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Friday, April 16, 2010

Statins may delay multiple sclerosis

SAN FRANCISCO, April 16 (UPI) -- A cholesterol-lowering drug given to multiple sclerosis patients in the early stages of the disease slowed its progress, U.S. researchers said.

Principal investigator Dr. Scott S. Zamvil, an associate professor of neurology at University of California, San Francisco, said the 12-month study involved 81 participants and 55.3 percent of those who received the daily dose of atorvastatin, or Lipitor, did not develop new brain lesions -- compared with 27.6 percent of the placebo group.

The phase trial II, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled study led by Zamvil and Dr. Emmanuelle Waubant, also of the University of California, San Francisco, said the trial tested if the drug could be effective in delaying multiplesclerosis in those who have had a first attack.

"Our data is preliminary, and we need a larger study to confirm the effects of the drug and its magnitude," Waubant said in a statement. "It is important that we understand how statins impact the progression of multiple sclerosis in order to better inform physicians and patients of their effect."

The findings were presented at the annual American Academy of Neurology scientific meeting in Toronto.

Source: Health News



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PML update

Information provided by a Tysabri patient (Karen M) in Miami who has no fears


NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB) disclosed four more cases of a rare brain infection in multiple sclerosis patients on Tysabri, which it sells with Elan Corp. (ELN), bringing the total number of cases to 46 as of April 6.

The Cambridge, Mass., biotech company also reported two additional deaths in patients that have developed progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, bringing the total to 11.

Tysabri is considered a highly effective therapy for MS, and its growth is important to the future of both Elan and Biogen. But its sales have been slower than originally hoped amid concerns about the risk of PML that led to its 18- month market withdrawal beginning in 2005.

"The overall global rate generally falls within the 1-in-1,000 rate previously seen in clinical trials," Biogen spokeswoman Naomi Aoki said. That rate is what is implied on the drug's label.

Shares of Biogen recently traded down 1.2% to $54.33, while Elan's American depositary shares dropped 3.6% to $7.78. Biogen is scheduled to report first- quarter results Tuesday and Elan will do the same Wednesday.

Of the new cases, 17 were in the U.S., 26 were in the European Union and three were in other areas.

Biogen provides monthly updates on the number of PML cases, giving its last update in mid-March.

A patient's risk of getting PML increases with the number of monthly infusions that he or she receives, something that the Food and Drug Administration highlighted in a January safety update. The agency concluded that the benefits of the medicine continue to outweigh the risks.

The most recent update translates to about 1.33 cases per 1,000 patients on the drug for between two and three years. That figure has dropped for the past two months, coming in at 1.36 in mid-March and at 1.56 in mid-February.

The incidence is about 0.33 case per 1,000 patients in those using it for one to two years, and it is almost nonexistent in patients using less than a year.

The number of cases is important because if the infection rate climbs too high, sales of the drug may drop.

For patients on the drug for a year or longer, the rate is 1.1 cases per 1, 000, but rises to 1.53 per 1,000 for those on the drug for two years or longer.

Tysabri's withdrawal from the market occurred after three patients developed PML. The infection re-emerged in mid-2008, and Biogen provided regular updates about the cases until mid-2009. The company began providing monthly updates in mid-February.

-By Thomas Gryta, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2169;

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires   04-15-101604ET   Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.



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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Study doubts role for (EBV) virus in multiple sclerosis

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Although studies have found a link between infection with the Epstein-Barr virus and a heightened risk of multiple sclerosis, new findings cast doubt on the theory that the virus helps cause the disease.
In an analysis of spinal fluid and autopsied brain tissue from people with MS, researchers found little evidence of Epstein-Barr genetic material in the samples.
That absence, the researchers say, indicates that the virus is not directly involved in the MS disease process, as a number of other investigators propose.
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is believed to arise from an abnormal immune system attack on the body's own myelin, a protective sheath surrounding nerve fibers in the brain and spine. This leads to symptoms such as muscle weakness, numbness, vision problems and difficulty with coordination and balance.
Researchers have long suspected that a combination of genetics and an environmental trigger -- such as a virus -- may be to blame for inducing this abnormal immune assault. Studies have particularly focused on Epstein-Barr, an extremely common herpesvirus that causes mononucleosis in some people.
It's believed that nearly everyone -- up to 95 percent of people worldwide -- become infected with Epstein-Barr at some point. After infection, the virus can then take up residence in some of the body's B lymphocytes, a type of immune-system cell, where it dwells in a dormant state.


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New Data Suggest Oral Laquinimod May Confer Neuroprotection in Addition to Immunomodulation in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

Press Release Source: Active Biotech On Thursday April 15, 2010, 12:50 pm

LUND, SWEDEN--(Marketwire - 04/15/10) -

- Enhanced levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor, possibly contributing to neuroprotection, were shown in laquinimod treated multiple sclerosis (MS) patients

- Laquinimod significantly reduce demyelination and axonal damage as shown in animal models

- Two ongoing pivotal, global phase III clinical trials are fully enrolled and results are anticipated next year

Jerusalem, Israel and Lund, Sweden, April 15, 2010 - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Active Biotech (NASDAQ OMX NORDIC: ACTI) today announced results from several studies demonstrating that laquinimod, a novel, investigational once-daily oral immunomodulator for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) may have neuroprotective properties in addition to its anti-inflammatory effects. These studies were presented at the 62(nd) Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

New data from studies in RRMS patients demonstrate that treatment with laquinimod results in a significant increase in brain derived neurotrophic factor, a key protein responsible for the maintenance of mature neurons.

Additionally, data from new animal models show that following treatment with laquinimod there were significant reduction in the extent of demyelination, and more axonal preservation within spinal cord lesions. Furthermore, treatment with laquinimod inhibited the infiltration of inflammatory cells, into the spinal cord and brain as well as causing a positive shift in specific white blood cells involved in MS pathology.

These findings suggest laquinimod may have neuroprotective properties in addition to anti-inflammatory effects. Coupled with the Phase IIb study results, which demonstrated oral laquinimod to be effective and safe in RRMS patients, these data provide further insight into the contributing factors surrounding the favorable benefit-risk profile associated with this compound to date.

Continue Reading


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UPDATE 1-Genzyme sees MS drug topping efficacy league

* Company sees drug becoming most effective MS treatment

By Toni Clarke

BOSTON, April 14 (Reuters) - New data from a clinical trial of Genzyme Corp's (GENZ.O) experimental multiple sclerosis drug lends weight to the company's conviction it could, if approved, become the most effective drug on the market.

Three-year results from a mid-stage trial of the drug, Campath, were published in 2008.

Data presented on Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology showed that after four years, 71 percent of patients had no relapse or worsening of disability.

That compares with 35 percent for patients taking Rebif, a rival drug made by EMD Serono, an affiliate of Germany's Merck KGaA and Pfizer Inc

Genzyme, which faces a proxy battle from billionaire investor Carl Icahn, is struggling to emerge from a manufacturing crisis that lead to shortages of two of its key drugs for rare diseases.



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3D Movie Warnings omit those with Neurological Conditions

by Stuart ( as an opinion - not the part written by Stuart, rather my opinion of the 3D warning)

This early morning while watching the news, I listened to a story on the warning signs of watching 3D movies and 3D games. Listed were the symptoms that 3D can cause and they provided a list of 'persons' more susceptible to these warnings.

Omitted from the warning (shown below) are those with neurological conditions. I for one, weekly, suffer from many of the symptoms described below as this has nothing to do with watching anything in 3D except for real life.

Why are there no warnings for those neurologically impaired?

After reading what is found below, you may think aloud, and ask if you would consider 3D with many of the symptoms you may live- with. Why exacerbate these symptoms?

Please LEAVE COMMENTS at THIS BLOG posting (found below, click comments). If reading this on Facebook, where this story will feed, please try coming here (to this blog posting) to leave comments. Although I also know that many will just leave the comments on facebook...

Samsung Release 3D TV Health Information

4/14/2010 7:59 PM EST
There has been a new warning posted on the 3D site of Samsung Australia regarding 3D function available on 3D displays and Blu-ray players. The warning is aimed towards children, who are more susceptible to the side effects, as well as pregnant women, the elderly, persons suffering from serious medical conditions and sleep deprivation. It also states that people under the influence of alcohol are advised to avoid 3D altogether. Below is the full text from the site:


Children and teenagers may be more susceptible to health issues associated with viewing in 3D and should be closely supervised when viewing these images.

Photosensitive seizure warning and other health risks

Some viewers may experience an epileptic seizure or stroke when exposed to certain flashing images or lights contained in certain television pictures or video games. If you suffer from, or have a family history of epilepsy or strokes, please consult with a medical specialist before using the 3D function.

Even those without a personal or family history of epilepsy or stroke may have an undiagnosed condition that can cause photosensitive epileptic seizures.

Pregnant women, the elderly, sufferers of serious medical conditions, those who are sleep deprived or under the influence of alcohol should avoid utilising the unit's 3D functionality.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop viewing 3D pictures immediately and consult a medical specialist:

* Altered vision
* Lightheadedness
* Dizziness
* Involuntary movements such as eye or muscle twitching
* Confusion
* Nausea
* Convulsions
* Disorientation
* Cramps

Children and teenagers may be more likely than adults to experience these symptoms. Parents should monitor their children and ask whether they are experiencing these symptoms.

Viewing 3D television may also cause motion sickness, perceptual after effects, disorientation, eye strain and decreased postural stability. It is recommended that users take frequent breaks to lessen the potential of these effects. If your eyes show signs of fatigue or dryness or if you have any of the above symptoms, immediately discontinue use of this device and do not resume using it for at least thirty minutes after the symptoms have subsided.

This article continues here.



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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Avonex Abstracts

Pregnancy Outcomes from AVONEX (interferon beta-1a) Pregnancy Exposure Registry:

Utilization and Safety of Intramuscular Interferon Beta-1a in the Postmarketing Setting:

Efficacy and Safety of Weekly Intramuscular Interferon Beta-1a in Patients More Than 50 Years of Age:



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New Treatment Helps Control Involuntary Crying And Laughing Common In MS, ALS Patients

April 14, 2010

Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is a neurologic condition of involuntary, sudden and frequent episodes of laughing or crying and is quite common in patients with underlying neurologic diseases or injuries, especially those with multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Now, a new investigational treatment may help stop these involuntary outbursts. The research will be presented as part of the late-breaking science program at the American Academy of Neurology's 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, April 10 - 17, 2010.

"These outbursts of crying and laughter at inappropriate times can have a severe impact on patient and caregiver well-being, social functioning and quality of life," said study author Erik P. Pioro, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Director of the Section for ALS and Related Disorders at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study in patients diagnosed with PBA tested the effectiveness of a combination of two medications, dextromethorphan and low dose quinidine. The combination of the drugs is known as DMQ. After completing the blinded, placebo controlled phase of the study, participants could take part in a subsequent open label study where all of the participants would receive the DMQ drug combination for an additional 12 weeks. Of the 283 people completing the first phase, 253, or 89 percent, chose to take part in this subsequent open label study.

Continue to read from; Medical News Today

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Biogen Seeks Test for Brain Disease Linked to MS Drug

Biogen Seeks Test for Brain Disease Linked to MS Drug (Update2)

By Elizabeth Lopatto

April 9 (Bloomberg) -- Biogen Idec Inc. wants to take the fear out of prescribing its multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri with a test that can tell patients their odds of getting a deadly brain illness from the drug.

The screening tool could be marketed as early as 2011 if clinical trials involving 9,000 people, set to start this year, show a low rate of false findings, said Naomi Aoki , a spokeswoman for the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company. The test is designed to detect the JC virus that causes progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, a brain-cell destroyer that can lead to disability and death.

Tysabri, which generated $1.1 billion in sales in 2009, has been linked to 42 PML cases, the company has reported. While it’s approved for use only after other drugs fail, 61 percent of 285 neurologists surveyed by RBC Capital Markets in San Francisco said Tysabri’s ability to slow MS progression would make it their first choice if they could assess the risk of PML.

If the test works, (Click to continue reading)


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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stem cell research forges ahead in Ecuador

South American destinations such as Ecuador are joining stem cell research communities around the world in seeking stem cell therapies and treatments for conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's. While stem cell research is still in its infancy, technological breakthroughs have encouraged the drive for regenerative adult stem cell therapies to help replace damaged or dead cells and tissues in the human body.

Stem cell research and treatment, including regenerative theories and methodologies, are under study at the American Stem Cell and Anti Aging Center in Quito, Ecuador.

Positive results have been noted in a variety of medical conditions utilizing stem cell therapies, including Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, vision problems, and other neurological disease processes.

Because stem cell therapies and treatments have not yet been approved in the United States, though clinical trials are under way, thousands of patients travel to Latin American destinations in the hopes of receiving treatment that may offer increased mobility and quality of life. Stem cell treatment designed to slow or reduced symptoms of Parkinson's and other neuromuscular conditions prompt thousands of global travelers to seek health and wellness throughout Latin America, including going to Ecuador.

Stem cell research facilities in Ecuador offer hope for the future with affordable, accessible, and promising treatments and therapies in stem cell research, technologies, methodologies and potential treatment plans.

American Stem Cell and Anti Aging Center offers stem cell therapies with proven results and has obtained special rates at Quito's best hotel- JW Marriott.

Medical tourism news13 April 2010



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