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Multiple sclerosis MRI technique can spot tissue damage months before an MS attack

A study published in this week’s Neurology found that a relatively new MRI technique could spot changes in the brain up to three months before inflammation causes a multiple sclerosis (MS) attack.

Traditionally, we have viewed MS as a disease where the immune system attacks the brain, causing the abrupt onset of inflammation (measured by gadolinium enhancement). This inflammation causes damage to the brain, which causes symptoms.

The new technique, called susceptibility-weighted imaging, allows researchers to see that tissue damage is happening up to three months prior to the inflammation.

Susceptibility-weighted imaging measures the amount of magnetic susceptibility of tissues aligned in different directions. The amount of alignment in different directions is called the phase image. In tissues like myelin, the magnetic susceptibility lines up with the direction of the myelin because molecules can move alongside the myelin more easily than they can move across it.

When myelin is damaged, the tissue becomes disorganized and magnetic susceptibility changes from aligning primarily in one direction to alignment in many different directions. The phase image can be used to measure the degree of myelin damage.

In this study, 20 patients ...

Seattle Channel highlights Swedish MS Center research

Thousands of people are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) each year. The Pacific Northwest is home to more than 12,000 people living with the disease. Our area is also making great strides in research to find the cause and new treatments for MS.

The Seattle Channel featured a health special Thursday documenting the lives people affected by the disease and the progress area doctors and scientists are making. In the health special, the Seattle Channel highlights research at the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center that is advancing what we know and how docs treat the disease.

Watch the video for the full story, including an interview with Dr. James Bowen, a neurologist specializing in multiple sclerosis at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute, and a look inside the MS Center at Swedish:

 

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 ...

MS Roadshow coming April 26 to Skagit Valley

The MS Center at Swedish Neuroscience Institute will present the MS Roadshow April 26 in Mt. Vernon, Washington. The MS Roadshow is a free, half-day educational workshop about living well with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Knowledge really is power when it comes to managing your health. For people living with MS, learning as much as possible about the disease makes it easier to make informed decisions about your care.

Whether newly diagnosed or looking for more information to help improve your health, the MS Roadshow offers a look at leading-edge research and tips for living a full life. Topics and speakers include:

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.

Seahawks’ Blitz and Dr. Bowen Demystify MS

Dr. James Bowen appeared today with Ryan Asdourian, “the man behind the bird” and Seahawks’ mascot Blitz, on the Seattle talk show New Day Northwest to shed some light on common misconceptions about multiple sclerosis (MS).

 

Host Margaret Larson asked Dr. Bowen about myths about MS as part of the program to promote this year’s Walk MS events in Seattle. Ryan Asdourian is proof of the full life many people lead with MS, rallying fans at Seahawks games and raising MS awareness as an active advocate for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

 

You can check out the video from KING5 TV’s website below. Find out more about how to join or donate to the Swedish S’myelin Strider’s Walk MS team at www.swedish.org/MS.

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