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Research and progress for progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

I am delighted to write the blog over the Progressive MS session that was given at ECTRIMS 2013.  Much emphasis has been given to the need for more research in the fields of progressive MS.  The majority of MS patients fit into this broad category: primary progressive MS, secondary progressive MS, and progressive relapsing forms of the disease.  During a session devoted to progressive MS, leaders in the field discussed several initiatives underway to address the challenges presented by these forms of the disease. 

Rehabilitation is a mainstay and key to improving the lives of patients with progressive MS. Many patients describe their progression in terms of mobility decline, which is a major target of improvement in rehabilitation programs.

The first session was devoted to confusion surrounding the definition of “progression in MS.”  We use ...

Testosterone is associated with worse disease severity in men with early relapsing onset multiple sclerosis

MS and many other autoimmune diseases are less common in men than in women. This is especially true during reproductive years. Sex hormones, including testosterone and estrogen, may be responsible for the difference. It is thought that men with multiple sclerosis may have lower testosterone levels than healthy controls.

Dr. Bove and his group assessed the prevalence and clinical associations of hypogonadism in men with recent onset relapsing multiple sclerosis.  Male subjects from the Comprehensive Longitudinal Investigations of MS at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (CLIMB) cohort were included. Hormonal measures included testosterone, the testosterone: estradiol ratio, leutinizing hormone (LH), and free testosterone. Clinical outcomes were collected every 6 months for Expanded Disease Severity Scale (EDSS), and annually for Symbol Digit Modalities test (SDMT).

The analysis included 96 men with a mean age of 40 years, disease duration of 4.6 years; 71% subjects were untreated at baseline. Of these men, 39% were ...

Gut Microbiome: Studying the links between people, bacteria, and MS

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.

2013 Heart & Stroke Walk

On October 26th the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association will be hosting the 2013 Puget Sound Heart & Stroke Walk in Seattle.

On average, someone in the U.S. experiences a stroke every 40 seconds.  Stroke can be a devastating disease, leaving many survivors with significant disabilities and leaving a permanent footprint on the lives of loved ones. 

The Puget Sound Heart & Stroke Walk gives us the opportunity to honor the survivors in our lives or the loved ones we have lost as we continue the fight to prevent stroke and improve stroke treatments. 

I will be walking in honor of ..

New MS therapy approved by the European Commission

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 ...

Proteomics identifies protein changes in multiple sclerosis and CIS

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 ...

Robotics and the future of rehabilitation for multiple sclerosis

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 ....

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