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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tanner Center and Foundation for MS in Birmingham, AL receives PCORI grant for researching direct rehabilitation services


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The Tanner Center and Foundation for MS in Birmingham, AL - was fortunate to have been awarded a PCORI grant for Alabama and Mississippi researching direct rehabilitation services versus tele rehabilitation services for persons with MS.

A $5.8 million study of whether patients get as much benefit from an exercise-based rehabilitation program delivered via Internet or telephone as when the therapy is provided in a clinic. Evidence shows that exercise, yoga, and other such therapies can alleviate symptoms and improving function, but clinics that can provide such services are scare in rural and low-income areas. The trial, led by a research team based at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will be conducted in Alabama and Mississippi.

Click above link to read complete article

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016



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* 75 percent higher proportion of relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS) patients achieved No Evidence of Disease Activity (NEDA) with OCREVUS compared with interferon beta-1a (Rebif®)

* 47 percent higher proportion of primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) patients achieved No Evidence of Progression (NEP) with OCREVUS compared with placebo

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – September 13, 2016 – Genentech, a member of the Roche group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), today announced new analyses from the three OCREVUS™ (ocrelizumab) Phase III studies in relapsing multiple sclerosis (RMS) and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) will be presented during the 32nd congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS), from September 14-17 in London, England.

OCREVUS increased disease control in patients with RMS and PPMS in separate post-hoc analyses. In these analyses, two composite endpoints measured disease control using a combination of clinical and MRI outcomes: No Evidence of Disease Activity (NEDA) in patients with RMS and No Evidence of Progression (NEP) in patients with PPMS. These composite endpoints are emerging as new treatment targets.

A NEDA analysis of pooled data from the Phase III OPERA I and OPERA II studies compared no evidence of disease activity during different time periods over two years of study. NEDA is achieved when a patient has no relapses, no confirmed disability progression, no gadolinium-enhancing MRI lesions and no new or enlarging MRI lesions. The data showed that OCREVUS significantly increased the proportion of RMS patients achieving NEDA by 75 percent compared with interferon beta-1a over 96 weeks (0-96 weeks, p<0.0001). Additionally, compared with interferon beta-1a, OCREVUS treatment significantly increased the relative proportion of patients achieving NEDA by 33 percent in weeks 0-24 and by 72 percent in weeks 24-96 (both p<0.0001). A majority of patients achieved NEDA in the first 24 weeks of OCREVUS treatment (60.8 percent) and this proportion increased during weeks 24-96 of the study (72.2 percent).

“Controlling clinical and sub-clinical disease activity as early as possible is an important treatment goal for people living with MS,” said Professor Gavin Giovannoni, Scientific Steering Committee Member of the OPERA I and II studies and Chair of Neurology at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. “These new data suggest that ocrelizumab consistently impacts disease progression and has the potential to change how we approach treating both relapsing and primary progressive MS.”

New post-hoc analyses of the ORATORIO study in PPMS patients measured NEP, which includes three measures of physical disability (confirmed disability progression, walking speed and upper extremity function) and reflects no evidence of worsening of a person’s physical disability. Patients who achieved NEP had no evidence of confirmed disability progression sustained for at least 12 weeks and less than 20 percent worsening of performance on the timed 25-foot walk and 9-hole peg test. OCREVUS treatment significantly increased the proportion of PPMS patients with NEP by 47 percent at week 120 compared with placebo (p=0.0006).

“With no approved treatment options, primary progressive MS remains a challenge for physicians and people with MS,” said Xavier Montalban, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Neurology and Neuroimmunology at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Research Institute and Cemcat, Barcelona, Spain. “OCREVUS significantly impacted three key disability measurements, which further highlight its clinical significance in people with primary progressive MS.”



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Probiotics: Friendly Bacteria


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Missing Images!


Probiotics contain living organisms -- mainly bacteria and one type of yeast. These resemble good bacteria in the gut that help with digestion. The supplements are used to treat certain GI problems and for general digestive health. Some types of probiotics may provide relief from diarrhea and may also relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Consider adding them to malted milk or yogurt.

Putting probiotic capsule into yogurt

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‘Look Ma, No Feet!’ A Lesson in Mechanical Hand Controls


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Sept 14, 2016
When my physiatrist diagnosed my MS “foot drop,” she wrote a prescription for vehicle hand controls. I was both elated and terrified. Could I drive long distances again? Arrive pain-free, able to do a short hike? Could I regain the freedom of knowing I would not have to cancel an outing because I couldn’t drive there?  After many months of increasing limitations, I was giddy at the prospect of less pain and more freedom.  BUT … What if I couldn’t do it? Maybe I would never get the hang of it … or worse, what if I got in an accident?  I kept thinking about the time my grandmother hit the gas instead of the brakes and took out my uncle’s front porch! _dsc1100-1 I checked in with my State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) caseworker (look into yours if you haven’t). DVR, along with the National MS Society, covered the nearly $3,000 for the lesson, certification, and installation because I use my car for work.  They assessed my vehicle and my abilities and recommended “mechanical” hand controls. These can be turned off and on so that others can drive the car. A lever is attached by cables to the gas and brake pedals.  The lever, or handle, really, goes to the right or left of the steering wheel. Usually matched to a person’s non-dominant hand.  To accelerate, pull down.  Lightly. To stop, push it forward.  A steering knob is placed on the steering wheel so that the car can be turned with just one hand. It makes for some great U-turns, but do not be tempted to go crazy with doughnuts.  Steering knobs, otherwise known as Brodie knobs, or “suicide” knobs, are quite popular with teenage boys.  If you have one of those (a teenage boy) make sure you remove the knob before he borrows the car.
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High Doses of Vitamin D Unlikely to Help MS Patients, But Daily Low Dose Good for All


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The Multiple Sclerosis Trust announced that the Vitamin D working group, part of the U.K. Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), has published a 300-page, comprehensive report now recommending that anyone age 4 and older take 10 μg (400 IU) of vitamin D each day  to ensure musculoskeletal health.  The review, “Vitamin D and Health,” was conducted to assess whether the U.K. dietary recommendations, set in 1991, were still appropriate.
People with multiple sclerosis (MS) are not advised to take higher doses to treat the disease because of conflicting evidence regarding vitamin D supplements, the group said in a press release.
According to some neurologists, high doses of vitamin D supplements may be beneficial for MS patients. These  neurologists recommend that patients and their family members take around 100-124 μg (4000-5000 IU) of vitamin D every day (about 10 times the daily recommended dose for the general population), but others do not agree.
Research has shown that low levels of vitamin D are associated with the risk of developing MS, disease relapses, and increased disability. However, no causal role of vitamin D in reducing the risk or severity of MS has been seen. In fact, research studies to date have failed to produce any evidence showing that vitamin D supplements reduce the risk of developing MS or the severity of the condition. Most of these were observational studies and not randomized controlled trials, and produced inconsistent data between MS and vitamin D. Larger studies are ongoing to further investigate the potential benefits of vitamin D in MS. The MS Trust has a factsheet on vitamin D available for patients and others to download.
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Can Diet Ease MS Fatigue? Clinical Trial, Now Recruiting, Wants to Find Out


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This trial is all about the possibility of using a diet to ease fatigue. It is not about MS itself.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society  announced that it has dedicated more than $1 million to support a clinical study at the University of Iowa that will compare two types of diet and their effectiveness in easing fatigue in people with multiple sclerosis.
“The National MS Society is committed to identifying wellness solutions to help people live their best lives,” Bruce Bebo, PhD, the Society’s executive vice president, Research, said in a press release.  “We’re very pleased to support a rigorous clinical trial to test the ability of two popular MS dietary approaches to address the disabling symptom of fatigue.”
Numerous studies have looked at dietary approaches to treating disease symptoms, but the protocols of many for MS were not sufficiently rigorous to provide suitable evidence for treatment recommendations.  The new trial was carefully designed to understand the impact of diet on MS-related fatigue and other symptoms experienced by people with the disease.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Can MS Be Detected by Biomarkers in the Blood? Yes, Study Says


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Sept 2016
MicroRNAs present in the blood show promise as potential biomarkers of multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study suggests.
The study, titled “Comprehensive Evaluation Of Serum MicroRNAs As Biomarkers In Multiple Sclerosis,” was published by Keren Regev, MD, and colleagues in the journal Neurology.
Human DNA contains the information for the production of proteins necessary for cell function stored in the genes, but it also includes information for the expression of molecules that regulate protein synthesis, such as microRNAs. MicroRNAs, or simply miRs, are able to bind to a mRNA molecule (a copy of the coding information for the production of a corresponding protein) and interfere with the production of that protein. One miR can bind to many different mRNA molecules, which makes miRs powerful regulators of gene expression.
Although miRs are produced within cells, where they exert their function, certain miRs can enterbody fluids like the blood. Because these molecules are highly resistant to degradation, circulating miRs can be ideal candidates in the search for biomarkers that can help in the diagnosis of certain diseases.
To determine whether circulating miRNAs were associated with disease, disease stage, and disability in MS, researchers analyzed blood samples from 26 MS patients and 20 healthy subjects. After an initial observation that more than 650 microRNAs could be detected among participants, researchers then validated the microRNAs found to have a significantly different expression in MS samples by comparing them to an additional population of 58 MS patients, 30 healthy controls, and to 74 samples from participants with other diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.

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iConquerMS™ Initiative Launches Personalized Medicine Research in Multiple Sclerosis


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WALTHAM, Mass., Sept. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- iConquerMS™ (www.iConquerMS.org), a research initiative of the Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis, today launches REAL MS™, a prospective longitudinal study of multiple sclerosis intended to answer important questions about the heterogeneity of the experience of MS across the population of people living with the disease and identify ways to personalize clinical care by identifying factors that affect progression and treatment outcomes.  REAL MS™ (Research Engagement About Life with MultipleSclerosis) will encompass a diverse population of thousands of individuals living with MS, who will participate by answering online questionnaires about their disease experience and by providing biosamples for molecular analysis.
REAL MS™ is modeled on the Framingham Heart Study, a longitudinal community-based research study which has had a profound impact on the understanding of the causes of heart disease and how to treat and prevent it.  REAL MS™ emphasizes identification of personal characteristics and environmental factors that may interact with genetic predispositions to influence outcomes and the discovery of molecular biomarkers of the disease through genomic and other biochemical profiling.  Participation of a diverse population of those living with MS to provide their ideas on research conducted with their information, and a commitment on the part of the iConquerMS™ leadership to promptly and openly share research findings are important aspects of the REAL MS™ study.

"The time is absolutely right to bring personalized medicine to the field of MS," said Robert McBurney, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Accelerated Cure Project for MS and Co-Principal Investigator for iConquerMS™.

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Stem Cell related - using umbilical cord stem cells


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Now this is different, using A cell therapy product derived from human umbilical cord blood cells may be a promising treatment approach for patients with demyelinating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis or leukodystrophy, according to a recent study developed at the Duke University Medical Center.
The study, “A cord blood monocyte–derived cell therapy product accelerates brain remyelination,” published in JCI Insight, shows that a cell product with characteristics of macrophages and microglia, the primary immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS), accelerated remyelination in mice subjected to toxic demyelination.
Microglia can exert a dual role in CNS injuries, participating in both their propagation and resolution, by modulating neuroinflammation, producing factors that regulate CNS cells, and clearing debris to provide an environment for oligondendrocytes (the myelin-producing cells) to remyelinate neurons.
Still a long way to go before any possible therapy is developed, but it’s a promising start.

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Nearly 75% of MS Patients in UK Study Went Through Progressive Decline Prior to Death


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Very few people living with MS or anyone close by affected by the disease can really be surprised by the findings of a new study into what is termed as “progressive dwindling.”
The study focused on one aspect of multiple sclerosis that is sometimes overlooked by researchers: the tendency over time for people with MS to become increasingly frail and dependent on caregivers, with diminished energy and heightened disability. The report, “Progressive Dwindling in Multiple Sclerosis: An Opportunity to Improve Care,”  was published July 21 in the journal PloS One.
To study progressive dwindling, the researchers obtained death certificates and clinical information on 582 MS patients in the U.K., who died between January 1998 and February 2015. Led by Jessica E. Martin of the Centre for Neuroinflammation and Neurodegeneration, Division of Brain Sciences, Imperial College London, the team tried to identify how many of these people went through progressive dwindling, as well as the factors that might predict this development.

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New Study Unravels How Myelin is Repaired, May Suggest New MS Treatments


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Sept 7, 2016

Japanese scientists have discovered new information about how the myelin sheath is repaired following damage. Myelin is a fatty substance that wraps around nerve cells and helps them to conduct impulses. The research could have major implications for how multiple sclerosis is understood and even treated. The study, titled Inactivation of Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase Receptor Type Z by Pleiotrophin Promotes Remyelination through Activation of Differentiation of Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cells,” appeared in the Journal of Neuroscience on Sept. 2, 2015.
The symptoms of multiple sclerosis are due to an immune attack on the body’s own myelin. When myelin is lost around nerve cells, this can cause unpredictable loss of movement, sensation, vision problems and feelings of pain. Myelin is made by special nervous system cells called oligodendrocytes. Although it is well-known that myelin can be repaired by oligodendrocytes if it is damaged, scientists do not understand the exact repair mechanisms used by these cells. In MS, myelin unfortunately does not appear to be easily repaired, also for unknown reasons.

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Myelin Repair, Shape Changers, Misdiagnoses, and Virtual Reality


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Remyelination could be a new role in MS therapy for a drug that has been used to treat breast cancer for some 40 years.
Tamoxifen (brand name, Nolvadex), a widely used treatment for breast cancer, can also be used to treat myelin loss in patients with multiple sclerosis, a new study suggests.
The finding, by a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge, U.K., was published in a study titled “Tamoxifen accelerates the repair of demyelinated lesions in the central nervous system” in the journal Scientific Reports.
Researchers used both in vitro cultures and a mouse model with reduced levels of myelin to analyze how six existing drugs might affect the repair and recovery of cells able to produce myelin, called oligodendrocytes.
“We’re very excited about our findings,” said Mark R.N. Kotter, the study’s senior author, in a news release. “What we discovered was that Tamoxifen can enhance myelin repair in MS by encouraging the brain’s own stem cells to regenerate myelin.”
Encouraging news indeed in the fight against MS. We need to halt progression and to repair the damaged myelin.

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Have Questions about MS? - ShiftMS might have your answers


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Questions about MS? We've got the answers...

Got a question you forgot to ask your MS healthcare team?

It's likely we've already got the answer for you.

Check out the huge MS Reporters video library that covers questions on disease modifying drugs, relapses, brain health and many more.

If it's not there already, we'll do you a deal. Send us your question and we'll arrange for an expert to answer it. 
You can always rely on the MS Reporters to seek out the latest info and get answers to the MS community's questions. And this week we're taking things up a level!

From Wednesday 14th September, the MS Reporters will be reporting each day from the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) congress. Head to the
MS Reporters area on www.shift.ms and watch healthcare experts talk to the reporters about hot off the press MS research and developments.

Keep a close eye on our social media channels too, and send us your questions and comments. 

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