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Neurology Group Lists Procedures That May Be Unneeded

Posted 8 Mar 2013 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, March 8 – Five tests, procedures and treatments that neurologists and their patients should question are outlined in a list released by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) as part of the Choosing Wisely campaign. "With one in six people affected by a brain disease, such as headache, multiple sclerosis and stroke, our goal is to have patients discuss our Choosing Wisely recommendations regarding medical procedures, therapies, and tests with their neurologists," AAN president Dr. Bruce Sigsbee said in an academy news release. The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation-led Choosing Wisely campaign involves about 35 medical specialty groups and is intended to encourage patients and doctors to discuss appropriate care while avoiding unnecessary tests and treatments. The AAN is one of 17 medical societies that recently released advice lists. Here are the AAN's five ... Read more

Related support groups: Suboxone, Headache, Oxycodone, Methadone, Hydrocodone, Migraine, OxyContin, Vicodin, Morphine, Norco, Fentanyl, Lortab, Codeine, Opana, Multiple Sclerosis, Subutex, Ischemic Stroke, Dilaudid, Opana ER, Butrans

Human Brain Cells Used to Make Mice Smarter

Posted 7 Mar 2013 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, March 7 – Implanting a type of human brain cell into newborn mice makes them "smarter" as adults, scientists have found – an achievement experts say could aid in understanding and treating human brain diseases. It sounds a bit like science fiction, but many studies have looked at the effects of implanting rodent brains with human cells, said Paul Sanberg, a professor of neuroscience at the University of South Florida, in Tampa. What's new here is that researchers were able to implant mice with human brain cells called glial cells, see those cells mature and act like human ones, and see the effects on the mice's learning, said Sanberg, who was not involved in the research. "That's exciting," he said. "The cells were still functioning like human cells, and they actually enhanced aspects of learning." The goal, though, is not to create brainy mice. The hope is to open up new ... Read more

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Brain Scans May Explain Thinking, Memory Problems in Some MS Patients

Posted 6 Mar 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 6 – Besides problems with gait and vision, people who have multiple sclerosis often complain they have trouble remembering things, and now new research may explain why. According to a small study from the Netherlands, people with MS who report memory and thinking problems have more extensive damage to the white matter in their brains than their counterparts with MS who don't report such problems. Up to 70 percent of all people with MS will experience a mental decline at some point, said study author Hanneke Hulst at the VU University Medical Center, in Amsterdam. And the new research "confirmed that cognitive symptoms in MS have a biological basis," Hulst said. The findings were published online March 6 in Neurology. MS is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body attacks myelin, a fatty substance that insulates the nerve fibers of the central nervous system. The ... Read more

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Salty Diet Might Help Trigger MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis

Posted 6 Mar 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 6 – Eating lots of foods loaded with salt may do more than raise your blood pressure: Researchers report that it could also contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases, where the body's immune system mistakenly mounts an attack upon some part of the body. Three new studies suggest salt may be a prime suspect in a wide range of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS), psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis of the spine). A significant increase in the incidence of autoimmune diseases, especially multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes, suggests that environmental factors, and not genetics, may explain the trend, the researchers noted. "The diet does affect the autoimmune system in ways that have not been previously recognized," said senior study author Dr. David Hafler, a professor of neurology and immunobiology at ... Read more

Related support groups: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Rheumatoid Lung

Obesity May Be Linked to MS Risk in Children

Posted 30 Jan 2013 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 – Overweight or obese children, particularly adolescent girls, may face a higher risk for developing multiple sclerosis, new research suggests. And the heavier they are, the greater the risk, the study authors added. The findings are preliminary, but other health risks of being overweight or obese include increased risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease – even in children. "Childhood MS is still extremely rare, but the health implications of being exceedingly obese are well understood," said study author Dr. Annette Langer-Gould, a neurologist at Kaiser Permanente, Southern California, in Pasadena. "This is another reason to help your child lead a healthier lifestyle and lose any excess weight." MS affects between 8,000 and 10,000 children in the United States, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This autoimmune disease occurs ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Multiple Sclerosis

Eye Scan Could Help Track Progress of Multiple Sclerosis

Posted 25 Dec 2012 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Dec. 24 – In-office eye scans that assess the thinning of the retina may also help doctors determine how fast multiple sclerosis (MS) is progressing in patients with the nervous system disease, a new study suggests. The study included 164 MS patients who underwent eye scans every six months for an average of 21 months. The participants also had MRI brain scans at the start of the study and yearly. Patients with MS relapses had 42 percent faster retinal thinning than those with no relapses, the study found. Patients with inflammatory lesions called gadolinium-enhancing lesions had 54 percent faster retinal thinning, and those with new T2 lesions had 36 percent faster thinning, compared to patients who did not have evidence of such lesions on their MRI brain scans, the investigators found. In addition, patients whose disability levels worsened during the study period had 37 ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Diagnosis and Investigation

Marijuana Extract May Not Relieve MS Spasms: Review

Posted 13 Dec 2012 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 12 – A cannabis-based prescription drug called Sativex, used to treat debilitating muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, is the subject of a large new evidence review. Whether the drug – licensed for use in the United Kingdom – actually gets the job done remains uncertain. Cannabinoids are active ingredients in marijuana. Sativex is not currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which considers it an investigational drug as clinical trials are under way. In Britain, Sativex mouth spray is prescribed for patients only as an alternative treatment when standard therapies fail to provide adequate symptom relief. And now a British team's review of previous studies upon which its initial U.K. approval had been granted suggests that although Sativex appeared to offer some benefit, the studies themselves contain design flaws or insufficiencies ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Cannabis

Vitamin D in Pregnancy May Be Key to Women's Risk for MS, Study Says

Posted 19 Nov 2012 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 19 – Pregnant women with higher levels of vitamin D circulating in their blood were significantly less likely to develop multiple sclerosis in the years after giving birth, a new Swedish study suggests. Researchers also found that vitamin D blood levels had decreased gradually since 1975 in those tested, possibly providing clues as to why MS has become more common in industrialized parts of the world. "It seems that vitamin D might help twist the immune system towards a more non-inflammatory state, and this has been suggested as one of the [presumed] mechanisms by which vitamin D might influence MS risk," said study author Dr. Jonatan Salzer, a doctoral student in pharmacology and clinical neuroscience at Umea University. "The finding does, however, need confirmation in a different [group] before it's considered a 'true' finding, as is generally the case with these kinds ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Vitamin D Deficiency, Vitamin D Insufficiency

Month of Birth Might Help Determine MS Risk, Study Suggests

Posted 15 Nov 2012 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 14 – Lower prenatal levels of vitamin D, the "sunshine vitamin," may mean that babies born in April have the highest risk of developing multiple sclerosis later in life while those born in October have the lowest risk, a new study suggests. The findings show that pregnant women who live in countries with low levels of sunlight between October and March should take vitamin D supplements in order to protect their children from MS, according to the researchers. Vitamin D is synthesized naturally by the skin as it makes contact with sunlight. During fall and winter months, however, people in northern countries may not receive sufficient amounts of sunlight on their skin to enable the body to make enough vitamin D, the study authors explained. A team led by Dr. Ram Ramagopalan of Queen Mary University of London analyzed previously published data on nearly 152,000 people with ... Read more

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Cancer Drug Reduced Relapses in MS Patients: Studies

Posted 1 Nov 2012 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Nov. 1 – The cancer drug alemtuzumab (Campath) reduces the risk of disease relapse in people with multiple sclerosis, two new trials show. About 85 percent of multiple sclerosis patients start with a form of the disease called relapsing-remitting MS, where symptoms appear sporadically (a relapse) and then either partially or completely fade away. There is no cure for MS, and existing drugs only aim to reduce the symptoms of the disease. MS occurs when the body's immune system starts to attack the coating of nerve fibers. Alemtuzumab, which is used to treat leukemia and other cancers of the immune system, works by altering the number, proportions and functions of certain types of lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that play a major role in the functioning of the immune system. In these two clinical trials, British researchers led by Alastair Compston of the University of ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Campath, Alemtuzumab

Marijuana Extract May Help Ease Muscle Stiffness in MS: Study

Posted 9 Oct 2012 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Oct. 9 – A marijuana extract appears to ease painful muscle stiffness in people with multiple sclerosis, according to a new British study. Muscle stiffness – which affects up to 90 percent of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients during the course of their disease – reduces mobility, interferes with daily routines and affects sleep. Current treatments often fail to fully relieve symptoms and many MS patients try alternative therapies, including marijuana. In the new study, which included nearly 300 adults with MS from 22 treatment centers in the United Kingdom, patients with stable disease were randomly selected to receive either an extract of the active chemical in marijuana (tetrahydrocannabinol) or an inactive placebo each day for 12 weeks. The treatments were given in gradually increasing daily doses, from 5 milligrams up to a maximum of 25 mg for two weeks, followed by ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Cannabis

Retina's Thickness May Be Tied to Severity of MS, Study Suggests

Posted 1 Oct 2012 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 1 – Using a high-tech imaging process to measure the thickness of the eye's retina may one day predict the progression of multiple sclerosis, a new study suggests. The finding might lead to better ways to judge the effectiveness of treatments because different parts of the retina seem to indicate different aspects of the disease and the toll it takes on different parts of the brain, the researchers said. The report was published online Oct. 1 in the Archives of Neurology. Multiple sclerosis is thought to be an autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system, which consists of the brain, the spinal cord and optic nerves. Symptoms range from mild effects, such as numbness in the limbs, to severe, such as paralysis or blindness. "In treating multiple sclerosis we have been tremendously successful in reducing the number of attacks," said Dr. Ari Green, assistant ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Diagnosis and Investigation

Screening Tool Reveals Two Multiple Sclerosis Types

Posted 26 Sep 2012 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26 – An experimental screening technique finds that multiple sclerosis patients have two different molecular "signatures" that reflect disease severity. This suggests that doctors might one day use this tool to help determine who has a more aggressive form of MS and might need earlier treatment with stronger medications, researchers report. "This study shows there is evidence that we can begin to identify subsets of MS patients, and that we're moving ever-so-slowly to personalizing MS care," said study author Dr. Philip De Jager, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and an associate neurologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. But this screening tool "is not ready for the clinic at this point. It needs to be validated in another trial," De Jager said. He envisions that this test would be one component of a number of tests doctors could use to ... Read more

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New Pill Shows Promise Against Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis

Posted 19 Sep 2012 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 19 – A new pill can help prevent relapse in some people with multiple sclerosis (MS), new research indicates. In two studies, the annualized relapse rate was cut nearly in half with twice-daily use of the new drug currently known as BG-12. One study also found that BG-12 could reduce the progression of disability, while the other study found no statistically significant difference between the drug and placebo for rates of disability. "We found a robust reduction in the annualized relapse rate of 44 percent in the twice-daily group and 51 percent in the thrice-daily group," said Dr. Robert Fox, lead author of one of the studies and medical director at the Mellen Center for MS at the Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio. Fox added that the drug was well tolerated in the clinical trial, and appears to be quite safe. "It's a pill they take twice a day at home, and there was no ... Read more

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Aubagio Approved for Multiple Sclerosis

Posted 13 Sep 2012 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 13 – Aubagio (teriflunomide) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects communication between the brain and other parts of the body. About twice as prevalent in women than men, it's among the most common causes of neurological disability in young adults, the FDA said in a news release. The drug's label contains the FDA's most stringent black box warning, alerting doctors and patients to the possibility of deadly liver problems. Doctors are advised to perform blood tests of liver function before and during treatment, the agency said. Aubagio's label also advises that the drug could harm a developing fetus. So, women of childbearing age must have a negative pregnancy test before beginning treatment and take effective birth control during ... Read more

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