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Dr. Bowen tackles mysteries of MS in Scientific American MIND

The last 20 years have held significant gains for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). Thanks to new studies and a full pipeline of those to come, our understanding of the disease and promises for future remedies grows rapidly.

Dr. James Bowen, Medical Director and neurologist at the MS Center at Swedish, wrote an article on this progress n Scientific American MIND. "Solving the Mystery of MS" unpacks the history of MS treatments, from breakthrough treatments to rethinking the disease origin, and offers a comprehensive view of what we know now as well as what lays ahead.

 

MS Research Update: Birth month may affect your risk for multiple sclerosis

There are many studies that show that the risks for getting multiple sclerosis (MS) vary according to the month a person is born. However, the differences between the months of birth are slight.

 

For example, a 2005 study of people with MS living in northern latitudes found that more people (9.1%) had a birthday in May and significantly less (8.5%) were born in November. The opposite pattern is seen in the southern hemisphere. Thus, worldwide there is a slight increase in MS risk in those born in the spring and a decrease in those born in the winter.

 

The cause of this has not been determined. Some ideas include differences in:

  • Vitamin intake during pregnancy (more folate in fresh vegetables in the spring, more vitamin D from sunlight in the summer)

  • Birth weight - Heavier babies born after summer and fall pregnancies
  • Exposure to viruses - More people experience viruses in spring and fall. This may affect the not only the viruses a baby is exposed to during pregnancy, but also after birth.

 

A recent article in JAMA Neurology describes ...

MS Research Update: How reliable are biomarkers measured by multiple providers?

Mobility issues secondary to strength, balance, and walking problems affect up to 80 percent of people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Providers and therapists use a variety of scales and tools to measure the extent of these issues such as:

 

  • The Berg Balance Scale (BBS) is a measure of balance that uses a 14-item scale and is scored based upon the results 0-56.
  • The 6-minute walk (6MW) is a measure of walking endurance.
  • Handheld Dynamometry (HHD) is a way to quantify manual muscle strength testing.

 

There is a lot of emerging research about “MS biomarkers,” which are values that look for ways to predict how patients will do in the future. The above tests are “physical biomarkers” of patient performance that may be able to be used as measures of disease state and change over time.

 

Often patients and clinicians are left wondering how accurate the results of these tests are. For instance, if provider A performs a functional test on a patient, will provider B get the same results if administering the same test to the same patient?

Multiple Sclerosis Center Celebrates First Anniversary

One year ago today, the first patients visited the brand new Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center at Swedish Neuroscience Institute. The 11,700-square-foot facility was designed around the patient experience as part of the MS Center’s commitment to treating the whole person and addressing each patient’s individual emotional, psychological, social and physical needs in a supportive environment.

Since we opened our doors on April 9, 2012, we’ve hit a few new milestones:

  • More than 5,400 total patients, including 620 new faces, from around the world received care from our comprehensive treatment team in the last 12 months.

  • We welcomed three new providers: neurologist Peiqing Qian, M.D.; physical therapist Kim Kobata, PT; and neuro-psychiatrist Lina Fine, M.D., M.Phil.

  • We completed the Pigott Terrace. The 1,500-square-foot outdoor therapy terrace includes a one-of-a-kind system that enables patients to ...

New medication for MS, Tecfidera (BG-12), Approved by FDA

On March 27, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the newest treatment in the increasing number of disease modifying therapies (DMTs) available to treat multiple sclerosis. Tecfidera (BG-12) is an oral capsule to treat adults with relapsing forms of MS. Research participants at the MS Center at Swedish participated in clinical trials for Tecfidera.

 

The trials reported that people taking Tecfidera had fewer relapses and less frequent worsening of disability compared to people taking a placebo. There were also fewer and less-severe side effects with Tecfidera than other treatments.

 

The studies found that ...

Stride with Swedish April 14 for Multiple Sclerosis

Every hour, someone is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). And every day, people from around the Pacific Northwest and United States visit the MS Center at Swedish to learn how to live well with the disease.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the nervous system that affects the brain, eyes and spinal cord that takes a unique course in every patient. We’re with people on their journey, whether they are newly diagnosed or have been living with MS for decades. Patients and families share their lives with our treatment team and, in turn, we put our passion into helping them achieve their highest wellbeing.

Participating in Walk MS one way we show our commitment to caring for the MS community.

Swedish Presents Research at 2013 AAN Annual Meeting

Neurologists and neuroscience professionals this week from around the world gathered at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego. The Multiple Sclerosis Center at Swedish Neuroscience Institute was pleased to co-author a few research trials presented at the meeting:

 

Teriflunomide and pregnancy

Dr. Lily Jung-Henson speaking at the AAN 65th Annual MeetingDr. Lily Jung-Henson, neurologist and Chief of Staff at Swedish Issaquah, spoke on behalf of a team of researchers about teriflunomide and a report on the safety of women who became pregnant on the medication. Teriflunomide is a once-daily, oral disease-modifying therapy (DMT) recently approved in the United States to treat relapsing multiple sclerosis. Clinical trials for teriflunomide took place among the many research studies for new treatments Swedish Neuroscience Institute offers patients with multiple sclerosis. (Read the full abstract here.)

Subset of a trial looking at endurance effects of Dalfampridine (AMPYRA®)

Dr. Angeli Mayadev, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the MS Center, participated in this study of a medication to improve walking speed in people with MS. Dalfampridine -ER 10 mg twice daily significantly improved 6-minute walking distance compared to placebo. Dalfampridine 5 mg twice daily did not improve distance compared to placebo. Researchers also found that ....

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