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Thursday, October 12, 2017
Nonprofit opens program to provide aid in Puerto Rico, California, and Gulf Coast
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Oct. 12, 2017 - PRLog -- MS Focus today announced an additional allocation of funds to its existing programs that provide help for people with MS in disaster-affected areas, and the opening of a special application period just for clients who are disaster survivors. The organization offers emergency financial assistance and provides medical equipment, cooling supplies, and other needed items and services to improve quality of life for people with MS.
"Since our focus is on providing for the critical needs of people with MS, normally the calls for assistance after a disaster can be handled within the scope of our daily work," said Alan Segaloff, the Foundation's co-executive director. "But the back-to-back disasters – from the hurricanes that have affected Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Gulf coast to the wildfires in California – have increased the demand for our services greatly. As a result, we're allocating additional funds from our emergency reserves specifically to help people with MS in disaster areas."
The organization's Cooling Program, which provides cooling products for people with MS who experience debilitating symptoms when the temperature rises, ended its 2017 cycle on June 1, but a special application period for the program is now being opened for those in disaster zones. "Calls are coming in from people desperately in need of these products in Puerto Rico," Segaloff said. "Because of the difficulties in shipping to the area right now, we're working closely with our friends at Fundación de Esclerosis Múltiple de Puerto Rico to get cooling vests, fans, and other items into the hands of people in need."
Other needs for disaster survivors are being met through the Emergency Assistance Grant, Transportation Assistance Grant, Assistive Technology Program, and other MS Focus services. Residents of disaster areas can use the standard applications for these programs, which are available online at http://www.msfocus.org, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 888-673-6287. No special application is required.
n one of the most comprehensive studies to date, University of British Columbia researchers found an increased risk of events such as stroke, migraine, and depression, as well as abnormalities in the blood when taking beta interferon for multiple sclerosis. Researchers hope their study will lead to further research to develop biomarkers to help identify patients who are at the greatest risk of having an adverse event.
The study’s authors aimed to identify potential adverse events related to beta-interferon treatment for relapsing-remitting MS by analyzing health records of more than 2,000 British Columbians with MS between 1995 and 2008.
The researchers found a 1.8-fold increased risk of stroke, a 1.6-fold increased risk of migraine, and a 1.3-fold increased risk of both depression and abnormalities in the blood. The researchers stress that patients and physicians should not change their treatment plans. The study is based on population-level data and the risk to individual patients will vary greatly depending on individual factors.
In addition to the negative effects, researchers found a reduced risk of bronchitis and upper respiratory infections with taking beta interferon for more than two years. These infections can be common and problematic in people with MS.
According to MSFocus Senior Medical Advisor Dr. Ben Thrower, “Beta interferon therapies have been a mainstay of MS treatment since 1993. This class of drugs includes Betaseron, Extavia, Rebif, Avonex, and Plegridy. This study points out the need to continue safety monitoring with all medications, even those that have been around a while.
The study noted an increased risk of depression and migraine headaches in people with MS treated with beta interferons. In my experience, these medications do not cause depression or migraines, but may worsen them in individuals already affected by those conditions. Regular medical follow-up and blood testing is recommended for those on beta interferon therapy. The point of this study is not to scare anyone away from this class of drugs, but to point out the need for routine follow-ups and monitoring.”
The study was published in the journal Neurology.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
- · The development of biomarker signatures to predict the development of MS.
- · The study of how genetic and environmental factors impact the expression of an individual’s MS.
- · A new model to distinguish Beta-interferon responders and non-responders. Beta-interferon is a first-line treatment used to slow the progression of MS.
- · Longitudinal studies in patients with primary progressive MS to determine markers and mechanisms of disease progression.
- · Novel therapies that moderate immune cell expression, treat inflammation and promote remyelination.
- · Development of a smartphone app to track symptoms for presentation to health care providers and to identify signatures of disease progression.
Disclaimer: MS Views and News provides educational information. We are not associated with this study in any form except to let the MS community know of this important research.
Monday, October 9, 2017
October 6, 2017 - by Ashraf Malhas, PhD