Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Blog

Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Blog

Copaxone and the Interferon Betas Are Clinically Similar

Peiqing Qian

Peiqing Qian
Neurologist, Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center

Copaxone and the interferon betas (IFN-β) are both effective treatments for a relapsing form of multiple sclerosis (MS). A new study finds that MS patients followed over 10 years have similar annualized relapse rates (ARR) whether they take Copaxone or one of the interferon betas.

This recent study looked at 10 years of data on over 3,000 RRMS patients and found that Copaxone and IFN-β were similarly successful in reducing relapses. In the new study, researchers collected data on 3,326 RRMS patients who were using either IFN-β or Copaxone as their first-ever disease-modifying therapy (DMT) for at least 6 months, and had started treatment within 10 years of their first symptom. To be included in the study, patients also had to have had at least one relapse recorded during the two years leading up to the start of their initial DMT.

The researchers looked at ...

MS Patient Enjoys Skiing Again

Mallory Higgins

Mallory Higgins
Education Coordinator and Marketing Specialist, Swedish MS Center

Bud Feuerstein is flying down the mountainside on an adaptive mono ski, a product of Outdoors For All (a nonprofit organization that enables recreational activities for individuals with disabilities).



Eight years prior, Bud would have been carving the slopes on his own set of skis, but due to a rare disease, he was left paralyzed from the chest down. Bud will never forget the night he was lying in bed and an odd sensation came over his body. Within seconds, he was paralyzed. Months later, he was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a disease in the multiple sclerosis family. Having a better chance of winning the lottery, Bud was blindsided by this diagnosis, and his life was forever changed.

With this earth-shattering news, Bud had two fears:

Preliminary results from study of myelin repair

James D. Bowen, MD

Results were released recently from a study of a medication that may promote myelin repair. The MS Center at Swedish was one of the research sites for this study. The medication, rHIgM22, is an antibody that encouraged myelin repair in animal models. The way that it helps with myelin repair is not known. This study was a phase I study, which means that it was the first time that this medication was used in humans. Phase I studies are done to determine the safety of a medication, and also to help determine the dose of the medication.

In this study, patients ...

MS Book Club Launch at the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center

Mallory Higgins

Mallory Higgins
Education Coordinator and Marketing Specialist, Swedish MS Center

What: Book club launch, hosted by author of Chef Interrupted, Trevis Gleason

When: Friday, March 6, noon - 3 p.m.

Where: MS Center at Swedish
1600 East Jefferson Street, A Level
Seattle, WA 98122

RSVP: Mallory Higgins, 206-320-2200
 

Fall Prevention Program for Multiple Sclerosis

Bobbie (Barbara) J. Severson, ARNP

Bobbie (Barbara) J. Severson, ARNP
ARNP, Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center

Falls happen.  Fall incidence can increase with disability.  Falls in multiple sclerosis (MS) are common and often occur due to motor weakness, imbalance, gait impairment, and not using the adaptive equipment (cane, walker, orthotic) designed to help one ambulate more effectively and safely.

Falls can result in injury. This injury might only be an embarrassment to one’s pride; however, at other times, falls can contribute to more serious problems such as a fractured hip, a head injury, and in the worst case scenario, death.  It is therefore important that we take a proactive approach to fall prevention.

The International Multiple Sclerosis Falls Prevention Research Network has examined the roles of various fall prevention rehabilitation programs to learn which might be the most effective in reducing fall risk and falls (click here to read the research).  A critical element, in all programs, is that participant improvement in fall risk and fall reduction is primarily achieved  in the short term but not sustained over the long term.  The reality is that most people's motivation, to continue a program, dramatically "falls off" over time.

Here's a summary of the different types of program settings:

The ABLE Act (Achieving A Better Life Experience Act) Approved by Congress: A Step in the Right Direction for Individuals with Disability

Michelle T. Toshima
The ABLE Act, also known as The Achieving A Better Life Experience Act, was finally approved by Congress on a 76-16 vote and was signed into law by President Obama in December 2014.  Although the ABLE Act does not directly benefit individuals with disabilities acquired later in life, it is a bold first step in recognizing the financial needs of individuals with disabilities and not penalizing these individuals from receiving public benefits.

What is the ABLE Act?

The ABLE Act allows people with disabilities and their families to set up a special savings account for disability related expenses.  Earnings on an ABLE account would not be taxed.  Disability related expenses is broad in definition and includes: medical and dental care, education, community based support, personal support services, employment training, assistive technology, housing, and transportation. 

How is the ABLE Act different from existing law?

Current law makes savings for disability related expenses difficult.  Individuals  ...

Hematopoietic Stem Cells for Multiple Sclerosis

James D. Bowen, MD

The MS Center at Swedish Neuroscience Institute played a major role in a research study that recently garnered national attention. This research was published in JAMA Neurology. This research investigated the effect of high dose immunosuppressive followed by hematopoietic stem cell therapy.

This therapy consists of collecting hematopoietic stem cells from patients' blood. Patients then undergo an intense course of immunosuppressive therapy with four medications. This therapy is sufficient to eliminate most of the patient’s bone marrow including white blood cells. The hematopoietic stem cells are then given back to the patient so that their bone marrow may be reconstituted. In multiple sclerosis (MS),  the immune system attacks the brain. The hope is that with this therapy the reconstituted immune system will have less of a tendency to attack the brain and that the disease will stabilize.

This is our second study on this technique in MS. The first study investigated the effect of this treatment on patients with more advanced disease. All but  ...

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Top Authors

Mallory Higgins

Mallory Higgins
Education Coordinator and Marketing Specialist, Swedish MS Center

James D. Bowen, MD
Kate Floyd

Kate Floyd
Education Coordinator, Swedish MS Center

Bobbie (Barbara) J. Severson, ARNP

Bobbie (Barbara) J. Severson, ARNP
ARNP, Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center

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