An antibody discovered in the blood of people with the disease multiple myeloma is being studied by the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Swedish as a potential treatment for MS.
The Multiple Sclerosis Center at Swedish is conducting a study of a drug taken by MS patients who did not respond to two previous disease-modifying therapies.
Doctors have known for years that most women with multiple sclerosis (MS) feel better and have fewer relapses when they are pregnant. Researchers have speculated that fluctuating hormones may be linked to this improvement in health. But studies on MS and hormones during pregnancy have had mixed results. I’ve changed my thinking on this and I’m embarking on new research that involves microchimerism.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted “fast track” designation for ibudilast, a medication that could help prevent damage to the brain in people with progressive multiple sclerosis.
A recent report has generated excitement in the scientific community. This report announces the discovery of a lymphatic system in the brain.
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 ...
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 br...
Traditionally, MS has been divided into four clinical courses: relapsing/remitting, primary progressive, secondary progressive and progressive relapsing. These four were intended as descriptions of the different courses that MS could take in patients, and were not based on any particular understanding of the biology of the disease, the cause of the disease, or even the prognosis of patients with the different types of MS. Over the years, our understanding of MS has improved, and these descriptions of the disease course no longer meet our needs to describe the disease.
Over the past couple of years, there has been a revision of our classification of MS, resulting in a publication in July 2014. The recommendations of this revision have been ..
A recent study addressed the outcomes of pregnancy in women with MS who were taking fingolimod (Gilenya). Of 66 pregnancies on the medication, 41 attempted to carry the pregnancy to term. 26 of the 41 had healthy newborns. There were, 9 miscarriages, 24 elective abortion, 4 ongoing pregnancies and 1 with an unknown outcome. Of the elective abortions, four were for fetal malformations. There were 5 cases with abnormal fetal development in the 66 pregnancies. Poor fetal outcomes were found in 14.6% of the pregnancies. This contrasts with a 3% rate of poor outcomes for most pregnancies.
This paper highlights the importance of care in planning pregnancies in MS. It is now known that women with MS have ...
A guideline was recently published about the use of complementary and alternative medicine in multiple sclerosis (MS).
The guideline process involves identifying all of the scientific articles about potential therapies and evaluating them based on their scientific merits. The evaluation process follows a strict set of requirements related to the conduct of the research.
The review included a wide variety of complementary and alternative therapies that have been proposed for MS. Not surprisingly, most therapies did not have sufficient scientific data to determine whether or not they were effective. Some cannabinoid preparations (marijuana extracts) were shown to be effective, primarily for spasticity. This reflects a relatively large number of studies done with these compounds and the availability of a commercially available extract in some countries. A handful of therapies were shown to be ineffective. Most thera...
A recent article has been published suggesting that MS may be caused by a bacterial toxin. The bacteria is Clostridium Perfringens, a common bacteria found in soil and a cause of food poisoning. This bacteria can produce a number of toxins, one of which is the epsilon toxin.
This study found that about 10% of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) had antibodies to the epsilon toxin, compared to 1% of people without MS. In pathology specimens from mice, the epsilon toxin was found to bind to blood vessels in the retina of the eye, and to myelin in the brain. The authors also reported a single case of a woman with MS who was infected with Clostridium Perfringens and that was producing the epsilon toxin.
Though this study has been widely discussed online, I think that it is unlikely that...
Less than two years old, the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center has already received an overwhelming amount of praise from patients and physicians alike for its holistic approach to world class care.
Now we can add one more accolade to the list.
Healthcare Design magazine recently recognized the MS Center’s patient and family waiting area as a finalist in the Family Spaces category of its Healthcare Design Remodel Renovation Competition.The entire piece beautifully encapsulates the approach, design and ultimately the quality of care that the MS Center strives to deliver. Here is an excerpt of one of the judge’s comments:
“The entire design is a phenomenal reflection of a deep understandin...
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.
The 29th Congress of the European Committee for the Treatment and Research in MS (ECTRIMS) and the 18th Annual Conference on Rehabilitation in MS (RIMS) were held on October 2-5 in Copenhagen, Denmark. These two meetings are the largest scientific meetings on MS and rehabilitation in MS, with over 8,000 people attending this year.
The MS Center at Swedish was well-represented with five people attending. The meeting consisted of educational courses, symposia and scientific research presentations. The scientific presentations included over 1200 posters describing recent research in MS. There were also over 200 oral scientific research presentations. Upcoming blog posts will cover some of the reports that were of most interest to us.
Our bodies are made of billions of cells. However, the cells in our bodies are far outnumbered by the bacteria that cover our skin and inhabit our gut. These bacteria are now increasingly recognized to have an important role in maintaining our health. For example, skin bacteria help protect us from more dangerous bacteria that could invade us. Gut bacteria help digest our food. There are suggestions that changes in these bacteria, particularly those in the gut, might play a role in several diseases.
A recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE found differences in protein levels of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) among people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and clinically isolated syndrome (CIS).
Using the relatively new field of proteomics, researchers were able to identify each individual protein in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)—86 total—and compares their levels among people with relapsing MS, clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) and healthy individuals. People with RRMS had different levels of 20 proteins compared to people with CIS. Seventy five percent of those proteins related to neurons (rather than myelin). Changes were particularly notable f...
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 al...
Help us thank and congratulate them Sunday, August 4. Photo from Diane Mattens.
More than 30 bike riders will arrive at the MS Center at Swedish on the afternoon of Sunday, August 4 to celebrate their cross-country bike ride and to make a contribution in support of the Center. We are seeking MS Center patients and friends to help us welcome the riders, including Swedish patient, Diane Mattens, and to thank them for their generous support.
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 f...
After working in the field of neuromodulation for the past 25 years, I have seen many advances in the field; both in our understanding of the nervous system, and new technology designed to target specific neuronal pathways that will offer the best outcome for patients. It is an exciting field with new investigations that lead to ever expanding knowledge. However, what really keeps me interested in the field after all these years is the opportunity and privilege to be a part of our patients lives on a daily basis. The picture and comment shared below from a grateful patient who had DBS with us two years ago says it all…
"I look back on my experience at Swedish with a grateful heart... thankful for every day I've been given.."
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 ...
Increased dietary salt was reported to increase the immune attack on myelin in three studies this week. All three were published in the journal Nature.
Once again, multiple sclerosis patients’ area buzz over a new theory and treatment for the disease. The theory is called chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI); and, this time, social media is driving the patient excitement.
CCSVI is based on a controversial idea that impaired venous drainage of the brain due to blockage in venous structures causes MS. Increase in venous pressure promotes leakage of blood across capillaries, with inflammation resulting from the iron deposition into the brain. In 2009 Paolo Zamboni, M.D., reported that virtually all MS patients in a study had abnormalities in the jugular or azygous veins, whereas no control patients had such findings. The Zamboni, or Liberation, procedure involves either angioplasty or stenting of the abnormal vein. Many MS patients are understandably enthusiastic about this theory and treatment....
The Multiple Sclerosis Center continues to grow. We have added an additional MS nurse, Reiko Aramaki, RN. Reiko joined us from the Evergreen MS Center. She is certified by the International Order of MS Nurses and will expand our ability to respond to patient’s needs.
Outreach programs also continue. Dr. Bowen was recently interviewed by Kathi Goertzen from KOMO TV4 regarding CCSVI. This interview can be seen at http://www.komonews.com/home/video/106166123.html.
Also, Chaz Gilbert, a patient care coordinator won the Seattle Verizon Urban Challenge on 10/30/10, racing through 12 checkpoints in their city using only clues, their feet and public transit.
The Patient Rating score is based on responses given during the CAHPS Patient Experience Survey.Responses are measured on a 10 - point scale, with 10 being the best score. These scores are then translated to a 5 - point scale in order to display results in a 5 - star rating.Comments are also gathered from the same survey and displayed in their entirety with the exception of any language that may be considered slander, libel or contain private health information, which will be removed prior to publishing the comments.