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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

5 Areas of Research That Could Change the Future of MS Treatment


                                                                  
  
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JULY 17, 2017 - BECCA HANDLEY

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the nervous system, disrupting messages between the brain and the rest of the body resulting in a range of physical symptoms. Researchers are constantly working to develop more effective treatments, with the hopes that one day they’ll discover a cure.  According to the MS Society UK, MS research is moving quickly in a number of different areas.



1. Stem Cell Therapy
Due to stem cells’ ability to self-renew, they have the potential to help MS patients. A greater understanding of the myelin-producing stem cells in the brain could lead the way to treatment promoting myelin repair. MS patients suffer from myelin loss, resulting in exposure of nerve fibres which can lead to some of the disabling symptoms associated with the disease.

2. Genetics
Although not the only contributing factor, genetics do play a role in the development of MS. If scientists understand more about the inheritance factors of the disease, they can develop strategies to help prevent people from developing MS or tailor treatments depending on the patient’s genes.

3. Vitamin D
Our bodies need vitamin D to absorb nutrients, particularly calcium which promotes healthy bone growth. MS is more common in countries further from the equator, meaning fewer hours of sunlight and lower levels of vitamin D. Recent research is trying to determine the link between vitamin D and MS, to find out if vitamin D supplements could be used as an effective method of treatment for MS.

4. Myelin Repair
To prevent MS, there needs to be a treatment that can repair the myelin loss MS patients suffer. Myelin is the protective coating around the nerve cells, and without it, the nerve is exposed to damage, exacerbating the progress of the disease. There are a number of myelin research projects underway to help develop a treatment that could stop the progression of MS.

5. Neuroprotection

The latest research has indicated that protecting nerve cells from damage could be a potential strategy to prevent or slow down the progression of MS. The idea would be to develop drugs to protect nerve cells from damage which could slow down or ultimately stop the progression of MS. Experts are currently researching a number of potential treatments which could be used as MS therapies in the future.



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Long-term Use of Ampyra Lowers Medical Costs, Hospital Visits for MS Patients, Study Finds


                                                                  
  
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Written by Ed Tobias

I used Ampyra for a few years and I thought it helped my walking, increasing my speed and stability a bit. So, I’m not surprised that this study reports benefits that I’d expect would follow an improvement of MS systems. But, be aware that this study was paid for by Acorda Therapeutics, the manufacturer of Ampyra.
A recent study has found that continued use of Ampyra (dalfampridine extended-release, sold in the U.S. by Acorda Therapeutics) by patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) lowers both inpatient hospital visits and overall healthcare costs.
Specifically, the authors reported that persistent use of Ampyra was associated with a 3.3% probability of hospital admission compared to 6.4% in patients with non-persistent use.



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Tighter Regulation of Stem Cell Therapies in Use at Clinics Worldwide


                                                                  
  
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July 17, 2017 - by Ed Tobias


I read a lot of comments on various social media sites from MS patients who have traveled outside the U.S. to be treated with stem cells. Some of these patients have reported excellent results and a reversal of symptoms. Others have died.
There’s a new report out, written by 15 scientists from seven countries, that strongly warns against what they call “marketing of unproven stem cell-based interventions.” If you’re considering stem cell therapy, this story by Charles Moore is an important read.
Advertising for stem cell therapies not supported by clinical research — often made directly to patients and sometimes promoted as a “cure” for diseases like multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s — is a growing problem that needs to be addressed and regulated, a team of leading experts say, calling such “stem cell tourism” potentially unsafe.
Stem cell tourism is the unflattering name given to the practice of encouraging patients to travel outside their home country to undergo such treatment, typically performed at a private clinic.
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MMJ BioScience Developing New Multiple Sclerosis Drug


                                                                  
  
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Posted: Jul 19, 2017 4:03 AM EDT
MMJ BioScience is developing one of the first pharmaceutical formulations of cannabidiol (CBD) derived from certain extracts of the cannabis plant. MMJ Bio Science is also beginning Phase 2 studies with a new drug for the treatment of primary progressive multiple sclerosis.
Buffalo, New York (PRWEB) July 19, 2017
MMJ International Holdings, the premier medical cannabis research company that is advancing the science of medical marijuana through patient clinical research and operation of medical cannabis healthcare businesses, today announced that its affiliate MMJ Bioscience, is developing the first pharmaceutical formulation of cannabidiol (CBD) derived from certain extracts of the cannabis plant. MMJ BioScience is also currently beginning Phase 2 studies with a new drug for the treatment of primary progressive multiple sclerosis.
"Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that interferes with your brain's ability to operate your body and it can be disabling. Evidence suggests that the disease happens when your immune system attacks a substance called myelin" stated Denis Harris, MD. "The myelin acts as a type of insulation on your nerve cells. This process can lead to damage in and around the nerves in your brain and spinal cord".
Dr. Harris further stated that "a large percentage of these patients are resistant to currently available treatments and experience multiple symptoms including spasticity and pain. These conditions are difficult to manage and treatment options are currently limited, particularly in PPMS for which there are currently only one FDA-approved treatment.The day-to-day impact of these devastating conditions are significant and, with high rates of mortality."
The MMJ Bio Science team is creating a pipeline of clinical-stage cannabinoid candidates for both orphan and non-orphan indications with a focus on MS neurological conditions.
WHAT IS CANNABIDIOL (CBD)?
The cannabis plant contains more than 100 cannabinoids; the two best characterized are CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant which, in clinical
trials, has shown medical benefit. CBD is being studied for a number of chronic conditions, including multiple sclerosis, due to its potential anti spastic properties. CBD is unlike THC, the component of the marijuana plant that makes people “high.”The fact is that MMJ Bio Science is utilizing a purified pharmaceutical formulation of plant-derived CBD is of particular importance as MMJ BioScience’s formulation is expected to be an indicated use in adults patients with MS.
WHAT IS PHARMACEUTICAL CBD?
Pharmaceutical CBD is a consistent, standardized formulation of CBD that meets chemical purity and quality measures and is studied in randomized, controlled clinical trials with oversight from a recognized regulatory authority, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure safety and efficacy. To date, there are no plant-derived THC & CBD products that meet FDA standards.
MMJ BioScience’s formulation IS NOT MEDICAL MARIJUANA



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The Emotional Roller Coaster of Managing Emotions with MS


                                                                  
  
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July 18, 2017 by Teresa Wright-Johnson In Columns, 
Patiently Awakened - 

I am an emotional, sensitive woman. I like to believe that I have a warm heart in a very cold world. Isn’t this what the world needs? Love, warmth, acceptance and transparency?
The Emotional Roller Coaster of Managing Emotions with MS

Recently I find that my emotions change within a millisecond. So, instead of being sensitive, I am “super sensitive.” I am easily offended, and I also can be the one who offends another. I cry more often. These emotional highs and lows are exhausting. If I had to describe it, my emotions are entangled, like spaghetti. A millisecond is defined as one thousandth of a second. With this definition in mind, it is safe to say that my description of my emotions may be a little exaggerated, yet I want to ensure that I paint a clear picture.
I can proceed from a state of happiness, to anger and even despair within moments. We each have different temperaments and reactions. I am finding that my patience at times can diminish quickly. This, of course, places me in a quandary, as I am on a quest to transform into a peaceful, grateful, “patiently awakened” individual.
I have spoken to others who battle chronic illness. Changes in emotions seem to be a common denominator among us. I sometimes feel as if I am on the verge of an emotional breakdown. It’s as if my emotions lead me to the apex of intolerance, yet there is something that prevents me from losing it completely. If you can imagine this, or if you’ve been here, this is extremely difficult to admit – and even more toilsome to discuss.
Healthline published an article written by Jeri Burtchell and Ana Gotter titled “Understanding and Managing Multiple Sclerosis Mood Swings.” In the overview the writers described the same emotions I mentioned and often experience. “You may be happy one minute and angry the next … these are examples of mood swings, which are common in some people with multiple sclerosis (MS).”

The article goes on to state that “mood swings are a common symptom of MS. But the connection between the disease and emotions often goes unrecognized. It’s easy to see many of the physical effects of MS, such as problems with balance, walking or tremors. In comparison, the emotional impact of the disease is less visible from the outside.”
Continue reading




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Quarter of MS Patients in UK Not Aware of Disease-modifying Treatments, Online Survey Reports


                                                                  
  
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A recent patient survey reveals that almost one in four people with multiple sclerosis in the U.K. are not aware of available treatments that could help delay the onset of disability, even though a clear majority put disability as a chief worry.
The report, funded by Sanofi Genzyme, was conducted by Adelphi Research UK via online questionnaires given 100 healthcare specialists, including neurologists, and 120 patients with all types of multiple sclerosis in 2016. Called “The Missing Pieces,” it reports that 83 percent of relapsing-remitting MS patients ranked preventing progression and disability as their primary concern.  However, 24 percent of those who took part in the survey reported not being aware of treatments that might work to delay MS onset and progressive loss of function.
Only 21 percent of MS patients said they were actually receiving disease-modifying treatments (DMTs), potentially one of the lowest rates in Europe.
Respondents were from England (85 percent), Scotland (7 percent), Wales (7 percent), and Northern Ireland (1 percent), and included RRMSpatients as well as those with secondary progressive and primary progressive MS.
“It  is  essential  that  treatments  are considered in  a  timely  manner  to  increase  the  likelihood  of preventing  long-term  disability  and  ultimately  to  decrease  the  chance  of  MS  impacting  day-to-day quality of life,” Emma Matthews, MS Nurse Specialist at Northampton General Hospital, said in a release published by Sanofi on a company website.


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Turmeric side effects: Health benefits and risks


                                                                  
  
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Last updated Wed 12 July 2017
By Kathryn Watson
Reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT


turmeric root and powder

What is turmeric?

Turmeric, sometimes called Indian saffron or the golden spice, is a tall plant that grows in Asia and Central America.
The turmeric that we see on shelves and in spice cabinets is made of the ground roots of the plant. The bright yellow color of processed turmeric has inspired many cultures to use it as a dye. Ground turmeric is also a major ingredient in curry powder. Capsules, teas, powders, and extracts are some of the turmeric products available commercially.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, and it has powerful biological properties. Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional Indian system of treatment, recommends turmeric for a variety of health conditions. These include chronic pain and inflammation. Western medicine has begun to study turmeric as a pain reliever and healing agent.

Keep reading to find out more about how turmeric might benefit your health, as well as some of its negative side effects.



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MS risk reduced by breast-feeding, study suggests


                                                                  
  
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a woman breastfeeding her newborn baby
New study identifies a link between breast-feeding and a lower risk of developing MS.

Breast-feeding for 15 months or longer may prevent mothers from developing multiple sclerosis at a later point. The team warns that correlation does not imply causation, but they encourage breast-feeding as a good practice.
Data made available through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 2016 Breastfeeding Report Card show that breast-feeding rates in the United States are on the rise.
With women being twice as likely as men to develop multiple sclerosis (MS), it is important to understand what, if any, links there are between the condition and aspects of motherhood.
Fortunately, MS relapses have been found to decrease in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, though it is said that they tend to increase again in the first 3 to 6 months postpartum.
Breast-feeding has been linked both to a risk of relapse and a drop in MS relapses, making it a controversial topic over time. A new study by Dr. Annette Langer-Gould, from Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena, looks at whether or not breast-feeding can protect new mothers from developing MS.

The findings were recently reported in the online issue of Neurology.

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Fighting in Court Over MS Generics


                                                                  
  
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Biogen is a big pharmaceutical company that produces a half-dozen MS drugs. Among them are TysabriAvonex and Tecfidera. And Biogenis doing all it can to protect its turf, particularly when it comes to its best seller, Tecfidera.
Last month the company filed lawsuits against several pharmaceutical companies that are trying to develop generic versions of Tecfidera. According to an article in the Boston Business Journal, in the five days between June 26-30 Biogen filed 26 patent-infringement lawsuits in federal court against several competitors, including Mylan Pharmaceuticals and Sandoz.
The patents involved in the lawsuits expire over the next 10 years. In its suit against Sandoz, Biogen claims  it “will suffer substantial and irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law” if the court allows a generic version of Tecfidera to be marketed right now.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Red Wine Eases MS Symptoms, Increases Lesion Volume


                                                                  
  
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Mult Scler Relat Disord; ePub 2017 Jun 27; Diaz-Cruz, et al
July 18, 2017

Higher total alcohol and red wine intake were associated with a lower cross-sectional level of neurologic disability in persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) but increased T2 hyperintense lesion volume (T2LV) accumulation, according to a recent study. MS patients (n=923) enrolled in the Comprehensive Longitudinal Investigation of Multiple Sclerosis at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (CLIMB) who completed a self-administered questionnaire about their past year drinking habits at a single time point were included in the study. Alcohol and red wine consumption were measured as servings/week. Researchers found:

Compared to abstainers, patients drinking >4 drinks per week had a higher likelihood of a lower Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score and lower Multiple Sclerosis Severity Score (MSSS) at the time of the questionnaire.

Similarly, patients drinking >3 glasses of red wine per week had greater odds of a lower EDSS and lower MSSS compared to nondrinkers.
However, a faster increase in T2LV was observed in patients consuming 1–3 glasses of red wine per week compared to nondrinkers.

Citation:

Diaz-Cruz C, Chua AS, Malik MT, et al. The effect of alcohol and red wine consumption on clinical and MRI outcomes in multiple sclerosis. [Published online ahead of print June 27, 2017]. Mult Scler Relat Disord. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2017.06.011.

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