Saturday, September 30, 2006

Clinical Trial

Preliminary findings by Swiss researchers have shown a once-daily oral treatment is effective in MSers, reducing relapses by more than 50%. The medication, fingolimod, prevents lymphocytes from attacking myelin.

Another phase study is recruiting across Europe, Canada, and elsewhere. If you are interested in participating, visit Novartis Clinical Trials. Be aware there are side effects including a transient reduction in heart rate after the first dose, shortness of breath, upper respiratory infections, headache and gastrointestinal problems.

If the study is successful, the oral medication could be available in three to four years.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

$4 B or $7 B? -- Take Action Now

The Senate passed a bill to increase health, education, and training by $7 billion. Representative Mike Castle of Delaware secured a commitment from the House of Representatives to match that for FY 2007. However, the latest version of the House bill is less by almost half -- only $4 billion. Rep. Castle is working to regain the earlier commitment. Read what the National MS Society says about the Appropriations Bill.

Please urge your representative to sign the "Live Up to Your Agreement" letter being circulated by Rep. Castle. Act before FY 2006 ends on September 30.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Resistance Exercise Anyone?

Does your doctor or physical therapist recommend exercises that you do over and over? Sometimes you think they are a waste of time, that nothing will come from all those repetitions, but don't give up yet.

A recent study found that a resistance exercise program showed significant improvement after ten weeks.

Improvement was measured in strength and endurance. No adverse effects were found, and the influence of MS on physical function actually decreased.

Okay, back to exercising. 1, 2, 3 . . .

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Does it hurt?

When I was first diagnosed, everything I read said there is no pain with MS. But I did have pain, some intermittent, but pain just the same. Why wasn't there information about it?

Now, it is generally accepted that pain is no stranger to MS. The National MS Society talks about living with MS, and specifically living with MS and the pain that comes with it.

The article covers medicines used for MS pain, other treatments that help manage pain, current research dealing directly with pain. There are eleven types named and described, including types of pain and discomfort associated with common treatments.

So if you hurt, it may be associated with your MS, but it can be treated.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

More Research

In the MSIF report on research updates there are several studies discussing statins as a treatment option in MS. A subscription for professionals is required to read these papers, so I did some research on my own.

About 25 million Americans already take statins to lower their cholesterol, but indications are favorable for MS treatment. More studies are in process. There were so many articles, but some were dated as early as March.

Understanding MS, a site I have recommended before, has a good article.

And here is an
article from the National MS Society.

Here's one of particular interest to me. Statins may be helpful to MS and osteoporosis -- and alzheimer's, too, though I have not been diagnosed with that one.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Research News

It is not an easy task to compare MS experiences in researching disease patterns, so extensive clinical trials are required. Before the MRI, scientists could not even see an MS lesion, but research of the lesions is making strides.

I regularly read research summaries in an effort to keep up with progress made in understanding MS, and just as regularly I do not understand what I am reading. And here’s a particularly difficult one, but it is interesting just the same.

This is a study of a muscle protein significant in both MS and muscular dystrophy. There is a deficit of the protein in MD. In MS these leaky brain vessels show a disturbance in the blood-brain barrier, creating MS lesions. The study increased understanding of the muscle protein dysferlin.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Off Balance

Some Examples
  • My friend Sue and I were walking out of the office at the end of a workday when I fell, tripping Sue on the way down
  • One day I got out of the car and fell on the parking lot asphalt. I walked into the meeting late and with a giant run in my hose and drying blood from the scrape on my leg
  • Once I was walking in a mall and suddenly collapsed -- didn't fall forward or sideways, just collapsed straight down
My doctor did not know why I was falling. I was not tripping, just falling. He suggested a cane.

I bought a cane, but it took awhile before it became a habit. Sometimes I would get out of the car and walk ten paces or more before I realized I had left my cane in the car. Dilemma: How to get the cane without falling down on my way back to the car

I walked with a cane for a long time before I knew why. Months later when I was diagnosed with MS, I learned the cane is a common tool for MSers. The cane was for balance for those of us with sudden falls. Others used a cane because they walked with the gait of a person who had too much alcohol.

A common MS symptom is a problem with balance or dizziness. I did not know that, but I certainly know it now. Even though I no longer walk, I still experience balance problems. A cane is no longer my tool of choice. Instead I keep one hand on the steering handle of my Amigo.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The World According to MS

Kathleen Wilson wanted to develop a room that was positive, hopeful, informative and fun, and the result is MS World.

This is an online support group with a mission to end
the isolation often created by those of us with a chronic condition. There are message boards, email groups, and chat rooms moderated by trained MSers. But there is also art -- paintings, photographs, trading cards -- created by MSers. There are articles written by MSers. I enjoyed "Chauffeurs and Chefs" by Kelly Tomlinson.

Enjoy the gallery and library, listen to a guest speaker and subscribe to the newsletter MS Living. And while you are there, join in a chat. MS World is where MSers help MSers.

Friday, September 01, 2006

MS Center of Excellence Update

The MS Centers of Excellence are closer to long-term funding protection. The Senate passed legislation to formally establish the centers in a unanimous vote in August.

Now, on to the House.

The House of Representatives is currently considering a similar bill. The Public Policy Office is optimistic the final bill will pass this fall.

Read what the NMSS says.

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