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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tips for Dealing with Swallowing Problems in People with Multiple Sclerosis

These Tips, Might Help with Dysphagia
By Julie Stachowiak, Ph.D.,

It is estimated that 30 to 40 percent of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) have difficulties swallowing. Also known as dysphagia, problems with swallowing can pose choking dangers or lead to aspiration pneumonia (where food or liquid goes into the lungs and causes infection). On the other hand, these problems can be so subtle that many people don’t even notice them, except when they occasionally gag on a bite of food or have a coughing fit when trying to swallow a pill. Regardless of how severe your dysphagia might be, it is important that those of us with MS who may have swallowing problems review our habits around eating and see if we can create new (and safer) habits.

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Helping Patients to Walk Again


Foot Drop System

Neuroprosthetic and Rehabilitation System

To Learn More, Click HERE

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Map IDs The Core Of The Human Brain

ScienceDaily (July 1, 2008) — An international team of researchers has created the first complete high-resolution map of how millions of neural fibers in the human cerebral cortex -- the outer layer of the brain responsible for higher level thinking -- connect and communicate. Their groundbreaking work identified a single network core, or hub, that may be key to the workings of both hemispheres of the brain.

The work by the researchers from Indiana University, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, and Harvard Medical School marks a major step in understanding the most complicated and mysterious organ in the human body. It not only provides a comprehensive map of brain connections (the brain "connectome"), but also describes a novel application of a non-invasive technique that can be used by other scientists to continue mapping the trillions of neural connections in the brain at even greater resolution, which is becoming a new field of science termed "connectomics."

"This is one of the first steps necessary for building large-scale computational models of the human brain to help us understand processes that are difficult to observe, such as disease states and recovery processes to injuries," said Olaf Sporns, co-author of the study and neuroscientist at Indiana University.

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The first complete high-resolution map of the human cerebral cortex identifies a single network core that could be key to the workings of both hemispheres of the brain. (Credit: Indiana University)


For Multiple Sclerosis Sufferers, Best Treatment May Depend On Disease Subtype

ScienceDaily (July 1, 2008) — Animal studies by University of Michigan scientists suggest that people who experience the same clinical signs of multiple sclerosis (MS) may have different forms of the disease that require different kinds of treatment.

The results, if borne out in further studies, point to a time when doctors will be able to target specific inflammatory processes in the body and more effectively help MS patients, using available drugs and new ones in the pipeline.

Since the 1990s, the treatment picture has brightened for people with multiple sclerosis in its most common form, relapsing-remitting MS. Beta interferon drugs and glatiramer acetate (marketed as Copaxone) have proved effective at decreasing the attack rate and suppressing inflammatory plaque development in many patients with MS. Yet why the drugs help some patients, but not others, has remained a mystery.

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Caffeine each day, might keep the MS away...

Coffee could help beat MS: study
Yahoo News - July 1, 2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A strong cup of coffee may do more than just wake you up in the mornings. It could also help you stave off multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new study.

Scientists in Oklahoma found that mice which had been immunized to develop an MS-like condition appeared to be protected from the disease by drinking the equivalent of six to eight cups of coffee a day.

"This is an exciting and unexpected finding, and I think it could be important for the study of MS and other diseases," said Linda Thompson, from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation who worked in collaboration with Cornell University and Finland's University of Turku.

Caffeine prevented adenosine, one of the four building blocks in DNA, from mixing with its receptor in mice.

Adenosine is common molecule in humans and plays a large role in helping to control the biochemical processes for sleep and suppressing arousal.

When the molecule is blocked from binding with its receptor, the body's infection-fighting white cells cannot reach the central nervous system and trigger the reactions which lead to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, or EAE, the animal form of MS.

The findings could have important implications for other auto-immune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, in which the body's own defense systems turn against itself.

But Thompson, co-author of the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, warned there was a lot more work to be done in fighting multiple sclerosis, a debilitating and progressive disease in humans.

"A mouse is not a human being, so we can't be sure caffeine will have the same effect on people prone to develop MS without much more testing," she said.

Further retrospective studies to track the caffeine intake of patients with MS and its effects might be the next major step.

"If you found a correlation between caffeine intake and reduced MS symptoms, that would point to further studies in humans," Thompson said.

Some 2.5 million people worldwide are thought to suffer from MS, a disorder of the central nervous system which leads to loss of muscle coordination.

Monday, June 30, 2008

In Their Natural Environment, Adult Stem Cells Reprogrammed - Could eventually benefit those with Multiple Sclerosis-

ScienceDaily (June 30, 2008) — In recent years, stem cell researchers have become very adept at manipulating the fate of adult stem cells cultured in the lab. Now, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies achieved the same feat with adult neural stem cells still in place in the brain. They successfully coaxed mouse brain stem cells bound to join the neuronal network to differentiate into support cells instead.

The discovery, which is published ahead of print on Nature Neuroscience's website, not only attests to the versatility of neural stem cells but also opens up new directions for the treatment of neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, stroke and epilepsy that not only affect neuronal cells but also disrupt the functioning of glial support cells.

"We have known that the birth and death of adult stem cells in the brain could be influenced be experience, but we were surprised that a single gene could change the fate of stem cells in the brain," says the study's lead author, Fred H. Gage, Ph.D., a professor in the Laboratory for Genetics and the Vi and John Adler Chair for Research on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Throughout life, adult neural stem cells generate new brain cells in two small areas of mammalian brains: the olfactory bulb, which processes odors, and the dentate gyrus, the central part of the hippocampus, which is involved in the formation of memories and learning.

After these stem cells divide, their progenitors have to choose between several options -- remaining a stem cell, turning into a nerve cell, also called a neuron, or becoming part of the brain's support network, which includes astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.

Astrocytes are star-shaped glia cells that hold neurons in place, nourish them, and digest parts of dead neurons. Oligodendrocytes are specialized cells that wrap tightly around axons, the long, hair-like extensions of nerve cell that carry messages from one neuron to the next. They form a fatty insulation layer, known as myelin, whose job it is to speed up electrical signals traveling along axons.

When pampered and cosseted in a petri dish, adult neural stem cells can be nudged to differentiate into any kind of brain cell but within their natural environment in the brain career options of neural stem cells are thought to be mostly limited to neurons.

"When we grow stem cells in the lab, we add lots of growth factors resulting in artificial conditions, which might not tell us a lot about the in vivo situation," explains first author Sebastian Jessberger, M.D., formerly a post-doctoral researcher in Gage's lab and now an assistant professor at the Institute of Cell Biology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. "As a result we don't know much about the actual plasticity of neural stem cells within their adult brain niche."

To test whether stem cells in their adult brain environment can still veer off the beaten path and change their fate, Jessberger used retroviruses to genetically manipulate neural stem cells and their progeny in the dentate gyrus of laboratory mice. Under normal conditions, the majority of newborn cells differentiated into neurons. When he introduced the Ascl1, which had previously been shown to be involved in the generation of oligodendrocytes and inhibitory neurons, he successfully redirected the fate of newborn cells from a neuronal to an oligodendrocytic lineage.

"It was quite surprising that stem cells in the adult brain maintain their fate plasticity and that a single gene was enough to reprogram these cells," says Jessberger. "We can now potentially tailor the fate of stem cells to treat certain conditions such as multiple sclerosis."

In patients with multiple sclerosis, the immune system attacks oligodendrocytes, which leads to the thinning of the myelin layer affecting the neurons' ability to efficiently conduct electrical signals. Being able to direct neural stem cells to differentiate into oligodendrocytes may alleviate the symptoms.

Researchers who also contributed to the study include postdoctoral researchers Nicolas Toni, Ph.D., Gregory D. Clemenson Jr, Ph.D., and Jasodhara Ray, Ph.D., all in the Laboratory of Genetics.

Adapted from materials provided by Salk Institute, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

TOP: Throughout life, adult neural stem cells generate new brain cells in the dentate gyrus, the central part of the hippocampus, which is involved in the formation of memories and learning (shown in white). BOTTOM: Overexpression of a single gene changed the fate of neural stem cells bound to join the neuronal network in the brain. Instead they differentiated into glial support cells (shown in green). (Credit: Courtesy of Dr. Sebastian Jessberger, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich)

Teva's: ATL/TV1102, to conduct more research on mid-stage MS drug

Teva to conduct more research on mid-stage MS drug
Associated Press - - 06.30.08, 8:50 AM ET

NEW YORK - Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd., the world's largest generic drug maker, said late Sunday its multiple sclerosis drug met goals of a mid-stage trial, and the company will conduct further research before advancing to Phase III trials.

The drug, ATL/TV1102, is being developed by Israel's Teva and Australia's Antisense Therapeutics. In a study of 77 patients in six European countries, the drug was shown to reduce the number of new brain lesions by 54.4 percent after eight weeks, compared with placebo.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

An MS patients' account on his High-Dose Cytoxan Study

An MS patients' account (written by his wife) on his High-Dose Cytoxan Study

Chris had written a comment to a previous story shown Hopkins reports success with MS treatment
on this blog, and so, I had to follow-up with him so that he can educate you on his progress with this
High-Dose Cytoxan study treatment

Chris no longer claims that he has ms. He now only says that he HAD MS!!

Chris: "I did HiCy. They nuked my immune system. I got the whole thing on my site under the HiCy section. I'm getting better everyday. I had MRI pics and everything showing the clinical proof. It was also covered by insurance. They are doing it at Rush in Chicago and at JH in Baltimore. I live in Denver and stayed there for 24 days or so."

To read more of Chris' story, view his website: