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Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Tisch MS Research news:

New York, NY – February 6, 2018 – Researchers at Tisch MS Research Center of New York (Tisch MSRCNY) have shown a stem cell-based treatment may reverse disability in progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). Results of the study add to the existing evidence demonstrating the safety and tolerability of intrathecal (injected into the spinal canal) administration of autologous mesenchymal stem cell-derived neural progenitors (MSC-NPs). The study has been published in EBioMedicine, a partnership between Cell Press and The Lancet.
MS is an immune-mediated demyelinating disease of the central nervous system and is one of the leading causes of disability in young adults. Cell therapy is emerging as a therapeutic strategy to promote repair and regeneration in patients with disability associated with progressive MS.
“The results from our study justify the initiation of a planned FDA-approved Phase II trial in a larger group of patients,” said Dr. Saud A. Sadiq, Director and Chief Research Scientist at Tisch MSRCNY. “We anticipate that these novel studies may form the therapeutic basis of reversing disability in patients with MS and if successful, these studies could have positive implications for treating other neurological diseases,” he added.
In the post-treatment efficacy analysis, study participants demonstrated a reversal of disability as determined by improved median expanded disability status scale (EDSS). In addition, of the 20 subjects, 70% had greater muscle strength and 50% exhibited improved bladder function.
“Our study was uniquely associated with repeated administrations of fresh, not cryopreserved cells, which may have contributed to the observed efficacy of the treatment,” said Dr. Violaine Harris, Senior Research Scientist at Tisch MSRCNY. “The protocol we created allowed for delivery of these stem cells within thirty minutes of harvesting the cells,” she stated.
This stem cell research has been conducted by Dr. Sadiq and his team since 2001. The study entitled, “Phase I Trial of Intrathecal Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Derived Neural Progenitors in Progressive Multiple Sclerosis,” was a culmination of over a decade of work. As a result of these promising developments, the FDA-approved Phase II study will commence to establish efficacy. Tisch MSRCNY has invested $5 million to build a new Regenerative Medicine Laboratory where all aspects of this innovative research and treatment will take place.


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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Nine Hole Peg Test (9HPT): How we measure arm function in MS [2018]

Jan 2018

CLICK to view

Arm function is important in Multiple Sclerosis! How can we measure it? The answer is the nine hole peg test. It’s a brief standardized and quantitative measure of upper extremity function which is commonly used in clinical trials. It can easily be used in clinic as well (we use it with almost every PwMS every visit). Ohio Health MS center team members demonstrate how to perform the nine hole peg test. (NB: Please make sure that you set up the peg-board so that the side where the pegs rest (before you place them in the pegs ) is on the same side as the hand you are testing. In our haste we forgot to turn the peg board around!)



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Healthy Diet, Lifestyle Linked with Less Disability

Neurology; ePub 2017 Dec 6; Fitzgerald, et al
December 19, 2017

A healthy diet and a composite healthy lifestyle are associated with lesser disability and symptom burden in multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a recent study. In 2015, participants in the North American Research Committee on MS (NARCOMS) Registry completed a dietary screener questionnaire that estimates intake of fruits, vegetables and legumes, whole grains, added sugars, and red/processed meats. Researchers constructed an overall diet quality score for each individual based on these food groups; higher scores denoted a healthier diet. They assessed whether a composite healthy lifestyle measure, a healthier diet, healthy weight (body mass index <25), routine physical activity, and abstinence from smoking was associated with symptom severity. They found:

  • Of the 7,639 (68%) responders, 6,989 reported physician-diagnosed MS and provided dietary information.
  • Participants with diet quality scores in the highest quintile had lower levels of disability and lower depression scores.
  • Individuals reporting a composite healthy lifestyle had lower odds of reporting severe fatigue, depression, pain, or cognitive impairment.

Fitzgerald KC, Tyry T, Salter A, et al. Diet quality is associated with disability and symptom severity in multiple sclera. [Published online ahead of print December 6, 2017]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000004768.



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Monday, February 5, 2018

Mapi Pharma Doses First PPMS Patient in Phase 2 Trial Evaluating GA Depot

February 1, 2018

The Phase 2a trial of GA Depot (glatiramer acetate) for the treatment of primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) has dosed the first patient, Mapi Pharma recently announced.
In the U.S., Copaxone (glatiramer acetate injection, marketed by Teva Pharmaceutical) is the standard therapy for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), which is the most prevalent type of the disease.
GA Depot, Israel-based Mapi’s lead product, also contains glatiramer acetate and is a long-acting depot formulation injection given once every four weeks, compared to Copaxone’s more frequent daily or three times a week dosage.
PPMS is characterized by a gradual deterioration of neurologic function starting with the onset of symptoms, without early relapses or remissions. The prospective, multicenter Phase 2a trial (NCT03362294) will address GA Depot’s safety and efficacy in slowing the progression of disability in PPMS patients.
The study will be open label, which means that both investigators and participants know what drug is being administered, and that no placebo control is used.


Researchers Identify Testosterone-triggered Molecule that Protects Men from MS

Feb 1, 2018

A molecule triggered by the male hormone testosterone protects male mice from developing multiple sclerosis, Northwestern Medicine researchers report.
Their discovery may help explain why MS affects more women than men. It could also lead to targeted therapies to protect women against the disease.
The incidence of MS is three to four times higher in women than in men. Sex also determines the age at which the disease strikes and the course it takes.
Scientists knew these differences stemmed from the much higher testosterone levels in men, but they didn’t know the mechanism that caused the difference.
A research team led by Melissa Brown, a microbiology and immunology professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, used mice models of MS to explore the subject.
They found that, in male mice, testosterone could prompt immune cells called mast cells to produce the signaling molecule interleukin-33, or IL-33. The molecule promoted a cascade of cell signals that prevented the activation of inflammation-generating Th17 immune cells. Th17 cells play a key role in the destruction of nerve cells’ protective myelin layer — a hallmark of MS.
To further demonstrate IL-33’s nerve-cell-protective effect, the team blocked the activity of the molecule in male mice. This led to their MS symptoms quickly worsening.


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MS Spasticity and You: Five Stretches You Should Try (and Why)


An estimated 85 percent of people with MS experience some type of spasticity due to the disease, according to a recent report (p/w) published in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.
Why is that important? Because spasticity is behind many of the disease’s most debilitating physical, emotional and mental challenges.

According to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, spasticity is “a tightness or stiffness of the muscles” that occurs most commonly in the legs, groin and buttocks and occasionally in the back, muscles that profoundly affect our ability to stand upright, walk and balance ourselves.
Worse, spasticity’s effects can negatively influence quality of life in those with MS, and can lead to anxiety, depression and low self-esteem, while affecting relationships, employment, fatigue, bladder dysfunction and more.
Since spasticity tends to affect lower extremities more, these stretches focus on hips, calves, ankles and feet. They are meant to be introductions to stretching routines that may alleviate spasticity but are by no means comprehensive or make up a complete routine (see your physical therapist for that).

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Minority Engagement in MS Research


Engaging all types of people for research isn’t just a nice thought. It is critical to obtaining research results that will be meaningful. Middle-aged white women are often the people who volunteer for studies. Men, young people, and most significantly, people of color, lack representation in studies.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Overall, few people actually sign up for and participate in trials, and those who do participate don’t always represent the U.S. population. Participation is especially low for certain populations, including adults age 75 or older and people from certain racial and ethnic groups.”

Minority Engagement in MS Research

According to Hollie Schmidt, vice president of scientific operations at the Accelerated Cure Project (ACP) for multiple sclerosis, the project has received an engagement award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to address the issue of underrepresentation of minority groups in MS research.
“With this funding, we formed the MS Minority Research Engagement Partnership Network with a number of other individuals and organizations including Anita Williams and Shawn Feliciano, who are the group’s MS advisors,” Schmidt said.
Williams and Feliciano also participate in iConquerMS, a patient-led research network for which I am a lead patient representative.
The network conducted a survey of people with MS last summer, and have produced a report about the results titled, “MS Minority Research Engagement Partnership Network: Opinions and Experiences About Research.”

Diversity in trials and studies

This study was a priority, according to Williams, because “as we learn more about multiple sclerosis, it has become apparent that People of Color (POC) are affected at higher rates than previously believed. This fact means it is imperative for the research community to make diversity a priority when populating research and clinical trials.”
Schmidt added, “At Accelerated Cure Project, we have seen an imbalance in enrollment into iConquerMS. Although we don’t know the exact proportion of racial and ethnic groups in MS, it seems clear that we’ve had more success recruiting non-Hispanic Caucasians than other groups. This is a problem because it means our research results won’t apply to everyone equally, and therefore won’t benefit everyone equally. This is also a problem for clinical trials and any type of study that could lead to new breakthroughs for people with MS. We won’t know how well those breakthroughs can benefit different groups of people with MS if the studies don’t include those groups.”



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What's causing Cognitive Fatigue (cog fog) in Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

What's causing Cognitive Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis.

DrB reviewed contributing factors to cognitive problems amongst PwMS.

Some factors are outside our control, but many are things that can be optimized. Factors such as depression, anxiety, social isolation, poor sleep, drugs and alcohol, polypharmacy, and many more.

Check out this short video and please leave your questions and comments below!

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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Bladder Life Hack: Tip For Better Bladder Control

Feb 4, 2018 - with Aaron Boster, MD

Neurogenic bladder is all to common in MS and can lead to urgency (gotta go! gotta go NOW!), frequency (going to potty way too often), nocturia (getting up at night to pee) and urinary incontinence! Nobody's got time for all that!
Here we review a simple, easy tip to improve bladder control: TIMING YOUR VOIDS. Start scheduling visits to the commode every 2 hours while awake. You can then shorten or lengthen the interval between scheduled bathroom breaks based on your need For example: When you schedule voids every 2 hours you don't h have to go, but when you wait 4 hours you have urinary urgency and almost wet yourself! Based on this, try scheduling bathroom breaks every 3 hours!) We hope you find this video helpful! Please leave your questions and comments below! Say Howdy in Social: OhioHealth MS Center: http://ow.ly/GSUX30i2mtG

Related MS Bladder Content: Link to Pelvic Floor PT lecture: http://ow.ly/A78h30ibK2a Link to Bowel & Bladder lecture: http://ow.ly/XnnA30ibK4U Link to Bladder Hygiene: https://youtu.be/dK4nwayPAbY Link to Bowel Hygiene: https://youtu.be/63hl9NOd22E Link to Tip for Sexual Dysfunction: https://youtu.be/q5E5wYI-7SM Link to MS Life Hacks Playlist: http://ow.ly/rvus30ibK0N


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MS Views and News provides Multiple Sclerosis education, information, resources and services that will benefit many affected by MS. 
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Novartis PARADIGMS data show children and adolescents with MS had an 82% lower relapse rate with Gilenya® vs. interferon beta-1a

Oct 28, 2017

PARADIGMS data also show patients treated with Gilenya had significantly fewer new brain lesions vs. those on interferon beta-1a 

Currently there are no specifically approved disease modifying therapies for children and adolescents with MS, a population at high risk of long-term disability

MS is a highly debilitating disease which touches every aspect of young patients' daily lives, from school performance to family relations and friendships.



MS Views and News provides Multiple Sclerosis education, information, resources and services that will benefit many affected by MS
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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Is Multiple Sclerosis Hereditary? (What’s my kids risk of MS)

By:  Aaron Boster  --

Published on Feb 4, 2018

Is Multiple Sclerosis Hereditary? What’s my kids risk of MS? The risk of Multiple Sclerosis in the general population depends on geography. Where I live in the midwestern United States that risk is about 1:700. The risk for the first degree relative (parent, sibling, or child) to get MS if you have it is about 1-3%. That's a lot higher than the risk to the general population, but still quite low in absolute numbers. There is some data to support certain environmental factors that might probably worsen then genetic risk to develop MS in children of people with MS. These factors include morbid obesity, tobacco exposure including second hand smoke, and low/ low normal vitamin D3. A PwMS considering pregnancy and raising a child is encouraged to discuss each of these factors with their own MS provider. (Please remember that as science advances, the information above will certainly become outdated in the future I'm sure) ~~ Aaron Boster, MD ~~


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Study by Society-supported Researchers Hints at Why Men Tend to Get MS Less Often Than Women

January 31, 2018
A happy mistake in the lab of immunologist Melissa Brown, PhD (Northwestern University) has led to an important new discovery that might help explain why men get MS less frequently than women, and may ultimately lead to a whole new treatment approach for people with MS. Dr. Brown and her National MS Society-supported team were conducting lab studies to understand the effect of a genetic mutation that prevented female mice from getting an MS-like disease. When male mice with this mutation were accidently used, the researchers saw that, unlike females, it caused them to get worse disease.

Instead of scrapping the results, Dr. Brown focused on their possible meaning. The team found that this mutation knocks out a biological pathway that uses an immune messenger protein, called “IL-33,” that is normally stimulated by testosterone.  When females were given IL-33, they were surprisingly protected from developing MS-like disease. Dr. Brown has successfully leveraged the discovery to gain a new research grant from the National Institutes of Health.