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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Handling Stress - Mind-Body Basics for People with MS

Learning how to get a handle on stress (so it doesn’t manhandle you!) not only helps you manage multiple sclerosis symptoms, it may help you prevent them too.

Mindy Eisenberg was just a child when her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. But she remembers like it was yesterday.
“The philosophy was very different at the time,” Eisenberg, 55, says. “My mother was told not to move, to stay as sedentary as possible.”
Over the next 25 years, Eisenberg watched her mother’s condition slowly deteriorate, until she was largely limited to using a wheelchair or staying in bed. She eventually ended up in a nursing home.
A lot has changed in the decades since Eisenberg’s mother was diagnosed. Not only has modern medicine improved the treatments available for MS, but there's also a much more holistic approach. “Now doctors tell you that you absolutely should move and do whatever you can to stay active,” says Eisenberg, who lives in Franklin, MI. We now know that in addition to improving overall health and quality of life, exercise can directly combat the symptoms of MS.
There’s also a growing awareness of how mind-body therapies can also help people living with MS, says Eisenberg, who runs a nonprofit group called Yoga Moves MS, which offers MS patients yoga and other complementary therapies like mindfulness meditation to help manage their symptoms and reduce stress.

How Exactly Can Mind-Body Therapy Help?

The term “mind-body therapy” refers to a group of healing techniques that can induce relaxation and improve overall health and well-being.
“Mind-body interventions may be an incredibly helpful, low-cost, and low-risk way to help cope with stress and anxiety,” says Kathy Zackowski, Ph.D., an occupational therapist and scientist who serves as senior director of patient management, care, and rehabilitation research for the National MS Society.
Numerous studies have shown the mind can have a big impact on a person’s physical symptoms, Zackowski explains. Stress and anxiety in particular can play a role in increasing MS symptoms, and many people may have a flare-up during especially trying times, she says.
“That’s why mindfulness and resilience training may be really important, because if we can develop strategies to harness the strength of the mind, maybe we can improve our ability to function or temper how our body reacts,” Zackowski explains. “More research is needed in this area, but one goal of such studies would be to see if mind-body therapy may help slow the progress of MS, in addition to improving symptoms.”
Still, even if new science reveals promising results from mind-body therapies, it won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution, Zackowski says. You may need to try several different techniques to see what works for you.

Want to Give Mind-Body Therapy a Try? Start Here

“We don’t know that there’s one mind-body strategy that works better than all the others, so it’s important that people figure out what feels good to them,” Zackowski says.
Options include:
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Acupuncture
  • Hypnosis
  • Music therapy
  • Tai chi or qi gong, which are both forms of moving meditation
  • Guided imagery, in which you’re guided in imagining a relaxing scene or series of experiences
  • Aromatherapy, which uses the scent of concentrated plant oils, known as essential oils, to improve feelings of well-being
  • Mindfulness techniques, which may simply involve being present in the moment or focusing on your breath



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New Study Shows Why Myelin Repair May Fall Short in MS

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Inflammation Can Hijack Brain Repair Cells to Ramp Up Immune Attacks in MS, Researchers Report


Society-funded researchers discover that immature brain cells can be hijacked to act as immune helpers that can ramp up MS-related damage to myelin and suppress its repair. Learn how this game-changing finding may bring us closer to stopping MS.


This Article is Provided by:  #MSViewsandNews

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Economic Factors Amplify Burden of Disease for Patients With Multiple Sclerosis

Sept 2019

While economic issues differ across countries and healthcare systems, a universal concern is that multiple sclerosis (MS) is a costly disease that exerts a significant burden on patients, families, and society as a whole. 

Speaking at the ECTRIMS 2019 Congress in Stockholm, health economist Gisela Kobelt, PhD, MBA, described concepts associated with economic burden in MS. 

"Disease burden for people with MS is related to reduced quality of life through physical suffering, limitations imposed on daily life, loss of work, and anxiety about the future." Economic factors may include loss of income for the patient, care-giving time for the family, and societal costs, which include burden on the healthcare system due to high healthcare utilization.
Not surprisingly, the evidence shows that the burden of disease in MS increases with a patient's level of disability. As the disease progresses, quality of life declines sharply, she explained, but costs increase. "Our aim, therefore, is to try to change the slope of this curve and delay the time it takes for patients to become severely disabled."
Dr. Kobelt presented observational data from the European Burden of Illness Study, a cross-sectional study involving 16,808 people with MS from 16 countries (mean age was 51.5 years, 52% had relapsing MS). Participants reported on their disease, its impact on health-related quality of life, and consumption of healthcare resources. The goal of the study, Dr. Kobelt said, was to assess whether MS management approaches provide value to society. Some of the findings:
  • Work capacity declined from 82% to 8%;
  • Utility declined dramatically from normal levels to less than zero with advancing disease. (In health economics, utility is a quality of life measure in which 0 represents death and 1 represents perfect health);
  • Fatigue was reported by 95% of participants and cognitive difficulties by 71%; both had a significant independent effect on utility;
  • Costs increased by 6-fold for those with the highest level of disability compared with the lowest level.
Previous work by Dr. Kobelt showed that the greatest effects of MS on employment occur at relatively low levels of physical disability. This underscores the report’s recommendation of aiming to alter the disease course through lifestyle measures and early treatment with disease-modifying therapy. "The time to intervene is obviously at the beginning," Dr. Kobelt stressed. "We are not gaining much if we start when disease is advanced or the costs are already high. We really want to intervene early to achieve gains in quality of life and potential cost savings."

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