August 2010
Blog

August 2010 posts

Exciting Advances in Multiple Sclerosis from ECTRIMS

There is exciting news from last week’s 26th Congress of the European Committee for the Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) in Gothenburg, Sweden.

ALEMTUZUMAB. 5-year data from a Phase II extension study for alemtuzumab, an intravenously administered monoclonal antibody, showed that the drug:

  • reduced annualized rate of relapse to 0.14 compared with 0.28 for interferon
  • reduced the risk for sustained accumulation of disability in remitting relapsing multiple sclerosis by 87% compared to 62% with interferon.

This is a remarkable agent with excellent activity in MS. Adverse events included immune thrombocytopenic purpura, thyroiditis and anti-glomerular basement membrane disease.

TERIFLUNOMIDE. A Phase III trial of oral teriflunomide in remitting relapsing MS showed:

  • a 31% reduction in relapse rate and increased time to first relapse compared with placebo
  • reduced the risk of sustained disability progression by 29.8%.

Side effects were mild and included diarrhea, nausea, liver function abnormalities and hair loss.

Alemtuzumab and teriflunomide are currently in Phase III clinical trials at SNI.

SNI PRESENTATIONS:

  • Dr. Jim Bowen presented a poster about ongoing demyelination and neurodegeneration in a patient who had undergone autologous stem cell transplantation.
  • Drs. Jung Henson and Mayadev reviewed the beneficial effects of exercise on functional and quality of life outcomes from SNI’s MS wellness program

Swedish Smyelin Babes Kick Into High Gear

 
The Bike MS Ride in Mount Vernon is almost here (September 11-12) and the Swedish Smyelin Babes bike team is 98 members strong and still growing! The team started out with 4 riders in 2006, and since then has grown to be the largest bike team, beating out even corporate groups like Team BP, Microsoft, Columbia Athletic Club and Point B. We are also the only bike team representing any of the MS centers in the Seattle region. Last year we raised over $84,000 to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and we hope to beat that amount this year. Join Swedish Smyelin Babes or donate to this worthy cause!

Swedish, Other Local Health Providers Helping Provide Free Immunizations, Backpacks to School Kids at Aug. 28 Event in Tukwila

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery for Treatment of Essential Tremor

Essential tremor (ET) is the most common type of movement disorder, affecting approximate­ly four out of 1000 people, and is significantly more common, though less recognized, than Parkinson’s disease. ET affects men and women equally and is inherited as an autosomal-dominant condition in about 60 percent of cases.

Although often referred to as benign essen­tial tremor, it is hardly benign in patients who may not be able to write legibly, hold a glass of water or use a knife and fork. ET is primarily an action tremor of the upper extremities but may involve resting tremor of the head and neck and/or lower jaw, and also tremor of the voice. The latter may be so severe that speech becomes unintelligible.

Medication and surgical treatment options

Primidone and beta blockers are useful in re­ducing tremor in the early stages of ET, but as the tremor progresses, medical management often becomes less effective or side effects can prevent the use of adequate doses of medication. ET pa­tients then are candidates for surgical or radiosur­gical treatment.

The mainstay of the surgical treatment of ET is deep brain stimulation (DBS), in which an electrode is implanted in the ventral inter­mediate nucleus (VIM) of the thalamus. Neurosurgeons Peter Nora, M.D., and Ryder Gwinn, M.D., have been implant­ing DBS electrodes at Swedish Medical Center for several years. The treatment is effective, but it requires implantation of permanent hardware (wires and batteries) into the brain and chest wall. Patients who take anticoagulants or have severe cardio­vascular disease are not suitable candidates for DBS. These patients, however, may be candidates for radiosurgical treatment.

A new option for difficult-to-treat patients

Comprehensive Spine Center at SNI

Neck pain and low back pain are common health problems in the US. They are among the top reasons for doctor visits. They are also the number one cause of disability for people under 45 years of age in the US. The Comprehensive Spine Center at SNI consists of spine surgeons, physiatrists, interventional pain specialists, neuroradiologists, and physical therapists. All these spine specialists can provide the best and most advanced spine care to our patients in the same clinic. We strive to make spine care as convenient as possible to our patients.

The spine center at SNI provides a wide spectrum of surgical procedures to treat spine disorders caused by degeneration, neoplasm, infection, congenital malformation, and trauma. We distinguish ourselves not only by providing superb care to our patients, but also driving new technologies in spine surgery. SNI is the leading center in large clinical trials for cervical artificial disc implants and lumbar artificial facet joint implants. These new spine devices may revolutionize the future of cervical spine and lumbar spine surgeries and further develop motion-preservation technology.

We also provide minimally invasive spine surgery to our patients with appropriate indications. The minimally invasive spine surgery includes lumbar fusion surgery, microdiskectomy and kyphoplasty. With the newly-added state-of-the-art equipment at SNI, we believe the development of the new technology will push minimally invasive spine surgery to a higher level.

Internationally Recognized Social Media Strategist Dana M. Lewis Joins Swedish; Swedish Continues to Expand Efforts to Reach and Educate Patients through Social Media

Neuromodulation Symposium

The symposium "Advances in Neuromodulative Therapies: 2010 and Beyond" will be held August 27, 2010 starting at 7:15 am in the Swedish Education and Conference Center at the Cherry Hill campus.

See more information

A broad array of local and national experts will speak on current and future applications of neuromodulation in the treatment of neurological disorders.

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