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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Machine Learning Platform Can Accurately Predict Onset of MS, Maker Says

The platform was validated using a pilot study that assessed the healthcare claims of 20 million people in New York, which encompassed four billion data points. IQuity focused on using these data to predict the onset of MS.
Results showed that the approach was able to predict, with greater than 90 percent accuracy, the onset of MS within the New York population at least eight months before traditional methods would enable a diagnosis of the disease.
Earlier diagnosis in MS patients, as well as other patient populations, would lead to significant benefits in outcomes and also to financial savings, particularly as healthcare spending tends to increase prior to obtaining a definite diagnosis.
That is why the development of this new technology may lead to an improvement in patient outcomes, while also lowering healthcare costs.
Consequently, this platform is attractive to organizations that are responsible for healthcare expenses, such as employers, benefit managers, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and care management companies.
Read More


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Monday, July 30, 2018

More on Gilenya® as the first disease-modifying therapy for pediatric relapsing multiple sclerosis

In May 2018, Novartis announced FDA approval of Gilenya® as the first disease-modifying therapy for the treatment of children and adolescents 10 to less than 18 years of age with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS), making it the first disease-modifying therapy indicated for these patients[2].

This approval expands the age range for Gilenya, which was previously approved for patients aged 18 years and older with RMS. Gilenya was granted Breakthrough Therapy designation by the FDA in December of 2017 for this pediatric indication.

Read entire article 



• African-Americans Show Better Adherence and Satisfaction with Gilenya Than Injectable DMTs, Phase 4 Study Finds

JULY 30, 2018    by:  Jose Marques Lopes, PhD

Gilenya and treatment retention

African-Americans with relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) show higher adherence and greater satisfaction when treated with oral Gilenya (fingolimod, by Novartis) than with injectable therapies, according to a new study.
Although the efficacy and safety of injectable disease-modifying therapies (iDMTs) used as first-line treatments for relapsing forms of MS are well-established, patients are also known from real-world studies to often discontinue using them and become non-adherent to these therapies. Research has shown that poor treatment retention, which includes adherence to and persistence in use over the long term, is key for better outcomes in MS.
To optimize treatment, clinicians need information on the efficacy, safety, tolerability, and convenience of therapies in specific patient groups.
Studies show that African-American MS patients can have a more aggressive disease course than Caucasians, including a greater likelihood of disability accumulation. Although not widely studied for MS, this patient population in diseases like hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma are known to have lower treatment retention rates than those of other patient groups.
The Phase 4 PREFERMS study (NCT01623596), sponsored by Novartis, randomized about 850 RRMS patients ages 8–65 to oral Gilenya or an injectable DMT. Its goal was  to better understand retention to treatment with Gilenya in specific populations. All enrolled had either never taken any iDMT previously or only one such medication; patients allowed one treatment switch after 12 weeks or earlier for safety or efficacy reasons.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Enzyme Key to Myelin Renewal and Nerve Cell Health Possibly Identified in Study

PRMT5 and oligodendrocytesA better understanding of the processes behind a continual and healthy renewal of myelin — the fatty, protective substance wrapping nerve cell fibers — may now exist. Researchers identified an enzyme, called PRMT5, that they believe regulates the number of myelin-producing cells in the brain and spinal cord. Their discovery may also open new ways

 Led by researchers at the Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC) at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), the study “PRMT5-mediated regulation of developmental myelination” was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Nerve cells communicate with each other via electrical impulses, transmitting messages from the brain to the rest of the body and vice-versa. To do so, they need the myelin sheath that surrounds their fibers (axons) to protect them from damage and to allow a healthy flow of electrical pulses.
Oligodendrocytes are the cells responsible for producing myelin in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Because of this crucial role, their number and activity are tightly regulated.

Previous studies demonstrated that the PRMT5 enzyme is present in the brain and enriched in oligodendrocytes and their progenitor cells — cells in an early and immature state that have yet to specialize. But PRMT5’s role in these cells was unclear.

Potential new MS drug could regenerate myelin

Thursday 19 July 2018

New research could lead to treatments for multiple sclerosis that regenerate myelin, the fatty coating that insulates nerve fibers and protects signals between brain cells.

Scientists from the University at Buffalo in New York find that the receptor muscarinic type 3 (M3R) is a "key regulator" of remyelination, which is the process that replenishes lost myelin.

M3R is found on the surface of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), the precursors to the cells that make myelin.
A receptor is a cell-surface protein that triggers certain cell functions when it encounters and binds to a matching unique molecule.
The scientists showed that blocking M3R increased remyelination in mice that had human OPCs transplanted into them.
Senior study author Fraser J. Sim, an associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology, and his colleagues report their findings in a paper now published in The Journal of Neuroscience.
As myelin is destroyed, it forms lesions that weaken signals that travel along the nerve fibers, leading to disrupted communication between brain cells. Scientists have learned that the disease also damages the nerve cells themselves.

How cannabis and cannabis-based drugs harm your brain

July 23, 2018
Lancaster University
Long-term use of either cannabis or cannabis-based drugs impairs memory, say researchers. Their study has implications for both recreational users and people who use the drug to combat epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.
Long-term use of either cannabis or cannabis-based drugs impairs memory say researchers.
The study has implications for both recreational users and people who use the drug to combat epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.

They found that mice exposed to the drug long-term had "significant ... memory impairments" and could not even discriminate between a familiar and novel object.

There is little understanding of the potential negative side effects of long-term cannabinoid exposure, though it is already known that heavy, regular cannabis use increases the risk of developing mental health problems including psychosis and schizophrenia.

More and more people are using the drug long-term due to its legalisation in several countries, while more potent varieties are available for recreational users.

Researchers from Lancaster and Lisbon Universities studied the effects of the cannabinoid drug WIN 55,212-2 in mice and found that:
Long-term exposure impairs learning and memory in the animals. Brain imaging studies showed that the drug impairs function in key brain regions involved in learning and memory. Long-term exposure to the drug impairs the ability of brain regions involved in learning and memory to communicate with each other, suggesting that this underlies the negative effects of the drug on memory

Video: Best medications for MS symptoms - Opinion by Dr. Aaron Boster, MD

Personal Opinions from Aaron Boster, MD

Best Medication For MS Symptoms: People with MS can suffer from a myriad of chronic neurological symptoms. In this video I share my personal opinions on my favorite medications to tackle common MS symptoms. These include medications for spasticity, depression, neurogenic bladder, urinary retention, constipation, erectile dysfunction, heat sensitivity, fatigue and insomnia.

LEARN about MS with Aaron Boster MD


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