Our bodies are made of billions of cells. However, the cells in our bodies are far outnumbered by the bacteria that cover our skin and inhabit our gut. These bacteria are now increasingly recognized to have an important role in maintaining our health. For example, skin bacteria help protect us from more dangerous bacteria that could invade us. Gut bacteria help digest our food. There are suggestions that changes in these bacteria, particularly those in the gut, might play a role in several diseases.
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On September 17, the European Commission, the European equivalent of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approved the release of alemtuzumab (Lemtrada™.)
Alemtuzumab is an intravenous monoclonal antibody that selectively reduces circulating T lymphocytes, which are thought to be involved in inflammation in multiple sclerosis (MS). This reduction is followed by repopulation of T and B cells over time. It is administered on five consecutive days in the first year of therapy, followed by three consecutive days 12 months later.
Swedish Neuroscience Institute was involved in Care-MS II, one of the pivotal Phase III studies in which MS patients who had relapsed on other therapies were randomized to either alemtuzumab or interferon beta-1a. The drug was found to be significantly ...
A recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE found differences in protein levels of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) among people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and clinically isolated syndrome (CIS).
Using the relatively new field of proteomics, researchers were able to identify each individual protein in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)—86 total—and compares their levels among people with relapsing MS, clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) and healthy individuals. People with RRMS had different levels of 20 proteins compared to people with CIS. Seventy five percent of those proteins related to neurons (rather than myelin). Changes were particularly notable for proteins related to neurons in participants with CIS.
This study is one of many MS studies coming from the relatively new field of proteomics. This field uses ...
I am pleased to write some of my thoughts after attending the International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR) in June. This bi-annual meeting brings together biomedical, design, and mechanical engineers as well as providers that work in the field of rehabilitation robotics.
Robotic devices are part of the future of neuro-rehabiltation for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. ICORR displayed designs and prototypes of upper extremity devices and lower extremity gait orthosis devices that hold promise for MS patients.
Using these devices in clinical rehabilitation practice would improve patients’ ability to perform the frequent, repetitive movements that we know are essential for the brain to adapt to change, re-grow myelin and build connections between neurons (all parts of healthy neuroplasticity). It would also help address ....
A couple recent announcements may be of interest to people living with multiple sclerosis. Read the articles below and click through the links for more information about the individual studies.
Trial shows no benefit of cannabinoid in slowing multiple sclerosis progression
A UK trial of dronabinol (delta-9-THC) in 498 patients did not slow the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) compared to placebo. Critics will point out that this is only one of many cannabinoids found in marijuana; and that the placebo arm did better than expected (thus limiting the ability to detect the effects of the drug). Nonetheless, the result is the strongest argument yet against the neuroprotective effects of THC in MS population.
New trials in progressive MS are coming
Later this year, two trials will ...
This post is jointly written with Alika Ziker, Swedish Neuroscience Institute research intern.
Botulinum toxin type-A (Botox) is a naturally occurring toxic substance best known for its use in cosmetics. It is taken from certain bacteria and works by preventing the target muscle from contracting.
Over the last 15 years, several studies have emerged supporting the idea that Botox is also an effective and safe therapy for people who suffer from a loss of muscle control, lower back pain and even migraines. Because multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that attacks the central nervous system, many MS patients suffer from those same conditions, as well as weakness and spasticity. Depending on the individual, the affected muscles may be ....
The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) recently published their Top Five Recommendations in the Choosing Wisely Campaign in promoting high value neurological care. This was done in collaboration with the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation and Consumer Reports to reduce ineffective and costly care.
The AAN made clear that the recommendations were intended to promote discussion between patients and their providers about the value of these therapies, not to completely stop the use of specific treatments.
The recommendation to stop prescribing interferon-beta and glatiramer acetate is not unanimously supported by all MS neurologists, many of whom feel that this was an oversimplification.
People with ...