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Women Who Breast-Feed Less Likely to Have MS Relapse: Study

Posted 31 Aug 2015 by

MONDAY, Aug. 31, 2015 – Breast-feeding exclusively for at least two months may help new mothers with multiple sclerosis (MS) lower their risk of relapse, new research suggests. Exclusive breast-feeding, without supplementing, seems to be key, the researchers said. "We found that women with MS who breast-fed exclusively had a significantly lower relapse risk than women who did not breast-feed at all or breast-fed some but not exclusively," said study author Dr. Kerstin Hellwig, a researcher at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany. The study is published online Aug. 31 in JAMA Neurology. In MS, the immune system attacks the central nervous system, including the myelin that surrounds nerve fibers and the nerve fibers themselves, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Symptoms vary, but can include weakness, fatigue and numbness and tingling of extremities. MS can be mild, ... Read more

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Exercise May Help Kids With Multiple Sclerosis

Posted 12 Aug 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12, 2015 – Children with multiple sclerosis (MS) who exercise have less disease activity than those who don't, researchers report. "The study is a first look, so we can't draw any definitive conclusion from it," said study author Dr. E. Ann Yeh, director of the pediatric MS and neuroinflammatory program at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. "What we saw suggests there might be a relationship between being more active and the degree of disease activity one might have with MS." The study found an association, she said, but it wasn't designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship. "We don't know which way [the association] goes," she added. The children with less disease activity may be more likely to exercise, or the exercise may reduce the disease activity. More study is needed to figure out which is which, she said. The study was published online Aug. 12 in ... Read more

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FDA Medwatch Alert: Gilenya (fingolimod): Drug Safety Communication - FDA Warns About Cases of Rare Brain Infection

Posted 4 Aug 2015 by

ISSUE: FDA is warning that a case of definite progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) and a case of probable PML have been reported in patients taking Gilenya (fingolimod) for multiple sclerosis (MS). These are the first cases of PML reported in patients taking Gilenya who had not been previously treated with an immunosuppressant drug for MS or any other medical condition. As a result, information about these recent cases is being added to the drug label. BACKGROUND: Gilenya is an immunomodulator shown to benefit patients with relapsing forms of MS.  This type of MS causes attacks or relapses, which are periods of time when symptoms get worse.  Immunomodulators alter the immune system to reduce inflammation. PML is a rare and serious brain infection caused by the John Cunningham (JC) virus.  The JC virus is a common virus that is harmless in most people but can cause PML in so ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Gilenya, Fingolimod

New Trial Tests Whether TB Shot Fights Type 1 Diabetes

Posted 9 Jun 2015 by

TUESDAY, June 9, 2015 – Researchers are launching a clinical trial to see if a vaccine approved long ago to prevent tuberculosis may also hold promise as a treatment for type 1 diabetes. The proposed five-year study is designed to investigate whether repeated injections of the tuberculosis vaccine bacille Calmette-Guerin (or BCG vaccine) can quiet the immune system attack that causes type 1 diabetes and improve blood sugar levels in people with long-standing diabetes. "BCG is showing so much promise in worldwide trials [for conditions such as multiple sclerosis]," said study author Dr. Denise Faustman, director of the immunobiology laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. While some may hold out hope that BCG will reverse type 1 diabetes in people, findings from Faustman's earlier – albeit smaller – human trial suggest the effects are likely to be far more subtle. "The ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Insulin, Lantus, Diabetes, Type 1, Novolog, Humalog, Lantus Solostar, Levemir, Tuberculosis, BCG, Novolin R, Novolin N, Lantus Solostar Pen, Humulin N, NovoLog FlexPen, Toujeo, Humulin R, Humalog KwikPen, Insulin Glargine, Humalog Pen

MS May Raise Odds for Earlier Death, Study Finds

Posted 27 May 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, May 27, 2015 – People with multiple sclerosis may have twice the risk of dying prematurely compared to people without MS, a new study suggests. And the study also found that for people younger than 59 with MS, the risk of an early death seemed to be tripled, compared to people without the disease. Overall, MS patients live an average 76 years, compared with 83 years for people who don't have the disease, the study revealed. "There are some suggestions that survival is improving over time, but there is still a gap of about six years," said lead author Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie. She is an associate professor of neurology and director of the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. The most common cause of death was multiple sclerosis itself, or complications related to the disease, the researchers found. Other health problems could contribute to ... Read more

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Prices of MS Drugs Soaring, Study Finds

Posted 24 Apr 2015 by

FRIDAY, April 24, 2015 – The prices of multiple sclerosis drugs have skyrocketed in the past two decades, in some cases rising more than 700 percent, a new study shows. The huge price increases have occurred even though newer drugs have been introduced, something that normally stabilizes or lowers the cost of older drugs, Oregon State University researchers noted. "The issue of astronomical drug costs, especially for newer drugs or rare conditions, is more and more common," study author Daniel Hartung, an associate professor at the university's College of Pharmacy, said in an Oregon State release. Currently, there are no MS drugs in the United States with a list price below $50,000 a year, which is two to three times higher than in Australia, Canada or the United Kingdom, the researchers added. The cost of MS drugs in the United States is rising five to seven times faster than the ... Read more

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FDA Approves Glatopa (glatiramer acetate) as the First Generic Competitor to Copaxone

Posted 23 Apr 2015 by

Holzkirchen, Germany, April 16, 2015 - Sandoz, a Novartis company, today announced the US approval of Glatopa, the first generic version of Teva's Copaxone (glatiramer acetate injection) 20 mg/ml one-time-daily multiple sclerosis therapy. "Sandoz, together with Momenta, is proud to be the first company to receive FDA approval for a substitutable generic version of this important therapy," said Peter Goldschmidt, President of Sandoz US. "The approval of Glatopa reinforces Sandoz leadership in complex, differentiated generic products and further demonstrates our commitment to offer patients and payors a full range of therapeutic options." MS is a debilitating disease affecting about half a million individuals in the US alone; only half of those diagnosed are currently treated. Glatopa, developed in collaboration with Momenta and produced entirely in the US, is indicated for the ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Copaxone, Glatiramer

Generic Copaxone Approved for Multiple Sclerosis

Posted 16 Apr 2015 by

THURSDAY, April 16, 2015 – The first U.S. generic version of Copaxone (glatiramer acetate injection) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). The brand-name drug is produced by Israel-based Teva Pharmaceuticals. It's approved to treat MS, a chronic central nervous system disease caused by an overly aggressive immune system that turns on the body itself. Typical symptoms include muscle weakness, coordination problems and disability. First symptoms usually begin between ages 20 and 40. License to produce the generic equivalent of Copaxone was issued to the Swiss-based drugmaker Sandoz, the FDA said Thursday in a news release. The most common side effects of Copaxone include injection-site redness and pain, flushing, rash, shortness of breath and chest pain. The FDA issued a reminder that generic medications are chemically equivalent to ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Copaxone, Glatiramer

New Drug Shows Promise for MS

Posted 14 Apr 2015 by

TUESDAY, April 14, 2015 – An experimental drug appears to repair nerve damage seen in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, results of an early trial suggest. MS, an often disabling disease of the central nervous system, damages myelin, the fatty substance that protects nerves. Now, for the first time, researchers show evidence of repair of damaged myelin in the human brain, said lead researcher Dr. Diego Cadavid, who is with Massachusetts-based Biogen Idec, which makes the drug and funded the trial. The trial was the second of three phases required for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the drug, known as anti-LINGO-1. "These data support our ongoing development of anti-LINGO-1," said Cadavid. The trial included 82 people with acute optic neuritis, an eye problem that causes inflammation, damage to nerve fibers and loss of myelin within the optic nerve. About half of those with ... Read more

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New Specialty Medicines Drive Up Drug Spending

Posted 14 Apr 2015 by

TUESDAY, April 14, 2015 (HealthDay New) – New medicines targeting conditions like hepatitis C, cancer and multiple sclerosis helped to propel drug spending to its highest level in more than a decade, a new report finds. Medicine sales jumped 13 percent, to nearly $374 billion, in 2014 after a period of mostly low single-digit growth, according to the report released Tuesday by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics in Parsippany, N.J. Last year's increase was the largest since 2001, as spending rose 17 percent to nearly $174 billion on the growth of new "blockbuster" drugs, the report said. For the report, the IMS Institute tallies U.S. drug spending across all settings – from hospitals to retail pharmacies – and outlines the forces channeling that growth. The institute received no drug company or government funding for the report. New drug innovation, higher sticker prices and ... Read more

Related support groups: Cancer, Hepatitis C, Multiple Sclerosis

Ingredient in MS, Psoriasis Drugs Linked to Two Deadly Brain Infections

Posted 9 Apr 2015 by

WEDNESDAY, April 8, 2015 – An active ingredient in some psoriasis and multiple sclerosis medications has been linked to two cases of a rare and sometimes lethal brain infection. The ingredient, dimethyl fumarate, appears to have contributed to the deaths of two European women. The women contracted progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, according to two letters published in the April 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. One case involved a 54-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis. She died in October 2014 from complications related to PML and pneumonia, following 4.5 years of treatment with a time-delayed form of dimethyl fumarate carrying the brand name Tecfidera, researchers reported. The second case was a 64-year-old woman with psoriasis. She died in August 2014 from PML after being treated with a delayed-release dimethyl fumarate compound with the brand name ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, Tecfidera, Dimethyl Fumarate

Clues to 'Brain Fog' in Chronic Fatigue Patients Found in Spinal Fluid

Posted 31 Mar 2015 by

TUESDAY, March 31, 2015 – People with chronic fatigue syndrome show a distinct pattern of immune system proteins in their spinal fluid – a finding that could shed light on the "brain fog" that marks the condition, researchers say. The new study found that, compared with healthy people, those with chronic fatigue syndrome had lower levels of certain immune-system proteins called cytokines in the fluid that bathes the spinal cord and brain. The exception was one particular cytokine, which was elevated in not only people with chronic fatigue, but also those with multiple sclerosis. The finding could offer clues as to why people with chronic fatigue syndrome typically have problems with memory, concentration and thinking, said lead researcher Dr. Mady Hornig, a professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York City. The study also bolsters evidence that some ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Diagnosis and Investigation

Could Coffee Lower Risk of Multiple Sclerosis?

Posted 26 Feb 2015 by

THURSDAY, Feb. 26, 2015 – People who down several cups of coffee every day may have a decreased risk of developing multiple sclerosis, a new study suggests. The study, of 5,600 Swedish and U.S. adults, found that those who drank four to six cups of coffee a day were about one-third less likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS), compared with people who did not drink coffee. Researchers stressed that the findings do not prove that coffee fights MS – a disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the protective sheath around nerve fibers in the brain and spine. Symptoms can include muscle weakness, numbness, vision problems and difficulty with balance and coordination. "This doesn't mean we should be recommending rampant coffee drinking," said lead researcher Dr. Ellen Mowry, an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. There could, for ... Read more

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Multiple Sclerosis Linked to Lower Levels of Key Nutrients in Women

Posted 20 Feb 2015 by

FRIDAY, Feb. 20, 2015 – Women with multiple sclerosis (MS) have lower levels of important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients than those without the disease, new research finds. "Since MS is a chronic inflammatory disorder, having enough nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties may help prevent the disease or reduce the risk of attacks for those who already have MS," study author Sandra Cassard, of John Hopkins University in Baltimore, said in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology. The study included 27 white women with MS, aged 18 to 60, and a "control" group of 30 age-matched healthy white women. On average, the MS patients had lower levels of five antioxidant or anti-inflammatory nutrients: folate from food, vitamin E, magnesium, lutein-zeaxanthin and quercetin. Among the women with MS, average daily intake of food folate was 244 micrograms (mcg), compared ... Read more

Related support groups: Multiple Sclerosis

Mercury in Seafood May Raise Risk of Autoimmune Diseases in Women: Study

Posted 10 Feb 2015 by

TUESDAY, Feb. 10, 2015 – The mercury found in some seafood may be linked to autoimmune disorders among women of childbearing age, new research suggests. Autoimmune diseases develop when the body's immune response goes awry and starts to attack healthy cells. Such diseases include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and "Sjogren's syndrome." All told, these diseases affect roughly 50 million Americans, most of whom are women, the University of Michigan researchers said. "We don't have a very good sense of why people develop autoimmune disorders," study author Emily Somers said in a university news release. "A large number of cases are not explained by genetics," she added, "so we believe studying environmental factors will help us understand why autoimmunity happens and how we may be able to intervene to improve health outcomes. In our study, ... Read more

Related support groups: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Autoimmune Disorders, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Sjogren's Syndrome, Lupus Erythematosus, Mercury Poisoning

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