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Finding Art in the Multiple Sclerosis Experience Third-Annual MS Art Show Set for June 16

SEATTLE, June 11, 2012 – Multiple Sclerosis (MS) sucks, as the painting says, but it also inspires art. The MS Center at Swedish is set to unveil its third-annual Art Show. Those touched by MS and living in the Pacific Northwest have been invited to submit their work. No visual media is off limits; all people living with and affected by MS from the Northwest region are accepted. The show's goal is to enhance wellness and quality of life for individuals affected by the disease.

KING 5 TV Interviews Multiple Sclerosis Specialist from Swedish about Study that Looked at Marijuana Use for Spacicity in People with MS

SEATTLE, May 15, 2012 - KING 5 Television (NBC) aired a story last night about a study published yesterday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that looked at smoking marijuana as a treatment for spacicity in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Swedish Neuroscience Institute-affiliated neurologist James Bowen, M.D., who is medical director of the new MS Center at Swedish - along with one of his patients who has experienced spacicity relief from this treatment - were interviewed for the two-minute piece.

Swedish Set to Open State-of-the-Art Multiple Sclerosis Center; New Facility Has Been Under Development for Several Years and Largely Funded Through Philanthropy

SEATTLE – April 6, 2012 – Swedish Neuroscience Institute (SNI) is set to open its new MS Center to patients. Carefully designed for easy accessibility and to promote the well-being of people with MS, the new 11,700-square-foot center gives SNI the ability to consolidate all of its MS services into one facility. An additional 1,500-square-feet of outside therapy terrace will provide a safe environment for patients to work with a therapist on improving their gait over different terrain.

The new center also enables scientists, researchers, physicians and patients to work collaboratively toward new treatment options for those diagnosed with MS. In a move that further establishes Swedish’s neuroscience program as a leader in the region, the MS Center at Swedish is the largest, most comprehensive facility of its kind on the West Coast and one of only a handful in the country.

What you should know about Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

You hear the diagnosis multiple sclerosis (MS) and your world stops. You don’t know what to think, who to tell, or what to do about your future.

In this video, four people living with MS tell their stories:

But even if you aren’t diagnosed with MS, here are some things you should know:

Sexual Dysfunction in Multiple Sclerosis

Although Inga is quite able bodied, she is having sexual problems. Sexual dysfunction, which may occur early or late in the course of MS, does not always correlate to the degree of physical disability. Often it is under-recognized and goes untreated. It is present in up to 90 percent of men and in nearly as many women. In women, the most common problems are low libido and altered genital sensation. For men, the major problem is erectile dysfunction.

Sexual dysfunction can be a direct result of demyelination in the central nervous system. Secondary changes are related to poor bladder control or muscle weakness, and psychological, social or cultural issues that interfere with sexual feelings or responses. Examples of the latter include alterations in body image and low self esteem.

Regardless of the cause, sexual dysfunction can adversely affect quality of life and contribute to additional problems. 

Pharmacologic Treatment of Nystagmus in Multiple Sclerosis

At least half of all people with multiple sclerosis (MS) are expected to have nystagmus at some point during the course of their illness. Nystagmus results from demyelination that involves the brainstem or cerebellar eye movement pathways. While it may be asymptomatic, it often causes blurred vision or oscillopsia. The extent of the visual disturbance is directly related to the velocity of the slow phase of the nystagmus.

In MS patients with chronic nystagmus, the most common form is an acquired pendular nystagmus (APN), which is almost always accompanied by optic atrophy, and often by internuclear ophthalmoplegia (INO).

Numerous treatment trials have demonstrated the efficacy of pharmacologic treatment of chronic symptomatic nystagmus. Treatment should be considered in individuals in whom blurred vision or oscillopsia is severe enough to warrant the potential risk of medication side effects. As a general rule, drugs used to treat nystagmus are titrated slowly upwards from a low dose to either efficacy or tolerance.

The two most effective medications for APN in MS are....

Emerging therapies in multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is unique among neurological diseases in that there are currently eight treatments for this one condition that have received approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Five of these drugs require subcutaneous or intramuscular injection, two are administered intravenously, and fingolimod, the newest agent on the block, is given orally. None are considered curative, but these disease-modifying therapies (DMT) have led to a reduction in relapse rates and the progression of disability.

Despite this progress, each of the drugs comes with side effects, including flu-like symptoms with the interferons, lipoatrophy with glatiramer, progressive multifocal leukodystrophy (PML) with natalizumab, and congestive heart failure or leukemia with mitoxantrone. As the first oral agent for MS, fingolimod created great expectations prior to FDA approval. Its popularity, however, has been surprisingly limited, presumably due to the potential for unknown long-term risks. The occur rence of PML with natalizumab demonstrated to MS neurologists and patients the potential risks associated with new drugs.

Additional DMTs in the pipeline may increase MS-management effectiveness in coming years, although safety will continue to be a major consideration in the use of these drugs. For instance, oral cladribine was on the verge of FDA approval in early March when the agency referred the drug back for more safety studies. This drug is already used in intravenous form for the management of hairy cell leukemia, but it is being studied for use with remitting relapsing MS because of its apoptotic effects on lymphocytes. If cladribine is ultimately approved for use, the risk of infection and neoplasms may limit its use.

Other oral agents being studied include:

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