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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, for your personal knowledge and to keep you informed of current health-related issues. It is not a substitute for the advice of your physician. Should you or your family members have any specific medical problem, seek medical care promptly.


Monday, October 26, 2020

Learn of VUMERITY® (diroximel fumarate)

What is VUMERITY® (diroximel fumarate)?

  • VUMERITY is a prescription medicine used to treat people with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease in adults

Learn more by visiting: https://www.vumerity.com/ 

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Sunday, October 25, 2020

Why an MRI Is Used to Diagnose Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the protective covering (myelin) surrounding the nerves of the central nervous system (CNS). There’s no single definitive test that can diagnose MS. Diagnosis is based on symptoms, clinical evaluation, and a series of diagnostic tests to rule out other conditions.

A type of imaging test called an MRI scan is an important tool in diagnosing MS. (MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging.)

MRI can reveal telltale areas of damage called lesions, or plaques, on the brain or spinal cord. It also be used to monitor disease activity and progression.

If you have symptoms of MS, your doctor may order an MRI scan of your brain and spinal cord. The images produced allow doctors to see lesions in your CNS. Lesions show up as white or dark spots, depending on the type of damage and the type of scan.

MRI is noninvasive (meaning nothing is inserted into a person’s body) and doesn’t involve radiation. It uses a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to transmit information to a computer, which then translates the information into cross-sectional pictures.

Contrast dye, a substance that’s injected into your vein, can be used to make some types of lesions show up more clearly on an MRI scan.

Although the procedure is painless, the MRI machine makes a lot of noise, and you must lie very still for the images to be clear. The test takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

It’s important to note that the number of lesions shown on an MRI scan doesn’t always correspond to the severity of symptoms, or even whether you have MS. This is because not all lesions in the CNS are due to MS, and not all people with MS have visible lesions.

MRI with contrast dye can indicate MS disease activity by showing a pattern consistent with inflammation of active demyelinating lesions. These types of lesions are new or getting bigger due to demyelination (damage to the myelin that covers certain nerves).

The contrast images also show areas of permanent damage, which can appear as dark holes in the brain or spinal cord.

Following an MS diagnosis, some doctors will repeat an MRI scan if troubling new symptoms appear or after the person begins a new treatment. Analyzing the visible changes in the brain and spinal cord may help assess current treatment and future options.

Your doctor may also recommend additional MRI scans of the brain, the spine, or both at certain intervals to monitor disease activity and progression. The frequency with which you need repeat monitoring depends on the type of MS you have and on your treatment.


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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Is It Safe to Get a Flu Shot While Taking MS Drugs?

For most people with MS, getting a flu shot is a smart decision.Everyday Health

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, getting vaccinated against the flu has arguably never been more important — but is the shot safe for people undergoing treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS)?

In general, the answer to that question is “yes,” but there are some considerations for people with the condition, according to Amit Bar-Or, MD, chief of the multiple sclerosis division at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and president of the International Society for Neuroimmunology.

“There’s no reason to consider the flu shot as riskier for people with MS,” he says. “Just having MS does not increase risk for adverse outcomes with the vaccine.”

In fact, in guidelines published in September 2019 in the journal Neurology, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) recommends that people with MS get vaccinated against the flu annually, unless there’s a specific reason they can’t get it, such as an allergy to the vaccine. However, certain types of flu vaccine — there are more than a dozen formulated each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — aren’t recommended for people on specific MS treatments, according to the National MS Society. This is because the vaccines may not be as effective at preventing the flu in people taking these drugs, the society says.

Still, because there are many different flu vaccines available, you can find one that offers protection against the seasonal virus, Dr. Bar-Or notes.

Here’s an overview of the types of flu vaccines and which ones may be impacted by your MS treatment.

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Friday, October 23, 2020

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) VIRTUAL LEARNING

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Visit the MS Views and News website to learn of the many Multiple Sclerosis, virtual learning events scheduled to benefit those affected by MS -   www.msvn.org



Updated Global COVID-19 advice for people with MS

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The information in this article comes from the MSIF in the UK


COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs, airways and other organs. It is caused by a novel coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) that has spread around the world.

The advice below was developed by MS neurologists and research experts from MSIF’s member organisations. It is based on the emerging evidence for how COVID-19 affects people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and expert opinion. This advice will be reviewed and updated as further evidence about COVID-19 becomes available.

Click here to download the full statement as a PDF, including the list of consulted individuals and organisations.

Advice for people with MS

Current evidence shows that simply having MS does not make you more likely to develop COVID-19 or to become severely ill or die from the infection than the general population. However, the following groups of people with MS are more susceptible to having a severe case of COVID-19:

  • People with progressive MS
  • People with MS over the age of 60
  • Men with MS
  • Black people with MS and possibly South Asian people with MS
  • People with higher levels of disability (for example, an EDSS score of 6 or above, which relates to needing to use a walking stick)
  • People with MS and obesity, diabetes or diseases of the heart or lungs
  • People taking certain disease modifying therapies for their MS (see below)

All people with MS are advised to follow World Health Organization guidelines for reducing the risk of infection with COVID-19. People in the higher risk groups should pay particular attention to these measures. We recommend to:

  • Practise social distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres* distance between yourself and others, to reduce your risk of infection when they cough, sneeze or speak. This is particularly important when indoors but applies to being outdoors as well.
  • Make wearing a mask a normal part of being around other people and ensure that you are using it correctly by following these instructions.
  • Avoid going to crowded places, especially indoors. Where this is not possible, ensure to wear a mask and practise social distancing.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub (70% alcohol content is considered most effective).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth unless your hands are clean.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces frequently especially those which are regularly touched.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about optimal care plans, through video consultations or in-person visits where needed. Visits to health clinics and hospitals should not be avoided if they are recommended based on your current health needs.
  • Stay active and try to take part in activities that will enhance your mental health and well-being. Physical exercise and social activities that can take place outside and with social distancing are encouraged.
  • Get the seasonal flu vaccination where it is available and encourage your family to do the same.

Caregivers and family members who live with, or regularly visit, a person with MS in one of the higher risk groups should also follow these recommendations to reduce the chance of bringing COVID-19 infection into the home.

* (National and international guidelines on physical distancing vary between at least 1 metre and 2 metres. People should consider their national guidance and be aware that these are minimum distances, longer being better.)

Advice regarding disease modifying therapies for MS

Many disease modifying therapies (DMTs) for MS work by suppressing or modifying the immune system. Some MS medications might increase the likelihood of developing complications from COVID-19 but this risk needs to be balanced with the risks of stopping or delaying treatment.

We recommend that people with MS currently taking DMTs continue with their treatment, unless advised to stop by their treating clinician.

People who develop symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for the infection should discuss their MS therapies with their MS care provider or another healthcare professional who is familiar with their care.

Before starting on any new DMT or changing an existing DMT, people with MS should discuss with their healthcare professional which therapy is the best choice for their individual circumstances. This decision should consider the following information:

  • MS disease course and activity
  • The risks and benefits normally associated with different treatment options
  • Additional risks related to COVID-19, such as:
    • The presence of other factors for a more severe case of COVID-19, such as older age, obesity, pre-existing lung or cardiovascular disease, progressive MS, higher risk race/ethnicity etc, as listed above
    • The current and anticipated future COVID-19 risk in the local area
    • Risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to lifestyle, for example whether they are able to self-isolate or are working in a high-risk environment
    • Emerging evidence on the potential interaction between some treatments and COVID-19 severity

Evidence on the impact of DMTs on COVID-19 severity


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

MS Mantra: 7 Influencers Share What Keeps Them Strong

This is a HEALTHLINE article Written by the Healthline Wellness Team

“I often get asked how I remain so positive. To which I used to answer, with all sincerity: I just do!… But what about on those really bad days? The days where the light is dim and the positive light is dimmer. What then?” 

Those are the words of Eliz Martin, who writes about life with multiple sclerosis (MS) on her blog, The Sparkled Life. We recently asked Martin and a handful of other remarkable bloggers and advocates to share the words, thoughts, and even songs that help them remain optimistic in the face of MS. Even on those really bad days.

Here’s what they had to share:

Elizabeth Martin has been a multiple sclerosis sparkler for 6 years. She’s gone from wheelchair to cyclist and enjoys traveling with her trusty arm crutch. Follow along on her journey on Instagram or visit her blog.

What is your MS mantra?

Hope. Hope for relief. Hope for the courage to live this life fully. Hope for continued love and giving. Hope for the ability to walk for just a bit longer. Hope for uninterrupted peace. Hope for a cure. Hope. It’s such a small word and yet it encompasses everything I feel and need. I believe in this small word so profoundly and only can remain optimistic that it believes in me too.

What happens when times get tough? What activity makes you feel better?

After spending a year in the wheelchair, I decided to pursue extensive rehabilitation to relearn to walk. At the beginning of the journey I was tasked with identifying three goals I wanted to accomplish. “To ride a bicycle again” I wrote in large writing at the top of the page. I decided at that moment that multiple sclerosis might take some important things away from me, but this was not going to be one of them.

Three months later I was back on the bicycle. Even after a horrific fall that left more than just a scar, I countered defeat, adapted to the change, and now I gear up for long trail rides in my recumbent tricycle. I have become the cliché: When the going gets tough, the tough get going.


Justine Calcagno was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in 2016. On her Instagram account, she celebrates her love of long distance running. Among her other passions: spending time with her husband and kitties, and trying out new gluten-free recipes. Calcagno is a university professor in the Washington, D.C. area, but in her words: “I’ll always be an Oregonian!” Follow Justine on Instagram.

What is your MS mantra?

I really relate to this question. I do have a mantra, which is, “You’re OK. You’ve been through worse.” I lost my brother when I was 17 years old when he died in an accident. We were very close. I’ve never felt so much pain in my life. When I was diagnosed with MS, I thought a lot about my brother. What would he want me to do? I know he’d want me to fight. When things get challenging with MS, I think about him, about how I’m still here, and about how the pain and frustration of MS doesn’t compare to losing my brother. So by reminding myself that I’ve been through worse, I know I can get through anything with MS. I still have a life to live well.

What happens when times get tough? What activity makes you feel better?

MS is such a fluid experience. Some weeks I feel fine, and other weeks are filled with pain. You really can’t predict its course from day to day. So, like MS, the activities that make me feel better vary, as well.

My first choice is to run far on a gorgeous trail. If I can’t run, I practice yoga. If I can’t practice yoga, I stretch gently. If I can’t stretch, I lay and meditate. If I can’t meditate, I breath. Coping — and thriving — with MS requires adaptability and flexibility. You have to keep an open mind and heart, and when times get tough, I do activities that fit with my needs and limitations at that moment.

CLICK here to be redirected to the HEALTHLINE Article so you can finish reading this article and the remaining 5 people

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

AbbVie gets orphan drug and fast track status for Elezanumab - for Myelin repair

29 September 2020 (Last Updated September 29th, 2020 12:36)

AbbVie has received orphan drug and fast track designations from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for elezanumab (ABT-555) to potentially treat spinal cord injury (SCI).

AbbVie has received orphan drug and fast track designations from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for elezanumab (ABT-555) to treat spinal cord injury (SCI).

Elezanumab is a monoclonal antibody of the human immunoglobulin (Ig) G1 isotype, which attaches to repulsive guidance molecule A (RGMa).

RGMa inhibits axonal outgrowth and is significant in hindering neuronal regeneration and functional recovery after damage to the central nervous system (CNS).

The FDA offers orphan drug designation to a therapeutic meant for the treatment, diagnosis or prevention of a rare disease or condition.

Meanwhile, fast track designation expedites the review of drugs for serious disorders or conditions with an unmet medical need.

AbbVie Neuroscience Development vice-president Michael Gold said: “The FDA’s orphan drug and fast track designation for spinal cord injury patients signals an important step forward in AbbVie’s ongoing commitment to investigating innovative scientific approaches with the hope of bringing new treatment options to patients.”

Studies of elezanumab to treat spinal cord injuries, as well as multiple sclerosis and acute ischemic stroke, are under progress. The drug candidate is undergoing a Phase II clinical trial for SCI.

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The randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II trial analyses the safety and efficacy of elezanumab in acute traumatic cervical SCI. Its primary outcome is the upper extremity motor score (UEMS) at week 52.

Article source: https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/news/abbvie-orphan-drug-elezanumab/

Multiple-dose Study of Elezanumab (ABT-555) in Patients with Relapsing Forms of Multiple Sclerosis (S56.001)


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Multiple Sclerosis: A Personal Journey, describing how for many, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) seems to strike without warning

Article written by Deborah Easton, BDO (BlackDoctor.org) Contributing Writer

On February 16, 2015, Jamal was a 37-year-old black man who was thoroughly enjoying his life. As a part of his job, he tested new Nike products. Jamal loved long distance bicycling trips, running, basketball, football and hiking. He looked and felt in the best of health as he and his long-term girlfriend decided to finally set an official wedding date. Having babies was next on their short-term agenda.

On February17, 2015, like every other morning, Jamal woke up to the song he’d selected

for his phone’s alarm. That was the last thing he remembered before discovering he could not walk. He described his leg as feeling like a thousand-pound weight attached to his body. Following a battery of tests, four days later, Jamal was finally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. A MRI showed a multitude of lesions on his brain and spine. Jamal had obviously had MS a very long time without experiencing any symptoms at all!

In later days, during an in-depth conversation with his neurologist, Jamal remembered about with what was thought to be eye problems fifteen years earlier.

After suffering with double vision for a few days, he’d gone to a doctor but only been referred to an ophthalmologist instead. He remembered some back aches and pains but nothing he thought excruciating enough to warrant medical attention.

Most people with MS experience their first symptoms between the ages of 15 and 50.
According to Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, as of 2019, there are currently about one million people living with MS in the United States.

More women are diagnosed with MS than men. African Americans who develop MS have a later-age onset of the disease than Caucasians and are more likely to develop mobility problems.
Multiple sclerosis in African Americans progresses much faster than in Caucasian patients, new research reports.

Studies indicate MS in African-American men is a predictor for more severe forms of MS.

Article appears in greater length, here

Multiple Sclerosis: What It Is & What It Is Not

When people think of a face associated with MS, often times it is associated with a Caucasian person. Although the majority of MS cases being reported are in that population, there are many other faces of MS, including those of African American men and women.

BlackDoctor.org hosted a Facebook chat with the Professor & Chair Head of the Department of Neurology, Annapurni Jayam Trouth, MD.

Depression in Multiple Sclerosis: What We Know, What We Need To Learn, and What We Can Do Today

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                                                      stock Combo images from Google

Article is from The National MS Society website

People living with MS want to know how to manage mood changes – particularly depression – and develop strategies to achieve emotional wellness. They want to know what they can do to feel and function at their best and they want the support of knowledgeable healthcare professionals to help them achieve their goals.

 To better address these needs, the National MS Society brought together people with MS, healthcare professionals, researchers and Society staff to discuss key issues related to depression in MS, highlight the work that needs to be done in the areas of screening, diagnosis, treatment and suicide prevention, and develop a prioritized list of research recommendations. 

In addition, the group made specific recommendations regarding the information, programs and services individuals and families need in order to recognize and manage depression, and outlined next steps to move this important priority forward.

To read this article, please click here