of coordination
  • Dysarthria: speech disorder where pronunciation is unclear, even when the meaning of what is said is correct
  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Pruritus: severe itchiness
  • Akinesia: being unable to move
  • Seizures
  • Dystonia: impaired or disordered muscle tone that slows movement or extended muscle spasm
These symptoms typically do not last long, but in the moment they can become quite severe. Unfortunately, paroxysmal symptoms can reoccur or happen several times throughout the day. Medications can be prescribed in order to control them.

Paroxysmal symptoms not to be confused with MS seizures

click here to continue reading

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Fatigue and Multiple Sclerosis



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Playing Golf from wheelchair with the Paragolfer - Demo from Spain




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Swimming with Multiple Sclerosis





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Wheelchair Golf


Hitting is Better than sitting...


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Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

Missing Images!
         SLIDESHOW


Hopes are high for this vitamin, which may build stronger bones, help you lose weight, and protect against diabetes, MS, and more.

View this slideshow - click here   (click each photo to advance the slideshow)

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Friday, December 11, 2015

MS Fatigue (aka lassitude)



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How Vitamin D Repairs Myelin in Multiple Sclerosis

how vitamin D repairs myelin in multiple sclerosis
2015-12-10 

An international team of researchers have proposed how vitamin D repairs myelin in multiple sclerosis. This finding could lead to new remyelination treatment options.
Numerous previous studies have discussed how vitamin D supplementation can have a favorable impact on the course of multiple sclerosis, including reducing relapse. Others have indicated that low levels of the vitamin are associated with an increased incidence of MS or the presence of more brain lesions.
Researchers in this latest study found that the vitamin D receptor interacts with RXR gamma receptor, a protein that has been shown in previous research to be involved in the repair of myelin. Myelin is the protective covering for nerve cells that is damaged and destroyed in people who have MS.
Although the body has special cells called oligodendrocytes that can repair damaged myelin, this natural ability is compromised in people who have multiple sclerosis. This study, however, showed that
  • When scientists added vitamin D to brain stem cells (which have both vitamin D and RXR gamma receptors), production of oligodendrocytes increased 80 percent
Continue Reading


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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Pomegranate Seed Oil May Be Therapy for MS Disease and Its Progression


<span class="entry-title">Pomegranate Seed Oil May Be Therapy for MS Disease and Its Progression</span><span class="entry-subtitle">Powerful antioxidant was shown to inhibit multiple sclerosis in EAE mouse model</span>

In a recent study, researchers show how a natural antioxidant within pomegranate seeds is capable of inhibiting demyelination in a mouse model for multiple sclerosis (MS), supporting novel formulations of natural antioxidants as therapeutics for demyelinating diseases. The study, “Treatment of a multiple sclerosis animal model by a novel nano drop formulation of a natural antioxidant,” was published in the […]

Read on »




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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Future of Stem Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis Patients Relies on Clinical Trial Participation

Adult Autologous Stem Cell Therapy May Provide Immunomodulatory Benefits
<span class="entry-title">The Future of Stem Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis Patients Relies on Clinical Trial Participation</span><span class="entry-subtitle">Adult Autologous Stem Cell Therapy May Provide Immunomodulatory Benefits</span>

Among the different therapeutic approaches being explored for treating MS, adult stem cell therapy continues to be one of the most discussed and anticipated in the MS community. “Stem cells” — the common term for undifferentiated, self-renewing proliferating cells — are currently being investigated for their ability to treat patients in a wide range of disease indications, including multiple sclerosis, due to their ability to reboot the immune system, address inflammation in the body and repair damage caused by injury or disease. For MS, some researchers believe that stem cell therapy can effectively repair damaged myelin, preventing the progression of the disease and minimizing its effect on patients’ quality of life.
Stem cell treatment for multiple sclerosis begins with the introduction of adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) taken from the Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF) — the fatty material that is removed in procedures such as lipsosuction — which is processed and reintroduced back into the body. From there, these MSCs are believed to be able to travel past the blood brain barrier and repair the myelin sheath around nerve cells that becomes damaged by the immune system in MS in a process known as “remyelination.” In addition, stem cells also act as modulators of the immune system in patients with multiple sclerosis, as MSCs secrete cytokines and other molecules that can have an anti-inflammatory effect or produce an inhibitory action on pro-inflammatory pathways. Since MS is an autoimmune disease, if stem cell therapy is proven to restore normal function to the immune system as well as repair damaged myelin, it would represent a revolutionary, next generation approach to treating the disease.

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People with Relapsing NMOD Invited to Enter Phase 3 Study

<span class="entry-title">People with Relapsing NMOD Invited to Enter Phase 3 Study</span><span class="entry-subtitle">Trial to evaluate eculizumab as possible neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder treatment</span>


Trial to evaluate eculizumab as possible neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder treatment

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society recently announced that a research team is now recruiting 132 patients with a diagnosis of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD) for a Phase 3 clinical study comparing an experimental medicine with an inactive placebo.
NMOSD is a rare disorder caused by immune system cells attacking healthy cells; these attacks are directed mostly against the eyes and spinal cord. NMOSD is considered a distinct disease from multiple sclerosis (MS), although both are inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system and sometimes difficult to distinguish between. NMOSD causes inflammation of the spinal cord and optic nerve, which can lead to the loss of vision, mobility, and sensation. The condition currently has no cure or approved drugs, and investigators are seeking a treatment to prevent attacks or relapses.
Ninety percent of NMOSD patients have a relapsing form of the disease, and many continue to experience attacks despite disease management. Disability can worsen with every relapse.
The new study, called PREVENT, is sponsored by Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and will evaluate the efficacy and safety of the investigational drug eculizumab for the treatment of patients with relapsing NMOSD.

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Vitamin D could repair nerve damage in multiple sclerosis, study suggests

public/news/thumbnail_neuronwitholigodendrocyteandmyelinsheath.png
A protein activated by vitamin D could be involved in repairing damage to myelin in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to new research from the University of Cambridge. The study, published in the Journal of Cell Biology, offers significant evidence that vitamin D could be a possible treatment for MS in the future.

Researchers from the MS Society Cambridge Centre for Myelin Repair, identified that the ‘vitamin D receptor’ protein pairs with an existing protein, called the RXR gamma receptor, already known to be involved in the repair of myelin, the protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres.

By adding vitamin D to brain stem cells where the proteins were present, they found the production rate of oligodendrocytes (myelin making cells) increased by 80%. When they blocked the vitamin D receptor to stop it from working, the RXR gamma protein alone was unable to stimulate the production of oligodendrocytes.

In MS, the body’s own immune system attacks and damages myelin, causing disruption to messages sent around the brain and spinal cord; symptoms are unpredictable and include problems with mobility and balance, pain, and severe fatigue. The body has a natural ability to repair myelin, but with age this becomes less effective.


Continue



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New Zealand MS update: Multiple sclerosis drugs to receive funding

Tecfidera capsules and Aubagio tablets will be state-funded from February 1. Photo / iStock
Tecfidera capsules and Aubagio tablets will be state-funded from February 1. Photo / iStock

Two more medicines will be funded by taxpayers for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, following a decision by Government agency Pharmac.
Tecfidera capsules and Aubagio tablets will be state-funded from February 1 for MS patients who meet the complex clinical criteria.
The Multiple Sclerosis Society of New Zealand welcomes the decision to fund two new first-line treatments for relapsing-remitting forms of MS.
"There are approximately 4000 people with multiple sclerosis in New Zealand," says society spokesman Neil Woodhams. "This announcement is a really positive step forward for them."
The announcement follows Pharmac's funding of two other MS medicines, Tysabri and Gilenya, last year and its widening of access to older injectable treatments.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Cellular Target Opens New Pathway For Multiple Sclerosis Therapy

Dr. Vittorio Gallo PhD Center for Neuroscience Research Children’s Research Institute Children’s National Medical Center Washington, DC 20010
Dr. Vittorio Gallo
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Vittorio Gallo PhD

Center for Neuroscience Research
Children’s Research Institute
Children’s National Medical Center
Washington, DC 20010
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. GalloAstrocytes are cells in the central nervous system (CNS) that provide nutrients, recycle neurotransmitters, and help maintain homeostasis. In many neurodegenerative disorders – including multiple sclerosis  (MS) –astrocytes undergo a cellular and biochemical transformation called reactive gliosis. This process significantly impacts – both positively and negatively – neural regeneration. Reactive astrocytes (RAs) synthesize and release a peptide called Endothelin-1 (ET-1). Gallo and his team previously demonstrated that ET-1 is expressed at high levels by RAs in multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions and that – in animal models of MS – this peptide inhibits repair by delaying oligodendrocyte maturation and remyelination. 
The main finding of the study published in Cell Reports is the identification of the cellular and molecular pathway that mediates the inhibitory effects of ET-1 on oligodendrocyte regeneration and remyelinaton in demyelinated lesions. In particular – by using pharmacological and genetic approaches – the study demonstrates that the ET-1 acts selectively through the ET-receptor B (ENDRB) on astrocytes – and not oligodendrocytes – to indirectly inhibit remyelination.
Continue reading



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