Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Blog

Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Blog

Information on multiple sclerosis and flu

James D. Bowen, MD
Now that flu season is upon us, we are getting a lot of questions about the relationship between MS and infections, including influenza. MS does not impair the ability to fight off infections. Likewise, most of the treatments for MS do not impair the ability to fight infections, though there are a few exceptions to this. Most people with MS will therefore not be at any higher risk of colds or flu than the general population. However, infections may affect the MS. People with MS have an increased risk of having an MS attack at the time of infections, including colds, flu, pneumonia, bladder infections, etc. Some have estimated that about 1 out of 10 infections will be accompanied by an MS attack. Likewise, for every MS attack about 1 in 10 will be preceded by an infection. This means that about 90% of MS attacks occur in the absence of an infection.
 
Another important question is the role of vaccination in MS. In general, vaccinations do not seem to cause MS attacks. Because the vaccinations do not usually cause MS attacks, but the flu can cause an MS attack about 1 in 10 times, most neurologists recommend that MS patients receive the influenza vaccine. It is ...

MS in the Pacific Northwest on 12/9

James D. Bowen, MD

All are invited to attend the presentation, “Multiple Sclerosis in the Pacific Northwest,” on Monday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. in Kirkland. I'll discuss multiple sclerosis as a disease, trends, changes in its distribution around the world, and how it uniquely impacts our region. The presentation is free and is open to all ages. Click here for more information.

2013 World Atlas of MS published

Pavle Repovic, MD, PhD

The 2013 World Atlas of MS has been published by MS International Foundation and is available here. The key findings are:

  1. The estimated number of people with MS has increased from 2.1 million in 2008 to 2.3 million in 2013
  2. The 2:1 ratio of women to men with MS has not changed significantly since 2008
  3. Substantial global inequalities remain in terms of access to treatment and medical care

Constraint induced movement therapy in MS may be equally effective as in stroke

Kim Kobata, PT, NCS

Kim Kobata, PT, NCS
Physical Therapist, Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center

Constraint induced movement therapy (CIMT), formerly called “forced use” is a treatment for impaired function of an upper extremity. It has been established as an effective evidence-based form of treatment for rehab of impaired upper extremity (UE) function for post stroke hemiparesis. The core features of CIMT are massed practice (high repetitions) and to overcome learned non-use thru behavior modification. The typical training protocol involves a 2 week period of physical restraint of the less-involved side (90% of the waking hours) and intensive training (3 hours/day) focused on movement patterns of the involved hand and arm. The physical restraint is usually a padded mitt, sling or glove thereby restricting stronger arm use.
At a recent ECTRIMS/RIMS meeting, this form of therapy was presented as being equally effective in

Research and progress for progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Angeli Mayadev, MD

Angeli Mayadev, MD
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center

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 ...

Service animals help support people with MS

Bobbie (Barbara) J. Severson, ARNP

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

On October 21, 2013 the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Swedish Neuroscience Institute hosted a meet and greet with Buddy Hayes, national speaker for Canine Companions for Independence.  Buddy, as she prefers to be called, is a military veteran and the owner of Stanford, a handsome Labrador Retriever service dog given to her by Canine Companions for Independence.

Canine Companions for Independence is the largest national nonprofit organization provider of assistance dogs in the United States.  Canine Companions proudly provides assistance dogs to people in need completely free of charge.  They use hundreds of volunteers around the country and an expert team of professionals to deliver a service that allows people to continue living active and independent lives with the help of a professionally trained dog.

Stanford has been taught to make Buddy’s life easier and safer.  For example, Stanford can help open doors, turn lights on/off, pick up dropped items, and pull her lightweight wheelchair if needed.  One of the very practical lessons a dog is taught is to go to the bathroom on verbal command.  To obtain a service dog, one must ...

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

Peiqing Qian

Peiqing Qian
Neurologist, Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center

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 ...

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Top Authors

Kate Floyd

Kate Floyd
Education Coordinator, Swedish MS Center

James D. Bowen, MD
Mallory Higgins

Mallory Higgins
Education Coordinator and Marketing Specialist, Swedish MS Center

Jessica Bratrude, RD

Jessica Bratrude, RD
Nutritionist, Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center

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