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New DNA Discoveries Advance MS Research

Posted 1 Oct 2013 by

TUESDAY, Oct. 1 – An international team of scientists has identified 48 new genetic variants associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study says. The findings bring to 110 the number of genetic variants linked to MS and offer new insight into the biology of the progressive neurological disease. The genes pinpointed in the new study underline the central role played by the immune system in the development of MS and show significant overlap with genes known to be involved in other autoimmune diseases, according to the study, which was published online Sept. 29 in the journal Nature Genetics. The International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium included 193 investigators in 13 countries. They analyzed DNA from more than 29,000 people with MS and nearly 51,000 people without the disease, making it the largest MS study ever undertaken. Although there are now 110 genetic variants ... Read more

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FDA Medwatch Alert: Gilenya (fingolimod) - Drug Safety Communication: Investigating Rare Brain Infection

Posted 29 Aug 2013 by

ISSUE: FDA is alerting the public that a patient in Europe diagnosed with possible multiple sclerosis (MS) has developed a rare and serious brain infection after taking the drug Gilenya (fingolimod). This is the first case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), reported following the administration of Gilenya to a patient who had not previously received Tysabri (natalizumab), an MS drug associated with a higher risk of PML. BACKGROUND: PML is a rare and serious brain infection caused by the John Cunningham (JC) virus that damages the fatty covering of the brain called myelin. PML usually causes death or severe disability. Gilenya is used to treat relapsing forms of MS, a nervous system disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Novartis reports that approximately 71,000 patients worldwide have been treated with Gilenya. RECOMMENDATION: Patients should not stop taking ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Gilenya, Fingolimod

Controversial Theory Behind Possible MS Cause Refuted

Posted 14 Aug 2013 by

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 14 – New research finds that there is no evidence that multiple sclerosis is associated with reduced or blocked blood flow in the veins of the head or neck. The study results challenge a controversial theory that a condition called chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) – a narrowing of veins that drain blood from the brain and upper spinal cord – is associated with MS. The theory also holds that patients would benefit from using balloon angioplasty or stents to widen the veins, a treatment called liberation therapy. However, this Canadian study of 100 people with MS found no abnormalities in the veins in their neck or brain. The findings were published online Aug. 14 in the journal PLoS One. Each patient underwent ultrasound and an MRI of brain and neck veins on the same day. The research team included a radiologist and two ultrasound technicians who ... Read more

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New Kind of Therapy Shows Early Promise in MS Patients

Posted 5 Jun 2013 by

WEDNESDAY, June 5 – A new therapy for multiple sclerosis that teaches the body to recognize and then ignore its own nerve tissue appears to be safe and well-tolerated in humans, a small new study shows. If larger studies prove the technique can slow or stop the disease, the therapy would be a completely new way to treat autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and type 1 diabetes. Most treatments for MS and other autoimmune diseases work by broadly suppressing immune function, leaving patients vulnerable to infections and cancers. The new treatment targets only the proteins that come under attack when the immune system fails to recognize them as a normal part of the body. By creating tolerance to only a select few proteins, researchers hope they will be able to cure the disease but leave the rest of the body's defenses on guard. "This is important work," said Dr. Lawrence ... Read more

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Blacks May Face Higher Risk of MS Than Whites

Posted 6 May 2013 by

MONDAY, May 6 – Black Americans may be at higher risk for multiple sclerosis than whites, according to study findings that contradict a widely held belief that blacks are less likely to develop the neurological disease. The theory that blacks are less likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) than whites was based on faulty evidence, the study authors said. For the new study, the researchers examined three years of data from more than 3.5 million members of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California health plan and identified 496 people who were diagnosed with MS during that time. The investigators found that blacks had a 47 percent increased risk of MS compared with whites, while Hispanics and Asians had a 58 percent and 80 percent lower risk than whites. The higher risk in blacks was seen only in women, while the lower risk for Hispanics and Asians was seen in both sexes. Black women ... Read more

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Shrinkage of Brain Region May Signal Onset of Multiple Sclerosis

Posted 23 Apr 2013 by

TUESDAY, April 23 – Atrophy of a key brain area may become a new biomarker to predict the onset of multiple sclerosis, researchers say. If so, that would add to established criteria such as the presence of brain lesions to diagnose the progressive, incurable disorder. Using special MRI images, scientists from three continents found that the thalamus – which acts as a "relay center" for nervous-system signals – had atrophied in nearly 43 percent of patients who had suffered an initial neurological episode that often comes before a multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis. "The telling appearance of lesions, which is a hallmark of the disease, is only part of the pathology," said study author Dr. Robert Zivadinov, director of the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center at the University of Buffalo, in New York. "Our finding is more related to [initiating] clinical trials, to using thalamic ... Read more

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Babies' Birth Month May Affect MS Risk: Study

Posted 8 Apr 2013 by

MONDAY, April 8 – A newborn's immune system development, vitamin D levels and risk for multiple sclerosis may be influenced by the month of birth, new research suggests. A study conducted in London found that babies born in May have significantly lower levels of vitamin D and a potentially greater risk for developing MS than babies born in November. Multiple sclerosis is a disabling neurological condition that can lead to problems with vision, muscle control, hearing and memory. The findings suggest that more research is needed to explore the benefits of prenatal vitamin D supplements, according to the report, published in the April 8 issue of the journal JAMA Neurology. The study involved cord blood samples taken from 50 babies born in November and 50 more samples taken from babies born in May between 2009 and 2010. The samples were collected in London, where the "month of birth" ... Read more

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Tecfidera Approved for Multiple Sclerosis

Posted 28 Mar 2013 by

THURSDAY, March 28 – Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) capsules have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is an autoimmune disease where your body mistakenly attacks and damages the protective covering around your nerve cells. Signals between your brain and body are slowed or blocked altogether by this damage. Most people with the disease have relapses, followed by periods of remission, the FDA said in a news release. Among the most common causes of neurological disability, the disease affects more women than men, often beginning between the ages of 20 and 40. Common symptoms of MS include muscle weakness and problems with coordination and balance. Two clinical trials of Tecfidera demonstrated that people who took the drug had fewer MS relapses than those who took a placebo, the agency said. Recorded side effects ... Read more

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FDA Approves New Multiple Sclerosis Drug

Posted 28 Mar 2013 by

THURSDAY, March 28 – A new drug called Tecfidera has been approved to treat adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. The approval is based on the results of two clinical trials showing that patients who took Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) capsules had fewer MS relapses than those who took an inactive placebo. One of the trials also showed that a worsening of MS-related disability occurred less often in patients who took the drug than in those who took the placebo. "Tecfidera will be a welcome addition to the growing list of agents that alter the course of multiple sclerosis," said one expert, Dr. Fred Lublin, director of the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. "Based on the clinical trial data available, this new agent has very impressive efficacy data ... Read more

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FDA Approves Tecfidera - a New Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

Posted 27 Mar 2013 by

March 27, 2013 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) capsules to treat adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). 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 more frequently in women than men. For most people with MS, episodes of worsening function (relapses) are initially followed by recovery periods (remissions). Over time, recovery periods may be incomplete, leading to progressive decline in function and increased disability. MS patients often experience muscle weakness and difficulty with coordination and balance. Most people experience their first symptoms of MS between the ages of 20 and 40. “No drug provides a cure for m ... Read more

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Neurology Group Lists Procedures That May Be Unneeded

Posted 8 Mar 2013 by

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, OxyContin, Vicodin, Migraine, Norco, Morphine, Fentanyl, Lortab, Codeine, Opana, Subutex, Multiple Sclerosis, Dilaudid, Ischemic Stroke, Opana ER, Roxicodone

Human Brain Cells Used to Make Mice Smarter

Posted 7 Mar 2013 by

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

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

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

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

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