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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

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis

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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FDA Approves New Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Aubagio

Posted 12 Sep 2012 by Drugs.com

September 12, 2012 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Aubagio (teriflunomide), a once-a-day tablet for the treatment of adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). “In a clinical trial, the relapse rate for patients using Aubagio was about 30 percent lower than the rate for those taking a placebo,” said Russell Katz, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Multiple sclerosis can impair movement, sensation, and thinking, so it is important to have a variety of treatment options available to patients.” MS is a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body. It is among the most common causes of neurological disability in young adults and occurs at least twice as frequently in women as in men ... Read more

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Study Casts Doubt on Link Between MS and Vein Trouble

Posted 21 Aug 2012 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Aug. 21 – Changes in blood flow due to abnormalities in veins draining from the brain are not linked to multiple sclerosis, according to a new study. Researchers in Italy found that compromised blood flow in the veins that drain blood from the brain are not associated with the severity of multiple sclerosis (MS), which can cause numbness, trouble moving, blurred vision and fatigue, as well as problems with thinking and memory. The researchers, from University of Rome Tor Vergata, noted that their findings challenge previous speculation that the condition, called chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), is specific to MS and can be treated with endovascular procedures such as stents. Researchers compared the brain blood flow of 39 people with MS to that of 26 healthy people. Twenty-five of the MS patients and 14 of the healthy people met the criteria for CCSVI. The ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis

In Mice, Alzheimer's-Linked Protein Shows Promise Against MS

Posted 1 Aug 2012 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 1 – The amyloid beta protein, long tied to Alzheimer's disease, may actually help reverse paralysis and inflammation in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). So finds a study involving mice, conducted by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine. While attempting to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, they unexpectedly stumbled upon this promising new avenue for the treatment of MS. "There probably is a multiple sclerosis drug in all this somewhere down the line," study senior author Dr. Lawrence Steinman speculated in a university news release. The study is published online Aug. 1 in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Amyloid beta is the chief component of the plaques that accumulate in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. This substance builds up during the normal aging process or following a brain injury. It is also found in ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's Disease

FDA Medwatch Alert: Ampyra (dalfampridine): Drug Safety Communication - Seizure Risk for Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Posted 23 Jul 2012 by Drugs.com

ISSUE: FDA is updating health care professionals and the public about the risk of seizures in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who are starting Ampyra (dalfampridine). Using information received from post-market adverse event reports, FDA recently evaluated seizure risk in MS patients taking Ampyra (dalfampridine).  The majority of seizures happened within days to weeks after starting the recommended dose and occurred in patients having no history of seizures. The FDA is updating the Ampyra drug label to clarify recommendations. BACKGROUND: Ampyra was approved to improve walking in patients with MS. Seizures are a known side effect of Ampyra, and seizure risk increases with higher blood levels of the drug.  Ampyra is eliminated from the body through the kidneys, and patients with kidney impairment may develop higher blood levels of the drug, thereby increasing their seizure risk.  R ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Ampyra, Dalfampridine

Drug Widely Used to Treat MS May Not Slow Progression

Posted 17 Jul 2012 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, July 17 – Interferon beta, a widely used treatment for multiple sclerosis, does not stave off the time to disability, new research finds. However, prior studies have found that interferon beta does reduce MS flare ups, so patients should continue taking it, researchers said. The new study is published in the July 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. In multiple sclerosis, the body's immune system attacks myelin, or the substance that insulates nerve fibers of the central nervous system. The damage disrupts nerve signals traveling to and from the brain, which can lead to numbness, movement difficulties, blurred vision, fatigue and eventually, problems with thinking and memory. About 85 percent of those with multiple sclerosis start with a relapsing-remitting course, in which attacks are followed by partial or total recovery, according to the National ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Avonex, Rebif, Betaseron, Interferon Beta-1A, Extavia, Interferon Beta-1B, Avonex Prefilled Syringe

Scientists Pinpoint Antibody That May Be Specific to MS Patients

Posted 11 Jul 2012 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, July 11 – Researchers have identified an antibody found in the blood of about half of patients with multiple sclerosis that is not found in people without the autoimmune disease. The implications of the antibody's presence aren't fully understood. But in rodents, the antibody binds to and damages brain cells that are known to be important to neurological function, according to the study. Although the research is preliminary, experts say the findings may open the door for a blood test that could more easily diagnosis multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. The results also suggest a new target for MS treatments that would prevent the antibody from binding to brain cells. "We have known for a long time that antibodies were involved in the destruction of nervous system tissue in MS, but we have not had a good handle on what the target was for these antibodies," said Timothy Coetzee, ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis

Does Stress Management Slow MS?

Posted 11 Jul 2012 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, July 11 – When researcher David Mohr began working with people with multiple sclerosis about 20 years ago, patients would tell him that stress made their disease worse. At the time, most physicians didn't believe there was a connection, he said. But a study published online July 11 in Neurology adds to growing evidence that suggests a link between stress and flare-ups of the neurological disease. The research shows that participating in weekly stress management therapy prevented the development of new brain lesions, indicators of the impact of the disease in the brain. But not long after the treatment stopped, new brain lesions appeared. "It's clear that stress plays an important role in multiple sclerosis, and therapy may be a useful additional treatment, along with drug therapy," said Mohr, author of the study and professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University ... Read more

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