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Saturday, May 10, 2008

This is what you need to know of Multiple Sclerosis

Information obtained from The National MS Society's
website on MS the Disease
  • What is multiple sclerosis?
  • Who gets MS?
  • How many people have multiple sclerosis?
  • What are the typical symptoms of MS?
  • What causes these symptoms?
  • Is MS fatal?
  • Does MS always cause paralysis?
  • Is MS contagious?
  • Can MS be cured?
  • What medications and treatments are available for MS?
  • Why is MS so difficult to diagnose?
  • What are the different types of MS?

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving use closer to a world free of MS.

Who gets MS?

Most people living with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with more than twice as many women as men being diagnosed with the disease. There are an estimated 8-10,000 children under the age of 18 who also live with MS. Studies indicate that genetic factors could make certain individuals more susceptible to the disease, but there is no evidence that MS is directly inherited. It occurs more commonly among Caucasians, especially those of northern European ancestry, but people of African, Asian, and Hispanic backgrounds are not immune.

How many people have multiple sclerosis?

MS affects more than 400,000 people in the United States and 2.5 million worldwide. Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed.

What are the typical symptoms of MS?

The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted. The disease varies greatly from person to person, and from time to time, in the same person. For instance, one person might experience abnormal fatigue, another might have severe vision problems, and another could develop attention and memory issues. Even severe symptoms could disappear completely and the person could regain lost functions. In the worst cases, however, people can have partial or complete paralysis.

What causes these symptoms?

In MS, symptoms result when inflammation and breakdown occur in myelin, the protective insulation surrounding the nerve fibers of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). The nerve fibers themselves are also damaged. Myelin is destroyed and replaced by scars of hardened "sclerotic" patches of tissue. Such lesions are called "plaques," and appear in "multiple" places within the central nervous system. This can be compared to a loss of insulating material around an electrical wire, which interferes with the transmission of signals.

Is MS fatal?

No, MS is not a fatal disease, except in rare cases. People who live with MS can be expected to have a normal or near-normal life expectancy.

Does MS always cause paralysis?

No. The majority of people living with MS do not become severely disabled. Two-thirds of people who have MS remain able to walk, though many will need an aid, such as a cane or crutches.

Is MS contagious?

No. MS is neither contagious nor directly inherited, although studies indicate that genetic factors might make certain individuals more susceptible to the disease.

Can MS be cured?

Not yet. However, advances in treating and understanding MS are being achieved daily and the progress in research to find a cure is very encouraging. In addition, many therapeutic and technological advances are helping people manage symptoms and lead more productive lives. Several FDA-approved medications are now available and have been shown to impact the underlying course of MS.

What medications and treatments are available for MS?

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society recommends that people living with MS begin treatment with one of the disease modifying drugs, Avonex®, Betaseron®, Copaxone®, or Rebif® as soon as you are diagnosed with a relapsing form (the most common kind) of MS. Those drugs help to lessen the frequency and severity of MS attacks, reduce the accumulation of lesions in the brain, and slow progression of disability.

Novantrone® (mitoxantrone) is approved for reducing disability and/or frequency of relapses in patients with worsening relapsing MS. This is the first therapy approved in the United States for individuals with secondary progressive MS or who are experiencing a rapid worsening of the disease. In addition, approved by the FDA for return to market, is Tysabri®, which is generally recommended for patients who have had inadequate response to, or are unable to tolerate, other approved disease-modifying MS therapies for relapsing forms of MS.

Many therapies are available to treat symptoms such as spasticity, pain, bladder problems, fatigue, and weakness. People should consult with a knowledgeable physician to develop the most comprehensive approach to managing their MS.

Why is MS so difficult to diagnose?

In early MS, elusive symptoms that come and go might indicate any number of possible disorders. Some people have symptoms that are very difficult for physicians to interpret, and these people must "wait and see." While no single laboratory test is yet available to prove or rule out MS, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a great help in reaching a definitive diagnosis.

What are the different types of MS?

In an effort to develop a common language when discussing, evaluating, and treating MS, the Society conducted an international survey among scientists who specialize in MS research and patient care. Analysis of the responses has resulted in the following four definitions of disease categories, which were introduced in 1996:

  • Relapsing-Remitting
    Characteristics: People with this type of disease experience clearly defined flare-ups (relapses) or episodes of acute worsening of neurologic function. These are followed by partial or complete recovery periods (remissions) between attacks that are free of disease progression. Frequency: Most common form of MS at time of initial diagnosis. Approximately 85% at onset.
  • Primary-Progressive
    Characteristics: People with this type of MS experience a nearly continuous worsening of their disease from the onset, with no distinct relapses or remissions. However, there are variations in rate of progression over time, occasional plateaus, and temporary minor improvements. Frequency: Relatively rare. Approximately 10% at onset.
  • Secondary-Progressive
    Characteristics: People with this type of MS experience an initial period of relapsing-remitting disease (see above) followed by a steady worsening disease course with or without occasional flare-ups, minor remissions (recoveries) or plateaus. Frequency: If left untreated, 50% of people with relapsing-remitting MS develop this form of the disease within 10 years of initial diagnosis.
  • Progressive-Relapsing
    Characteristics: People with this type of MS experience a steady worsening disease from the onset but also have clear acute flare-ups (relapses), with or without recovery. In contrast to relapsing-remitting MS, the periods between relapses are characterized by continuing disease progression. Frequency: Relatively rare. Approximately 5% at onset.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Good News: Adult Stem Cells Offer Relief from Multiple Sclerosis


Good News: Adult Stem Cells Offer Relief from Multiple Sclerosis

A surprise breakthrough in adult stem-cell research means some people with multiple sclerosis are finding relief.

Researchers at the University of Ottawa simply were trying to boost the immune systems of MS patients with bone marrow stem-cell transplants. What they ended up with was a remarkable remission of the disease. Not one patient has had a relapse in nearly seven years.

“I think this is just another brick on the pile of adult stem-cell (successes) and their ability to effectively treat disease in human patients," said Dr. David Prentice, senior fellow for life sciences at the Family Research Council. “It’s about time, frankly, that people woke up to the fact that adult stem cells are the ones that hold real promise to treat patients.”


Children With MS

Obtained from The MS Centers of Florida Foundation

Children With MS
Although rare, multiple sclerosis is occasionally found in adolescents. The introduction of MRI has allowed easier identification of the disease earlier in life. MS usually affects young adults, but has been shown to begin during childhood in 3% to 5% of all cases. The onset of MS before the age of 10 is exceptional. It is interesting to note, however, the Division of Neurology at the Toronto Children’s Hospital in Canada, diagnosed a 10 month old with MS. To date, this is the youngest case on record. Children with MS experience exacerbations with symptoms similar to adults, ranging from optic neuritis, to bladder and bowel dysfunction, vertigo, or limb weakness.

When a child has MS, treatment challenges are different. The parent, not the child, decides which drug, if any, will be taken.

Recreational and school activities can be impacted by physical limitations. This may lead to difficulty making friends, depression or low self-esteem. Some children have frequent absences from school due to MS relapses or extreme fatigue. This may lead to problems with grades, mainly caused by cognitive (the process of being aware, knowing, thinking, learning and judging) issues related to MS.

Drugs currently available to adults have not been thoroughly investigated for the treatment of MS in children and adolescents.

The overall outcome of MS in children is apparently no worse than in adults and the disease may even be less aggressive in children.

The potential to treat MS has significantly changed the prognosis. Early diagnosis is important, since early treatment can prevent or delay the development of disability.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Multiple Sclerosis affects men and women differently

( Duh,,,,,, - I keep saying that Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus)


Updated: May 7, 2008 10:51 AM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A new study done in Buffalo is revealing the differences in the way Multiple Sclerosis affects men and women.

The Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center is part of the Jacobs Neurological Institute. Located at Buffalo General Hospital, the center has become an international leader in computerized analysis of brain scans.

Most recently, in a study of more than eight hundred MS patients, they've discovered a difference in the way the disease affects the brains of men and women.

» Read More


The National MS Society’s summer issue on Momentum Magazine

Momentum Issue on Technology
The summer 2008 issue of Momentum, the National MS Society’s magazine, was released this month and contains an extensive feature on technology and MS. Check out the latest issue, which mentions the MS Technology Collaborative and provides an exciting look at how technology can help you and your MS.


Doctor: Experiment That Went Wrong Leads to Multiple Sclerosis Breakthrough

Fox News

Wednesday May 7, 2008

An experiment to boost the immune systems of multiple sclerosis sufferers failed, but may provide a new way to treat the disease, a Canadian researcher has claimed.

Dr. Mark Freedman of the University of Ottawa told a stem cell seminar at the U.S. National Institutes of Health that patients who received bone marrow stem cell transplants — similar to those given to leukemia patients — have enjoyed a mysterious remission of the disease, according to the French news agency AFP.

But Freedman is not sure why.

MS is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system, which is composed of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Symptoms may include numbness in the limbs. At its worst, MS can result in paralysis or loss of vision, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Freedman set up an experiment in which doctors destroyed the bone marrow and immune systems of MS patients, AFP writes.

Then blood-forming stem cells taken from the bone marrow, called hematopoietic cells, were transplanted back into the patients.

"We weren't looking for improvement,'' Freedman said. "The actual study was to reboot the immune system.''

Instead, the disease itself went into remission. According to the report, Freedman said that after seven years none of the 17 patients has had a relapse.

Click here to read more on this story from AFP

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bone marrow treatments restore nerves (in MS) , expert says

Tue May 6, 2008 2:39pm EDT

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

BETHESDA, Maryland (Reuters) - An experiment that went wrong may provide a new way to treat multiple sclerosis, a Canadian researcher said on Tuesday.

Patients who got bone marrow stem-cell transplants -- similar to those given to leukemia patients -- have enjoyed a mysterious remission of their disease.

And Dr. Mark Freedman of the University of Ottawa is not sure why.

"Not a single patient, and it's almost seven years, has ever had a relapse," Freedman said.

Multiple sclerosis or MS affects an estimated 1 million people globally. There is no cure.

It can cause mild illness in some people while causing permanent disability in others. Symptoms may include numbness or weakness in one or more limbs, partial or complete loss of vision, and an unsteady gait.

» Read More


Comic actress faces multiple sclerosis and other health-related setbacks with wit and humor

Teri Garr - Still Wheelin' and Dealin'

Posted on May 7, 2008

By Evan Henerson - Los Angeles Daily Times

Teri Garr has been a frequent speaker for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society since going public with the disease in 2002.

Teri Garr has a great title for a memoir or a solo performance, but her health won't cooperate enough for her to use it.

Teri Garr has been a frequent speaker for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society since going public with the disease in 2002.

That's a good thing. The comic actress would prefer nobody have to answer the question ``Does This Wheelchair Make Me Look Fat?''

So if there's ever a sequel to her 2005 memoir, Speed Bumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood, Garr figures to go with One Foot in the Grave and the Other on a Banana Peel.

''I'm thinking of putting things together, maybe a one-woman show,'' says Garr. ``I'll see. God knows, I've got stories to tell.''

Rehabilitation from a brain aneurysm Garr suffered in December 2006 has progressed, and the actress, 61, is back on her feet, joking that the best place to store her wheelchair is at the bottom of the swimming pool ``because I don't need it.''

Doctors performed a coil embolization, requiring a hole to be drilled in the side of the actress' head. She spent the months following the procedure relearning speech and movement.

''Tenacity,'' she says. ``You keep going.''

She still has, as she puts it, ''a touch of MS (multiple sclerosis),'' but Garr faces the disease -- and other health-related setbacks -- with the same wit, humor and off-the-cuff ribaldry.

'The other day, a guy came to fix my computer, and I told him, `I've got good news and bad news,' '' recounts Garr. ``The bad news is I've got to sell my house because I can't work. The good news is I'm walking.'

'He said, `I think the good news is much better than the bad news,' '' she continues. ``I have to look at it that way.''

The remark and the attitude are vintage Garr, according to officials with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Since going public with the disease in 2002, Garr has been a frequent speaker for the group and has chaired its Women Against MS education and fundraising arm.

''She is quite an extraordinary woman,'' says Arney Rosenblat, associate vice president of public affairs. ``There's a tremendous amount of warmth and a lack of pretension about her. People feel that their disease is important because she's there to talk about it.''

Happy to oblige, returns Garr, if it means ``wiping this thing off the face of the Goddamned Earth.''

''It's a bad, scum-sucking pig of a disease,'' adds Garr, who has felt the effects of MS since the mid-1980s. ``Sometimes I call it MASS.''

Over a career that has spanned five decades and included roles in more than 140 films and TV or variety show episodes, Garr has worked for Steven Spielberg (Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Mel Brooks (Young Frankenstein), Carl Reiner (Oh, God!) and Francis Ford Coppola (One From the Heart and The Conversation).

She is an Oscar nominee (for playing a desperate actress in Tootsie) and has hosted Saturday Night Live three times.

She'll be seen in the upcoming films Kabluey with Lisa Kudrow (whose mother she played on Friends) and in the dark comedy Expired, in which she'll be the mother to Samantha Morton's meter maid. Garr's character, somewhat ironically, uses a wheelchair.

''It's a good part,'' says Garr, ``and in (Kabluey) I just act crazy. So I'm not dead yet, contrary to popular belief.''

For those with Multiple Sclerosis, Parasthesia Can Affect Quality of Life

Click here to read the story which was published on older blog of MS Archives.


By the way, in the coming days, you will see a new look to my Primary website. My brother has been actively working on this for the last several days and we hope to have it ready soon.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Multiple Sclerosis Activity May Be Affected By Prozac

Medical News Today
Article Date: 03 May 2008 - 0:00 PDT

A new study published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry finds that Prozac, a commonly prescribed antidepressant, may be an agent in slowing down the disease process of the relapsing remitting form of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the central nervous system. In the relapsing remitting form, new symptoms occur in discrete attacks.

A team of researchers led by J P Mostert (Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands) conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, exploratory analysis of 40 patients with the relapsing remitting form of MS. For a period of 24 weeks, half of the sample was treated with 20 mg daily of fluoxetine (Prozac) while the other half received a placebo. To measure the activity of MS, detailed magnetic resonance images (MRI) of the participants' brains were completed every four weeks. The researchers focused on areas of neurological inflammation that would indicate active disease.

» Read More