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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Multiple Sclerosis: Tips to Manage Your Muscles


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Medicine and physical therapy can strengthen your muscles, prevent stiffness, and improve flexibility. You can also try these simple tricks on your own to make them work better.
Put yourself in motion. Exercise keeps your muscles flexible and strong. It's a good idea to combine three types of exercise:
  • Strength training. To keep your muscles strong, work them with light weights or exercise bands a couple of times a week. If you get a muscle spasm in the middle of your routine, stop and wait a few minutes for it to relax. Also stop if you feel any pain. Exercise should never hurt.
  • Range of motion. To prevent stiffness, do exercises that take your joints through their full range of motion. For example, lift your arm up and over your head, or bring your leg out to the side and back.
  • Stretching. Do a series of stretches at least twice a week. Pay special attention to muscles that tend to get tight and spasm, like the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. As you stretch, slowly move each muscle into position. Hold the position for up to one minute. Then gently release it.
You can do these exercises alone, or you can work with a physical therapist who will show you how to do each movement safely and effectively.

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Treatment combining chemotherapy and stem cells could be a major advance against aggressive MS -- but there's a significant drawback


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Toxic side effects of heavy chemo could limit use, researcher says

WebMD News from HealthDay
By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 9, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A treatment combining chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant could represent a major advance against aggressive multiple sclerosis, experts say.
This new treatment destroys the immune system with chemo and rebuilds it with the patient's own stem cells. Researchers say it stopped MS relapses and progression in 23 of 24 patients.
According to the results of this small trial, these 23 patients no longer needed medication to control their MS. Moreover, eight showed continued improvement for nearly eight years.
"These patients had highly active MS with lots of relapses and lots of ongoing damage to their brain, but we've been able to stop that," said lead researcher Dr. Harold Atkins. He is an associate professor of clinical hematology at the University of Ottawa in Canada.
The results are noteworthy, Atkins said. "There are lots of drugs and treatments available that are able to slow the disease or temperately halt it, but this one seems to be significant in that it had a long-lasting effect," he explained.
However, it's not for everybody with MS. "Because of the side effects and the rigor of treatment, it is something that should be used with those with the most aggressive MS before they have real damage. This won't work for patients who have advanced disabilities or are in a wheelchair," he added.
And, because the immune system is destroyed, patients have no defense against infections.
Still, Dr. Paul Wright, chairman of neurology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., thinks this therapy is a "breakthrough" in MS treatment.

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Primary Progressive MS: Does Gender Matter?


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This type of multiple sclerosis affects men and women in almost equal numbers. Here's what scientists know about it.

Most forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) strike women twice as often as men. Primary progressive MS, though, affects men and women in nearly equal numbers. Researchers don’t know why it happens, but here's what scientists understand about this type:

The 'Equal Opportunity' MS
For people with primary progressive MS, there are no attacks followed by later improvement, as in the more common forms of MS. Symptoms steadily get worse from the time they’re diagnosed.

The gender differences in this type of the disease seem to vary by age group. In the largest studies done so far, scientists kept tabs on hundreds of men and women with primary progressive MS for decades. They found:

Under age 30, equal numbers of men and women had the condition.
There were more women than men who got it after age 45.

Almost two women for each man were diagnosed with primary progressive MS after age 50 -- still short of the rates in other forms of MS.

This type of MS is also unique in how severe its symptoms are. MS in men is usually worse than in women. But large studies of primary progressive MS show:

Early on, the symptoms were just as severe and got worse just as fast for men as for women.

After about 20 years of living with primary progressive MS, men's disease finally began to "outrun" the women's in terms of how bad their symptoms were.

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Manage MS Tremors


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Many people with multiple sclerosis (MS) have some form of tremor, or shaking they can’t control, in different parts of their bodies.
There are several types:
  • Postural tremors. You shake when you sit or stand, but not when you lie down.
  • Intention tremor. There’s no shaking when you’re at rest. It starts when you try to reach or grasp something or move your hand or foot to a precise spot. This is the most common form of MS tremor, and it usually causes the most problems in day-to-day life.
  • Nystagmus. This type causes jumpy eye movements.

What Causes Tremors in Multiple Sclerosis?

Tremors happen because of damage to nerves that control body movement.

Treatment for MS Tremors

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Unapproved Stem Cell 'Therapies'


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Study identifies hot spots around the country

WebMD News from HealthDay
By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter
THURSDAY, June 30, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Hundreds of clinics across the United States are marketing unapproved stem celltreatments for conditions ranging from aging skin to spinal cord injuries, a new study finds.
In an online search, researchers found at least 570 clinics offering unapproved stem cell "therapies." They tend to be concentrated in a handful of states -- including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New York and Texas -- but are scattered across many other states, too.
Most often, the clinics market stem cell procedures for orthopedic conditions, such as arthritis and injured ligaments and tendons. This does have science behind it, but is still experimental, medical experts said.
In other cases with little or no supporting evidence, clinics hawked stem cell "facelifts" and therapies for serious conditions such as chroniclung diseaseParkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.
If these pricey stem cell treatments are unproven and unapproved by federal regulators, how can these clinics exist?
"I ask myself that question all the time," said Leigh Turner, a bioethicist who worked on the study.
Turner, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota's Center for Bioethics, said attention used to focus on "stem cell tourism" -- where people travel to countries such as China, India and Mexico to get unproven treatments.
"I think there's a misperception that everything here [in the U.S.] is regulated," Turner said. "But these clinics are operating here, and on a relatively large scale."
Stem cells are primitive cells with the potential to mature into various types of body tissue. Medical researchers have been studying the possibility of using stem cells to repair damaged tissue in a range of chronic ills -- with limited success so far.
But the general public has heard about the "promise" of stem cells for years, and it can be easy to be taken in by clinics' marketing tactics, Turner said.
Websites can, for instance, link to published medical studies that make their therapies seem legitimate, Turner said. "These businesses can be quite savvy," he said. "I think it's asking too much to just tell consumers to be wary. We need to be asking, why should these clinics be allowed to do this?"

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Zika Linked to Another Neurological Disorder


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Patients infected with the virus can develop a condition similar to multiple sclerosis, a small study suggests.
By  | April 12, 2016

A cross section of the spinal cord showing demyelination and inflammation
Zika virus has now been linked to yet another neurological problem, in addition to microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). Two patients who tested positive for the virus have been diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), according to a small study presented this week at a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“Though our study is small, it may provide evidence that in this case the virus has different effects on the brain than those identified in current studies,” study coauthor Maria Lucia Brito Ferreira of the Restoration Hospital in Recife, Brazil, said in a statement. However, “much more research will need to be done to explore whether there is a causal link between Zika and these brain problems,” Ferreira added.

According to Newsweekthe six patients in the study were admitted to a hospital in Brazil; all six experienced symptoms of Zika virus infection, including fever, rash, and—in some cases—muscle and joint pain, extreme itching, and red eyes. The patients subsequently tested positive for the virus.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

High Blood Pressure in MS Seen to Increase Risk of Disability Progression


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High blood pressure may be linked to greater overall disability in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), although the rate at which disability progresses might be slower than in patients without hypertension, a retrospective study concludes. The research, involving a large number of MS patients, helps to clarify a rather confusing range of views on how factors related to heart and metabolic disorders influence this disease’s course.
Studies investigating risk factors for disability progression in MS tend to come to rather different conclusions, as do those exploring risk factors for heart or metabolic disease (like obesity or diabetes) in relation to MS. In terms of hypertension, some studies report that MS patients develop high blood pressure at the same rate as other people, while others find high blood pressure is unusual in people with MS.
To get a clearer picture of how blood pressure might affect MS, and to identify potential links between heart and metabolic disease and MS, scientists at Chaim Sheba Medical Center and Tel Aviv University examined the medical records of 2,396 patients, most with relapsing-remitting disease.

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Exciting News! Ocrelizumab offers Expanded Access Program


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Exciting News! Ocrelizumab offers Expanded Access Program in over 50 locations for participants with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis! Ocrelizumab, which has been granted Priority Review Designation, announces expanded Access Program for Ocrelizumab in Participants With Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis The primary objective of this expanded access program (EAP) is to provide ocrelizumab as treatment for eligible participants with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) before it is commercially available in the United States (U.S.) for the indication of PPMS. An EAP enables participants to receive an investigational medication that has not yet been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This program is a nontraditional study that has no placebo group, so all those enrolled are given the active medication. It follows a strict protocol that has been developed through consultation with the FDA. Through Ocrelizumab’s EAP, enrolled participants will receive the study medication, given every six months via two infusions, which are separated by two weeks. The study sponsor will cover the cost of program-specific medical procedures performed during this program outside the costs for standard-of-care medical procedures. Read More

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Monday, July 4, 2016

MS Progression May Be Tied to Workings of Immune Complement System in Brain Lesions



The complement system, a part of our non-adaptable (innate) immune defenses, is activated in lesions inside the brain’s gray matter and may well contribute to the relentless progression of multiple sclerosis (MS), researchers report. The findings offer new insights into mechanisms driving the development of this disease — particularly its primary progressive forms.
The complement system is composed of an array of proteins that, by triggering a cascade of molecular signals, enhances (complements) the activity of other parts of the immune system, including antibodies and cells that clear microbes and cell debris.
High levels of complement system factors are found in blood and cerebrospinal fluid of MS patients, suggesting that the system is actively contributing to disease. But precisely how it contributes is not at all clear. Earlier studies have shown that — in contrast to brain lesions in the myelinated white matter of the brain — increased numbers of lesions in the gray matter predicts disease course.
During brain development, the complement system is needed for synaptic pruning, a process whereby excessive brain connections are eliminated, making researchers suspect that the same mechanisms might be involved in neurodegeneration in MS. A few studies have confirmed this by showing the presence of certain activated complement factors, along with a lack of molecules controlling them, in brain areas marked by nerve cell death. So far, however, no studies have done more extensive screening of complement factors in the brains of MS patients.

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Patients Get Financial Help With MS Drugs - But high costs and insurance barriers still a challenge to optimal care


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Many patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who are taking disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) get financial help from pharmaceutical company assistance programs, researchers found.

In an analysis of survey data from the North American Research Committee on MS (NARCOMS) registry, about 25% of those on DMTs got their drugs at no cost or at heavily discounted prices, Guoqiao (Peter) Wang, PhD, of Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues reported online in Neurology.

Still, some 6% of MS patients said they were not taking disease-modifying drugs because of insurance or financial concerns, the researchers reported.

"If the costs of DMTs continue to rise as they have over the last 5 years, we can expect that they will become unattainable for many individuals with MS," Wang and colleagues wrote.
MS specialists have increasingly expressed concerns about the combination of high drug prices and insurance barriers as being a major challenge to optimal care.

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Diagnosed With Multiple Sclerosis, An Artist Turns Her MRIs Into Art


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"I want to take the fear out of looking at MRIs," says Elizabeth Jameson

In the 1970s and '80s, Elizabeth Jameson was a civil rights lawyer, first defending children with chronic illness and disabilities, then fighting for gender equality. She worked in the prison system and in the White House on health policy alongside then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. In the late '80s, she was playing with her kids on a local playground when she suddenly found that she couldn't speak; later, she learned the cause was a lesion in a part of her brain called Broca's area.
Jameson regained her ability to speak through intense therapy, but in 1991 was diagnosed with a progressive form of multiple sclerosis. No longer able to practice law, she went to art school for painting and found she had a talent for it. Today, she's known for her silk paintings and copper etching prints that are derived from a very personal source: her own MRI scans.
"I decided I needed to give back to my community," she says—and her new community was people who were also dealing with neurological disabilities. "I was a public interest lawyer, so I decided to become a public interest artist, whatever the hell that would mean."
READ More of Elizabeth's story and see a slide show of varying MRI images and art... 
<p>Carousel   "Art of Neuroscience 2016: ""Carousel"" is composed of numerous MRIs of my brain. The name was inspired by lyrics of musician and songwriter Joni Mitchell’s ""The Circle Game.""<br />
""And the seasons, they go round and round / and the painted ponies go up and down / we're captive on the carousel of time. . ."" <br />
This collage conveys the journey of my brain as an artist with a neurological disease, on an endless search for meaning." Solarplate Etching on Paper 2010 5" x 5"</p>
CONTINUE by clicking here

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