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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.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Six (6) Alternative Therapies to Treat Multiple Sclerosis

Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD
WebMD Medical Reference

The term alternative therapy, in general, is used to describe any medical treatment or intervention that has not been scientifically documented or identified as either safe or effective for a specific condition.
Alternative therapy encompasses a variety of disciplines that range from diet and exercise to mental conditioning and lifestyle changes. Examples include acupuncture, yoga, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbal remedies, and massage.

Complementary therapies are alternative therapies used in addition to traditional treatments. For example, you may have weekly massages to complement your drug treatment.

What Alternative Therapies Are Recommended for MS?

  • Positive Attitude. Having a positive outlook cannot cure MS, but it can reduce your stress and help you feel better.
  • Exercise. Exercises, such as tai chi and yoga can lower your stress, help you to be more relaxed, and increase your energy, balance, and flexibility. As with any exercise program, check with your doctor before getting started. It is important that you never exercise to the point of fatigue, as this may worsen your symptoms. Likewise, avoid getting overheated and try to exercise in the early morning on hot days.
  • Diet. It is important for people with MS to follow a healthy, well-balanced diet. Ask your doctor what diet is right for you.

What Are Some Other Alternative/Complementary Therapy Options for MS?

  • Massage. Many people with MS receive regular massage therapy to help relax and reduce stress and depression, which could trigger a relapse. There is no evidence that massage changes the course of the disease. It is usually safe for people with MS to receive a massage, but if you have bone-thinning osteoporosis (usually as a result of your treatments) massage may be dangerous. Talk to your doctor first.
  • Acupuncture. Some people with MS report that acupuncture provides some relief of symptoms, such as pain, muscle spasms, or bladder control problems. There have been no scientific studies to confirm this or to document that acupuncture is safe for people with MS. Also, keep in mind that there are always risks when a procedure involves puncturing the body with needles as is done with acupuncture. The main risk is infection, which is minimal if sterilizing techniques are used. Always ask if the needles have been sterilized or are  ''one time'' use disposable needles.
  • Diet. It is important for people with MS to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet to keep them as healthy as possible. Discuss any dietary concerns you may have with your doctor.
  • Marijuana. The use of marijuana to treat any illness remains highly controversial. Some people with MS claim that smoking marijuana helps relieve spasticity and other MS-related symptoms. However, there is little evidence to date that marijuana really works. Research is ongoing to answer this important question. Until more is known, most doctors do not recommend the use of marijuana to treat MS.
    SOURCE : WebMD


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Thursday, October 18, 2012

FDA extends review of Biogen's multiple sclerosis drug

(Reuters) - Biotechnology company Biogen Idec Inc said U.S. health regulators extended by three months the review date of its much-awaited multiple sclerosis (MS) drug BG-12, but analysts said the delay was only a minor setback.
Shares of Biogen were down 2 percent at $150.72 in morning trading on the Nasdaq.
The stock has risen more than 50 percent over the past 12 months, largely on optimism about BG-12, which showed robust results in trials and had no safety concerns.
Analysts said the delay would push the review date to March, but added such extensions were not uncommon.
"The registrational studies for BG-12 - DEFINE and CONFIRM - enrolled about 1,200 and 1,400 patients, respectively. Given the size and complexity of the filings, we are not surprised that the FDA would require additional time to review the application," Barclays Capital analyst Anthony Butler said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it needed additional time to review the application, but did not ask for additional studies, according to Biogen.


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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012 - MS Symposium- The Neurological Aspects of Multiple Sclerosis

      Annual MS Symposium

        Advancements in Treatment Strategies, Symptom
        Management and Neurological Aspects of MS
November 10th, 2012

 *FREE Admission      *COMPLIMENTARY Breakfast and Lunch     
 *FREE Parking      *FREE Raffles

Intercontinental Hotel Doral - 2505 NW 87th Avenue, Doral, FL 33172

Doors open at 8:30 a.m.         **Reservations are required

Our new format ensures you won’t miss any presentations or Q&A Sessions

10:00 a.m   Physician Panel - Bladder Issues;  Psychological Impact on Patient and Family; Pain Management  
Presenters: Harvey Samowitz, MD,  Rick Harris, MD ,  Antonio Mesa, D.O.

11:45 a.m.  Neurologist Panel Neurology, MRI and Advancements in MS Treatment
Presenters: Brian Steingo, MD,   Jeffrey Horstmyer, MD,    Melissa Ortega, MD

1:00 p.m.    Your Legal Rights and Social Security Disability
Presenter:  Lisa G. Goetz, Esq  Disability Attorney

*All times are subject to change     *Rooms may be cold, please dress appropriately  

Our Educational Resource Room will provide information & hands on by specialists:
Acupuncture, Yoga, Wellness Coach/Nutritionist, Aroma Therapy, Massage, Assistive Driving Controls with Modified Vehicle, Physical Therapy/Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, Pain Management Stimulation Device, and more!

RSVP to:  info@msviewsandnews.org   

Don’t miss our biggest program of the year!

Must be at least 16 years old, this will be strongly enforced

This Educational Program is supported with Education Grants and Sponsorships from:
EMD Serono, Questcor, Genzyme, Pfizer, Genentech, Teva, 
           DMR CORP., MS Foundation, Polar Products,  
Acorda Therapeutics,  Medtronic,
  Neuroscience Centers of Florida, Infinity Clinical Research,
Bioness, Neuroscience Consultants of Miami, 

See what happened at this Years ECTRIMS conference in Lyons, France

Information provided by , About.com Guide

For those of you who missed the videos that the MS Society produced during ECTRIMS 2012 (the annual conference of the European Committee for Research and Treatment in Multiple Sclerosis), I thought I would post the links here. These videos were created by my friend, Kate Milliken, a woman who is also living with MS.
Since I was typing my blogs in the same room where the production team was working to put together these videos, I can attest to the thought, effort and dedication that went into these pieces so that people living with MS could hear straight from the scientists and neurologists who are involved in the research.
Check out the videos by clicking the links below:



Both Work and Play More Difficult for People with MS

At the annual conference of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS 2012), research was presented that showed that it is harder for many people with MS to maintain the same amount of working hours as before disease onset. While this in itself is not surprising, what I found rather shocking was that this difficulty begins within 24 months of diagnosis with MS or a clinically-isolated syndrome. Read the full blog on the National MS Society website: Why is it harder to work with MS?
However, it is not just work that is a challenge for us. Research from Germany reveals that people with MS also struggle with social situations, due to impaired "social cognition." Social cognition is the gathering and processing of information about other people. 
It is this information that guides how we are going to behave in social settings. Turns out that people with MS can't do this as efficiently as other people, so we end up struggling in social situations, not always knowing what is expected of us. In other words, relating to other people no longer comes naturally. This can cause us to appear strange or standoffish, which in turn can cause us to feel stressed out and lonely. Read the full blog here: Why are social situations hard for people with MS?
Article Source: about.com 


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MS trial to explore vitamin D links

Updated Tue Oct 16, 2012

A world-first clinical trial beginning in Hobart (Tasmania) today will assess if vitamin D can stall or prevent the development of multiple sclerosis (MS).
The cause of the condition is not known, but research shows those living further from the equator are at higher risk.
People who live in Tasmania are 10 times more likely to develop the condition than their counterparts in the Northern Territory.
It has long been suspected that vitamin D, or a lack of it, has a large part to play in the development of MS.
Menzies Research Institute professor Bruce Taylor says a placebo-controlled trial to begin at Royal Hobart Hospital today will hopefully give scientific proof to that hypothesis.
"We know that MS is not evenly distributed around the world," he said.
"The further you get away from the equator in a genetically susceptible population, the greater your risk of getting MS.
"That means about 90 per cent of your risk of getting MS can be due to your environment.
"Our science all points to this, that vitamin D, derived from solar radiation, may be one of the clues," Professor Taylor said.


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Marijuana Spray Eases Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Photo courtesy of GW Pharmaceuticals
A mouth spray containing cannabinoids reduces chronic pain and symptoms of muscle spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new study by German researchers.
One month’s treatment with Sativex spray reduced MS spasticity by 20% or more in 4 out of 10 patients who were previously unresponsive to conventional therapies. After three months, there was a 30% improvement in symptoms. Three hundred patients with moderate to severe MS spasticity were enrolled in the study.
“An improvement on the numerical rating scale of at least 30% after 3 months is considered clinically relevant,” said lead investigator Peter Flachenecker, a professor at the Neurological Rehabilitation Centre Quellenhof in Bad Wildbad, Germany.
Flachenecker also noted that patients on Sativex were also able to sleep more soundly.
“It translates into less disturbed sleep due to MS spasms, less pain, improved bladder function and a greater ability to perform simple daily activities involving mobility,” said Flachenecker.  “These findings from everyday clinical practice are aligned or superior to those reported in previous clinical trials with Sativex, and were achieved with slightly fewer average daily doses.”
After three months, the average dose was 6.7 sprays a day. The number of patients who needed physical therapy at home after three months fell by one third. Severe limitations in daily activities were reported by 25% fewer patients, and the number of patients reporting severe pain fell over 15%.
Sativex was generally well tolerated, with dizziness and drowsiness the most common side effects.
Sativex contains a formulation of cannabinoids, marijuana’s most active ingredients. It is sold throughout Europe, Canada and Mexico to treat cancer pain and MS related symptoms, but is currently not approved for sale in the United States. British-based GW Pharmaceuticals hopes to see FDA approval by the end of 2013.
Spasticity is one of the most common symptoms of MS, occurring in up to 75% of patients over the course of the disease. It is characterized by muscle spasms, stiffness and difficulty in moving muscles. Spasticity effects a patient’s ability to walk, move and sleep, and is considered one of the main factors contributing to their distress and disability.


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Quick, cheap retina scan can predict brain damage caused by multiple sclerosis

An inexpensive, five-minute eye scan can accurately assess the amount of brain damage in people with the debilitating autoimmune disorder multiple sclerosis (MS), and offer clues about how quickly the disease is progressing, according to results of two Johns Hopkins studies.

"The eye is the window into the brain and by measuring how healthy the eye is, we can determine how healthy the rest of the brain is," says Peter A. Calabresi, M.D., a professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and leader of the studies described in recent issues of The Lancet Neurology and the Archives of Neurology. "Eye scans are not that expensive, are really safe, and are widely used in ophthalmology, and now that we have evidence of their predictive value in MS, we think they are ready for prime time. We should be using this new quantitative tool to learn more about disease progression, including nerve damage and brain atrophy." 

Calabresi and his colleagues used optical coherence tomography (OCT) to scan nerves deep in the back of the eye, applying special software they co-developed that is capable of assessing previously immeasurable layers of the light-sensitive retinal tissue. The scan uses no harmful radiation and is one-tenth the cost of an MRI. The software will soon be widely available commercially. In the Lancet paper, Calabresi and his team reported measuring thickness or swelling of the inner nuclear layer of the retina in 164 patients with MS and 60 healthy controls, following changes in these tissues over four years. At the same time, they also used brain MRI to measure inflammation spots directly, and performed clinical tests to determine disability levels.

The more inflammation and swelling the researchers found in the retinas of the MS patients, the more inflammation showed up in their brain MRIs. The correlation, they said, affirmed the value of the retinal scans as a stand-alone surrogate for brain damage. Having such information so easily available could allow physicians to accurately tell how far the disease has progressed, and to better advise patients about how they should proceed with their care.

The researchers also found microcystic macular edema in the central part of the retinas of 10 of the MS patients, tiny pockets of fluid typically found in older, usually diabetic people. While Calabresi cautions that eye scans do not as yet have primary diagnostic value for MS, he says finding a cyst like this on the eye of a young, healthy person might be reason to have her evaluated for the disorder.

Read More


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Monthly tips to help you live well and stay active with MS

Considering Cognitive Changes

When most people think of MS symptoms, they first think of the physical impact that MS can have. However, it's important to remember that MS can cause cognitive changes as well. Cognitive symptoms can include changes in:
  • Mood    • Attention    • Memory    • Problem solving    • Speech

If you notice changes in your cognitive ability, talk with your doctor. By bringing your concerns out into the open, you can take action to help keep cognitive MS symptoms under control. 

How Can I Manage My Cognitive Problems?

Bring it up. If you don't mention your cognitive issues, people may think that you're careless or indifferent.

Get organized. Use calendars, electronic devices, and even sticky notes to help you keep track of important information.

Plan accordingly To avoid "cognitive fatigue," schedule your most mentally challenging tasks for the time of day when you're most alert.
Get your beauty sleep. You're more focused when you're well rested.

Challenge yourself. Keep your mind flexible with puzzles, reading, games, and other mentally stimulating activities. 


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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

DMR Corp Makes Custom Fitted Wheelchairs for persons around the world

DMR was Co-Founded in Miami, Florida by Nella M. Pardo in 1984 to meet the growing needs of the South Florida community. Started as a durable medical equipment provider, soon afterwards the growing and challenging needs of the disabled community became a priority and the new focus of DMR. Today DMR is an Assistive & Rehab Technology Provider serving the disabled community not only in South Florida, but around the world. We are located minutes from Miami International Airport and Dolphin & International Malls off 107th Avenue on NW 31st Terrace.

In almost thirty (30) years, DMR has not produced two (2) identical wheelchairs. Each of our CUSTOM Wheelchairs is as unique as each of our nearly twelve thousand (12,000) clients. Our personalized one on one service allows us to get to know each client and what they want to accomplish with their CUSTOM Wheelchair. This in turn allows us to conceptualize, create and provide the most appropriate CUSTOM Wheelchair to each of our valued clients. However, that's not the most important thing we provide. DMR believes that the most important thing we provide our clients with is the POSSIBILITIES that appropriate seating and mobility offers. As South Florida's premier provider of CUSTOM Wheelchairs, Rehab Equipment & UROLOGICAL Supplies, no one boasts a more impressive clientele list. DMR hosts clients from all over the world here in Miami or we can travel any where in the world. We are the only provider in Miami to have a Therapist on staff who is also an ATP (RESNA Certification).

Contact DMR for your wheelchair or scooter needs

                                              Click Logo to Open the DMR Website


Monday, October 15, 2012

Safety Issue Puts Daclizumab in Doubt for MS


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Biogen releases more positive data for oral MS drug

By Julie Donnelly, Boston Business Journal

Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) is awaiting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its first oral multiple sclerosis therapy, and has released new Phase 3 data that shows positive efficacy and safety for the drug candidate. The FDA is scheduled to make a decision on or before Dec. 28. 

The Weston, Mass-based biotechnology company released pooled data from two Phase 3 studies which showed statistically significant and clinically relevant effects in reducing multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses and progression of disability, as well as reductions in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures of disease activity. The data also showed that continued use of the drug candidate generally did not result in any new or worsening side effects

“These data provide additional insight into the positive efficacy and safety results from our Phase 3 studies, showing there is a consistent beneficial effect with dimethyl fumarate in reducing MS relapses, brain lesions and disability,” Dr. Alfred Sandrock, chief medical officer of Biogen Idec, said in a statement. “If approved, dimethyl fumarate may provide a broad range of MS patients with an effective therapy that offers the ease of oral administration and an acceptable tolerability profile.”

Read More

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Genzyme announces key data from AUBAGIO Phase III trial on multiple sclerosis

October 15, 2012

Genzyme, a Sanofi company announced today that key data from the TOWER trial were presented at the 28th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS). In the study, once-daily, oral AUBAGIO® 14 mg significantly reduced the annualized relapse rate and slowed progression of disability in patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) compared to placebo. In addition, the proportion of patients treated with AUBAGIO who were relapse-free was significantly higher compared to placebo.
TOWER (Teriflunomide Oral in people With relapsing multiplE scleRosis) is a randomized, double-blind Phase III trial that enrolled 1,169 patients with relapsing MS across 26 countries and compared 7 mg or 14 mg once-daily, oral AUBAGIO against placebo. The company announced positive top-line results in June. In September, the FDA approved AUBAGIO as a once-daily oral treatment for patients with relapsing forms of MS. Marketing applications for AUBAGIO are currently under review by the EMA and other regulatory authorities.
"Slowing the progression of disability is a major goal in treating MS and remains a significant unmet need for many patients," said Ludwig Kappos, M.D., Chair of Neurology, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, who presented the key TOWER results. "The TOWER study results are consistent with the Phase lll TEMSO data, both in terms of the effect on progression of disability and the manageable safety profile of AUBAGIO."
TOWER data presented for the first time today for the 14 mg dose include:
  • A 36.3 percent reduction in annualized relapse rate>
  • A 31.5 percent reduction in the risk of 12-week sustained accumulation of disability, the main secondary endpoint, as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), compared to placebo>
In addition, a 22.3 percent reduction in annualized relapse rate>
"AUBAGIO is the first and only oral MS therapy to significantly slow the progression of disability in two Phase III trials," said David Meeker, M.D., President and CEO, Genzyme."The convenience of a once daily oral therapy offers a meaningful alternative for patients wanting to avoid the burden of regular injections."
Patients who completed the trial were followed for a period between 48 and 173 weeks. The average duration of AUBAGIO exposure in TOWER was 18 months.



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Dr. Wahl's Diet - Patient Update

Wow has it already been five months? You know the more used to the diet I get, the easier it has been to follow, it no longer seems like  a chore . It is just my lifestyle now. :) You guys I have lost 32 pounds on the Dr. Wahls' Diet. This was much needed weight loss but not the reason I went on this diet. As all of you should already know I have MS, and was at the brink of despair as all the medicines were and have failed me. And one of the medicines Gilenya, threatened my quality of life. It was in this moment that I sort of woke up. It was like for the first time I realized the importance of healthy living. This was not longer a should, or maybe. It became oh crap if I don't get my life in order I won't be around for my kids. I realized that I had to make the choice to give up gluten,dairy and processed foods. And I also realized that I wasn't going to be missing much accept for more unhealthy miserable days. Who needs those?? Not a busy wife and mom of two precious boys.

So I did it, I changed my diet and haven't strayed from it in 5 months :) Dr. Terry Wahls knows what she is doing. If you want to get well I suggest start with her book Minding My Mitochondria. This gave me all the tips and strategies to get going and excellent recipes to follow. You will learn so much about food, and how we really have to eat organic, clean and healthy foods.

Please give yourself time on this diet/protocol so you can heal. It is going to take time. So don't be too frustrated if you don't see immediate results as everyone varies, however eating right and exercising is good for everyone. So it certainly can not hurt you.

So to update you I still feel amazing, I still have more energy, and that is continually improving. I don't trip as much anymore so I assume my gait has gotten better. My right leg use to just out of the blue give out and that has happened maybe twice in the last 5 months.

My breathing, is 110% better. I use to have a very difficult time breathing but now I can get the air in without difficulties.

I still have lhermitte's sign from time to time, but this also has improved and I at least don't notice it as much.

I use to get coldness in my feet this is actually gone.

I am still thinking really well, I have memory issues from time to time but this has also improved immensely.

I am still on Copaxone, I just can't make myself get off. Maybe when I hear more stories of people totally off drugs doing well I will be brave enough to stop. I hate those shots everyday :( But manage.

I have been feeling more adventurous last month I had the privilege to go on a hot air balloon ride, which was so fun. I also have energy to do more with my family, and recently started getting serious about exercise again.

As of July 31st I started walking daily then I was strong enough to RUN again :)

And even more recent I started a workout program through beachbody and since I have done their other programs and love them because they also work. I am so excited about getting healthy that I decided to be a coach.  This will motivate myself to keep at it, and I hope to help and motivate others.
If you would like me as a coach please sign up FREE using this link.


Also feel free to like my facebook page and ask any questions about health and nutrition. I have learned so much and I am always happy to share.

I was also invited to be apart of Dr. Terry Wahls' next book as a success story, which I am honored :)

In other awesome news I have 500+ likes on my facebook page. So happy to share my experiences and hear how it is helping people. I love getting messages from people sharing their successes on this diet. https://www.facebook.com/drwahlsgirl

And more importantly I am happy again, and excited to be living. I lost that happiness early this year with all the issues, and while I was on betaseron I was so depressed. So it is nice to be taking back my own health again and being truly happy :) I can't wait to update you all next month. I know I will be even better. Please share how you all are doing. I love to hear!! Thanks again for liking Dr. Wahls' Girl and joining me in this journey of getting healthy!