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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Chemicals in sunscreen found to inhibit multiple sclerosis in mice


                                                                  
  
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(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin has found that applying certain types of sunscreen to mice with a multiple sclerosis-like condition dissipated the symptoms of the condition. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes accidentally discovering the impact of sunscreen on mice and what testing of their results showed.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune demyelinating disease that results in  in people—the immune system, for unknown reasons, attacks the fatty material (called myelin) that insulates nerves. Symptoms include problems with vision, , sensation and coordination. Scientists still do not know why it occurs and there is no known cure. In this new effort, the researchers found that two compounds common in  caused such symptoms to disappear in test .
The researchers describe investigating the possibility of using one or more wavelengths of light as a means of alleviating MS symptoms. To test their ideas, they induced an MS-like condition in multiple mice and then shaved their backs to allow for exposure to sunscreen and/or different wavelengths of light. They found that those mice with a coat of sunscreen, which were intended as the study's controls, showed reduced signs of MS symptoms. Intrigued, the researchers looked more closely at the sunscreens, sorting out which ingredients might be the cause of the reduction in symptoms. They found two: octisalate and homosalate—both resulted in reductions of MS symptoms when applied alone to test mice.
The researchers do not know why the two compounds have an impact on MS conditions in mice, nor do they know if they might have a similar impact on people with MS, but expect future research to find out (it is also likely that some MS patients may begin to apply sunscreen themselves upon hearing of the results of the study). In the meantime, they suggest it might be connected to the compounds causing the mice to produce less cyclooxygenase—an enzyme very often found in the lesions MS produces. 
Complete article found here



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Resistance training shown to improve multiple sclerosis patient outcomes


                                                                  
  
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resistance training  Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord. No two cases are alike, as the disease can present in any number of different ways relating to the areas affected. The disease itself is thought to be the result of the person’s own immune system attacking the myelin sheath—the protective layer covering nerve fibers. This destruction causes communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body.
For years, multiple sclerosis patients were advised not to exercise for fear of making their condition worse. However, new research shows that resistance training may protect the nervous system and slow down the progression of the disease.
Recent studies have provided evidence that resistance training has a number of positive effects on the brain. It can go beyond what is achieved through commonly used medications for the condition.
“Over the past six years, we have been pursuing the idea that physical training has effects on more than just the symptoms, and this study provides the first indications that physical exercise may protect the nervous system against the disease,” says associate professor Ulrik Dalgas from the Department of Public Health at Aarhus University.

The changing view of physical exercise and MS

Medical professionals now know that exercise doesn’t cause harm to multiple sclerosis patients—it actually is beneficial. Physical exercise has now been proven to have a positive impact on the ability to walk, levels of fatigue, muscle strength, and aerobic capacity of multiple sclerosis patients



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The Importance of Patients Having a Voice in MS Research


                                                                  
  
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   by Laura Kolaczkowski 




I recently spent time at the annual meeting of the Drug Information Association (DIA), listening to presentations and talking with industry representatives about the multiple sclerosis community’s needs.
DIA is a nonprofit association that has been around more than 50 years. Their primary interest is the development of healthcare products — drugs and devices — and supporting innovation in these areas. It has only been in the past decade that patient advocates have been included in the DIA’s annual meeting, and last year I attended as a DIA Patient Fellow.
The theme for DIA 2017 was “Driving Insights to Action.” And as its website noted, DIA “is the only global organization dedicated to bringing health care product development professionals together in a trusted, global, neutral environment to share insights and drive action in health care product development and life cycle management.”
Although DIA has made a commitment to including a patient advocate’s voice in their meetings and work, I would be less than honest if I didn’t say at times it feels like an uphill climb. Even their statement about DIA 2017 “Driving Insights to Action” includes only professionals in healthcare product development, and no mention of the people they are meant to serve.
Another example is that a unique Patient Engagement track of courses offered this year won’t be offered at DIA 2018. I’m told that instead, they will push hard to have patients’ voices infused into more of the other sessions. While I continue to be skeptical, I will give them the benefit of the doubt because I really want this new collaboration to grow and improve. We need the drug industry for our cure, and they need us as the consumers.
I had the honor of chairing a panel of patient advocates who represented the changing face of advocacy. They included Kim McCleary of FasterCures, Melissa Hogan of Project Alive, and Upal Basu Roy of LUNGevity.
Each of these amazing organizations was started by patient advocates and has grown into a powerful voice on research. We discussed how people affected by chronic disease are no longer content to sit back, and how we can help advance research in partnership with industry. By including what we patients want and need early in the product and trial design, industry can accomplish its goals faster, and we can get new drugs and products sooner.
DIA 2017
From left, Kim McCleary, Melissa Hogan, Upal Basu Roy, and Laura Kolaczkowski at DIA 2017.
It was with great pride that I was able to share with industry representatives the fact that we now have 4,000 iConquerMS members sharing their health data to find answers to questions about life with MS. The people who come to iConquerMS do so because they trust us to do good studies with the information shared through our portal.
When I spoke at DIA, people were impressed to hear we have so many people volunteering data with no specific objectives, such as the development of a drug. There is so much more we need to learn about MS, and through iConquerMS, we are gathering the data to do just that.
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Friday, August 4, 2017

Pregnancy: Effect on Multiple Sclerosis, Treatment Considerations, and Breastfeeding.


                                                                  
  
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Review article
Voskuhl R, et al. Neurotherapeutics. 2017.

Abstract

Multiple sclerosis (MS) commonly affects women in childbearing years making pregnancy issues important for patients with MS and their families. Pregnancy is a naturally occurring disease modifier of MS associated with a 70% reduction in relapse rates in the third trimester. This relapse rate reduction during the last trimester is roughly equal to the most effective disease-modifying treatments for MS. Given this efficacy, various pregnancy factors have been tested to determine which play a part in pregnancy's protection, and some have been translated to completed and ongoing phase II clinical trials. In contrast to protective effects during pregnancy, the postpartum period entails increased relapse risk, which may be due to either abrupt removal of protective pregnancy factors after delivery or to unique deleterious factors inherent to the postpartum period. The effect of breastfeeding on MS remains unclear. The best predictor for whether a patient will have a postpartum relapse is the incidence of her having active relapsing MS prior to pregnancy. The medical management of MS during pregnancy and the postpartum period is challenging given the risks of medication exposure to the fetus in utero and to the infant through breast milk. This review will focus on clinical aspects of pregnancy, including the effects of pregnancy on MS disease activity, as well as the medical management of MS during pregnancy and postpartum.

PMID

 28766273 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Full text


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/28766273/?i=7&from=multiple%20sclerosis


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Transabled - written by The Wheelchair Kamikaze


                                                                  
  
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July 30, 2017
By: Marc Stecker - The Wheelchair Kamikaze

An able-bodied friend and I recently discussed the swirl of issues surrounding transgender people, spurred by the President’s sudden tweeted edict banning transgender volunteers from serving in the military. My friend expressed mixed thoughts on these matters, most of them based on the fact he just couldn’t identify with a person feeling they were somehow born into a body of the wrong sex. I replied that I too couldn’t entirely relate to the emotional state and cultural pain experienced by transgender folks, but my feelings should have no bearing on issues of fairness and equality. If all people are indeed created equal, any person's standing as an equal should not rely on my ability to fully grasp the intricacies of their circumstances.



As those thoughts turned into words and left my lips, the realization hit that in many respects I can identify with at least some of the feelings I expect transgender people experience. I’m in no way equating my own situation with theirs, but thanks to Creeping Paralysis the inner me is now almost entirely divorced from the body in which it exists. I’m not transgender, but I am transabled.

My concept of “me” is still that of the wiry six-footer that I used to be, the mannish boy who reveled in meandering strolls through the city, long-distance swims, a vibrant social life, and a full tapestry of sensual and tactile delights. The self I hold dear bears no relation to the embodiment of decrepitude that confronts me whenever I glance down and take a gander at the frame that sits in my wheelchair. The image staring back at me when I muster up the courage to roll up to a full-length mirror and take a peek is a complete stranger, at least from the neck down. With its bloated belly and ravaged limbs, that thing in the chair is most emphatically not the me that dwells inside of it. The old me lives on, cocooned in my heart and soul, trapped within a penitentiary of increasingly useless flesh and bone.

Though I try my best to quiet the frenzied feelings engendered by this gaping disconnect between body and spirit, at times there is simply no denying the emotional tempest raging within. Confusion, anguish, sadness, a gnawing yearning for what used to be – negative energies all, especially when directed inward. And though I try my best to silence or at least contain them, these destructive emotions seek out seams and points of weakness through which to burst, like grasping fingers of flame blasting through an apartment building window, threatening a conflagration that will take down the entire edifice. Thus far my attempts at emotional alchemy, seeking to turn negative energy into positive, have helped neutralize the threat, but the potential for self-immolation always lurks within.

As a transabled person, I often find myself an alien on my own planet, a victim of a variety of discriminations. Outside the cozy confines of my home, there are bathrooms I can’t use, restaurants and shops that apparently don’t want me as a customer, and passersby to whom I appear to be invisible. Indeed, maybe even something worse than invisible, a threat, a reminder of the ephemeral nature of their own sense of normalcy, a not-so-subtle hint that the supposedly solid foundations of their lives are in fact made of nothing more than gossamer.


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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Swank diet: Does it help with multiple sclerosis?


                                                                  
  
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July 30, 2017,

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How to Reverse MS Symptoms with the Wahls Protocol


                                                                  
  
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June 2017 - 

Are you or a loved one looking for a way to reverse MS or autoimmune symptoms? If you haven’t heard of Dr. Terry Wahls, this incredible M.D. and researcher was able to turn back the clock on her own progressive multiple sclerosis with lifestyle changes and a specifically tailored Paleo-type diet.

(If you prefer to hear Dr. Wahls explain her story and her methods rather than read about it, you’re in luck! I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Wahls in this Healthy Moms podcast where she explains how she designed her multi-faceted protocol to support and nourish the cell mitochondria with the power of real food.)
Her journey started as it does for many of us … searching for answers to the puzzling health problems that affect us personally.
Dr. Wahls started to experience the symptoms of MS while she was attending medical school. Her first official diagnosis of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis came in 2000.
In 2003, this former national tae-kwon-do competitor needed a tilt recline wheelchair. She now had secondary progressive MS, and the drugs weren’t working. Even with her own medical knowledge and the help of some of the best doctors in the world, she wasn’t getting any better. So, armed with piles of studies, she dug into the research herself to find answers.
It soon became obvious to Dr. Wahls that it couldn’t hurt to try known brain-boosting nutritional supplements for help. This led her to consider … how could she get the same brain-nourishing benefits from real food? Her research led her to learn how a hunter-gatherer (Paleo) diet could help nourish her body and possibly heal her from her disease.

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Cognitive decline could be reduced with a Mediterranean-style diet


                                                                  
  
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an older woman eating a salad
Researchers say that greater adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet in later life may help to reduce cognitive decline.

A wealth of studies have suggested that a healthful diet may help to protect the brain against the effects of aging. New research adds fuel to the fire, after finding that following a Mediterranean-style diet in later life could help to stave off cognitive decline.

Researchers found that older adults who had diets similar to the Mediterranean diet or the Mediterranean-DASH diet Intervention for Neurodegeneration Delay (MIND) - which is a diet that incorporates features of the Mediterranean diet - scored significantly better on cognitive tests than those who followed less healthful diets.

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Trigeminal nerve stimulation shows promise for management of traumatic brain injury


                                                                  
  
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August 1, 2017

Researchers at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and the department of neurosurgery at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, announced today that they have published a paper with research findings that could have implications for the treatment of many neurological conditions, including severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). The team of researchers found that in an animal model with TBI, trigeminal nerve stimulation (TNS) resulted in increased cerebral blood flow (CBF) and oxygen to the brain. These latest findings were published in Scientific Reports.
The research paper titled, "Neuroprotective Effects of Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation in Severe Traumatic Brain Injury," was co-authored by Northwell Health's Amrit Chiluwal, MD, Raj K. Narayan, MD, Wayne Chaung, PhD, Neal Mehan, MD, Ping Wang, MD, Chad E. Bouton, and Chunyan Li, PhD. The paper was also co-authored by Eugene V. Golanov, MD, PhD, from the department of neurosurgery at the Houston Methodist Research Institute in Houston, TX.

"Following TBI, ischemia and hypoxia play a major role in further worsening of the damage, a process known as secondary injury," said Dr. Li, assistant professor of the Center for Bioelectronic Medicine at the Feinstein Institute. "Preventing secondary injury is vitally important in the overall management of TBI. In the animal model, we investigated the use of electrical TNS for improving CBF and delivering more oxygen to the brain, with the goal of decreasing secondary injury. We found that TBI rat models with TNS treatment demonstrated significantly increased systemic blood pressure, CBF, oxygen, as well as significantly reduced brain edema, blood-brain barrier disruption and lesion volume."
Dr. Narayan, Northwell Health's senior vice president and executive director, neurosurgery services added, "No pharmacological agents have currently been shown to improve clinical outcomes for TBI. 

Therefore, there is an urgent need for developing novel therapeutic strategies to maximize recovery.

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Multiple sclerosis: Resistance training may reduce brain atrophy


                                                                  
  
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Research has shown that the mobility of patients with multiple sclerosis may be improved with exercise, but the benefits of physical activity may not end there. A new study suggests that resistance training could help to slow the progression of multiple sclerosis.
a woman lifting weights
Research suggests that resistance training could help to slow the progression of multiple sclerosis

Researchers found that engaging in resistance training twice per week for 6 months was associated with reduced brain atrophy - that is, the loss of brain tissue - in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), the most common form of multiple sclerosis (MS).


For some patients, resistance training was even associated with an increase in the volume of certain brain regions.
Study co-author Prof. Ulrik Dalgas, of the Department of Public Health at Aarhus University in Denmark, and colleagues say that their study is the first to suggest that physical activity can protect the nervous system against MS, rather than simply help to alleviate symptoms of the disease.
The researchers recently reported their findings in Multiple Sclerosis Journal.
MS is a disease in which the immune system mistakingly attacks the protective coating of nerve fibers, called myelin, in the central nervous system.

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UCSF Neurologist Played Key Role in MS Research Turning to B-Cells, Essential Step to Ocrevus


                                                                  
  
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Dr. Stephen Hauser, chair of the neurology department at the University of California San Francisco, was instrumental in the early research and later clinical trials that ultimately led to Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), the first therapy approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for both relapsing MS (RMS) and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) patients.
Indeed, his work is testament to how scientific inquiry and determination might turn observations made in the lab into medicines for those in need.

Ocrevus is an antibody that targets CD20-positive B-cells, a type of cells from the immune system that are believed to contribute to myelin degeneration and neuronal damage, the hallmarks of MS. As such, and because of the efficacy and overall safety demonstrated in those clinical studies, Ocrevus holds considerable promise as an MS treatment — and one that might help at least some people with progressive disease.

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Salt's Effect on Human Health


                                                                  
  
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The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) convened a working group of multidisciplinary researchers on May 29, 2014, in Bethesda, MD, to share current knowledge regarding the effects of dietary salt on the human body and to explore and identify scientific gaps and challenges.

This working group is responsive to NHLBI Strategic Plan Goals 1, 2, and 3 (2007).

Background:

Humans have had a long and complicated relationship with salt. While highly valued in many societies, dietary salt has long been associated with high blood pressure, or hypertension, and, more recently, other diseases. One study found that about half of the subjects with high blood pressure had salt-sensitive hypertension, a condition more prevalent among African Americans, older persons, and individuals with renal insufficiency or diabetes. In general, for those with salt-sensitive hypertension, excess sodium intake is associated with high blood pressure, while a low-salt diet decreases blood pressure. In spite of this well-known association, the basic biological mechanisms underlying the effects of salt on blood pressure regulation are still not well understood. In addition, although individuals with high blood pressure are at increased risk for coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, and renal disease, it is unclear whether a high dietary salt intake directly leads to cardiovascular diseases—i.e., in the absence of hypertension.

Our understanding of the effect of salt on health grew even more complex with a recent finding. Researchers reported a new connection between salt and autoimmunity: a high-salt diet was shown to accelerate autoimmune activity in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis(link is external). Interestingly, recent research has also revealed a connection between hypertension and the immune system: basic science experiments demonstrated that the immune system contributes to hypertension, and clinical observations indicate an increased incidence of hypertension in patients with certain autoimmune conditions, such as psoriasis. As is the case with hypertension, salt, and cardiovascular disease, scientists have not yet worked out the causal relationships between salt, immunity, and hypertension (e.g., how salt may mediate interactions between the immune system, vasculature, brain, and kidney to control blood pressure).

Working Group Discussion:

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