Mom's Story

A discussion about Mom's Story and MS…

Archive for the tag “American Academy of Neurology”

Experimental drug that may repair nerve damage in MS moves forward

A new study suggests that an investigational drug for multiple sclerosis (MS) may repair myelin according to a study that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 67th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, April 18 to 25, 2015.
“This study, for the first time, provides biological evidence of repair of damaged myelin in the human brain, and advances the field of neuro-reparative therapies,” said study lead author Diego Cadavid, MD, with Biogen in Cambridge, Mass., and a fellow with the American Academy of Neurology.
The Phase 2 study involved 82 people who had their first incident of acute optic neuritis, a disease that typically affects one eye and is characterized by inflammation, damage to the nerve fibers and loss of myelin within the optic nerve. It is estimated that about half of people with optic neuritis will later develop multiple sclerosis.
All participants were treated with high dose steroids and then randomly selected with equal probability to receive either the experimental antibody, called anti-LINGO-1, or a placebo once every four weeks, for a total of six doses. Participants were then assessed every four weeks for six months and a final visit at eight months. The drug’s effectiveness in repairing myelin was evaluated by comparing the recovery of the optic nerve latency in the damaged eye at six and eight months to the normal unaffected eye at the start of the study.
The main finding of the study focused on the latency of the visual evoked potential (VEP), a test that measures the visual system’s ability to conduct electrical signals between the retina and the brain. The results showed that people treated with the experimental drug and who did not miss more than one dose (per protocol population) had significantly improved conduction as measured by latency recovery compared to people who received the placebo. At six months, those who received the drug improved on average by 7.55 milliseconds, or 34 percent, compared to placebo. The effect continued to eight months with an average improvement of 9.13 milliseconds or 41 percent over placebo.
In addition, the percentage of subjects whose VEP latency in the affected eye recovered to normal or nearly normal (within 10 percent of the normal eye) more than doubled, from 26 percent on placebo to 53 percent on the drug.
A substudy using an exploratory method of measuring latency called multifocal VEP revealed similar treatment effects.
“More studies are needed to evaluate whether these changes lead to clinical improvement,” said Cadavid.
A second study of anti-LINGO-1 in people with multiple sclerosis is ongoing.
See more at: http://www.neuroscientistnews.com/clinical-updates/experimental-drug-may-repair-nerve-damage-ms-moves-forward#sthash.KsNzebw1.dpuf

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Writing Mom’s Story

I began writing the story in late 2007. Actually, I began the story in February 1978. Immediately after getting out of bed that February morning, I couldn’t stand. The room was whirling, my stomach was churning. I sat on the edge of t he bed until my head cleared a little and I could stand. I tried to dress, but wasn’t able to bend down without the room spinning again and the nausea returning. I made a doctor’s appointment. He couldn’t find anything and treated me with Dramamine for a mild middle ear inflammation. It cleared after about a week and I put the occurrence in the back of my mind. In August of the same year, I awoke one morning with a gray spot in the vision of my left eye. It enlarged over the morning. By afternoon, my vision in my left eye was limited to the extreme outer edges. Being Saturday, I went to the Emergency Room, convinced I was going blind. An Ophthalmologist happened to be on duty. He diagnosed the problem immediately as optic neuritis and prescribed prednisone. That cleared in about eight weeks.
Fast forward to 1989. I had been a “normal volunteer” at the National Institutes of Health for several years. I was asked if I would volunteer for an MRI. They said it’s easy if you’re not claustrophobic, no needles, only some noise. I said I would be glad to do it. They were right, lots of noise but no other discomforts. About a week later, a physician called to tell me that they found something strange on my brain. I went back to the physician and came away with a definite diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS). I launched a search for information, this being pre-internet, I went to libraries and contacted the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (www.nmss.org ).
By June of 2006 I had retired on disability from my position as a Science Librarian and worked from home as an editor and writer. I attended a meeting of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (www.owaa.org ). I was interested in writing for children by this time and I attended a session given by the renowned children’s author, Kathleen Kudlinski (www.kathleenkudlinski.com ). Her one piece of advice (among others) that I took away from her presentation was: “Write what you know.”
In October 2007, after spending over a year researching and learning about writing for children, I asked myself, “What do I know?” It came to me quickly, I know about MS. I have been interested in health issues and have read quite extensively, especially about plagues and infectious diseases. But also about MS, I have an extensive library about the disease and I have reviewed books on the subject for Library Journal.

Now in it’s second edition.

New Guideline from the American Academy of Neurology

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of neurologists and neuroscientists dedicated to promoting high-quality care for people with nervous system disorders, has released a guideline on the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in MS. The guideline was created by a panel of medical experts who evaluated all available published research studies. Through a comprehensive process, the panel carefully assessed the outcomes of relevant research studies, and also whether study findings could be generalized to the larger population of people with MS, and whether any safety concerns should be considered by physicians and patients who might use these treatments.

The widespread use of CAM by people with MS highlights the unmet need for more research and better therapies that will help people with MS live their best lives. Summaries of the guideline are available for patients and for clinicians.

Specific Guideline Information

Among studies of several forms of marijuana and its derivatives that were evaluated by the panel, the guideline reports that evidence suggests that:
Oral cannabis extract and synthetic THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, a major active component of marijuana) are effective for reducing patient-reported spasticity and pain, but not MS-related tremor or spasticity measured by tests administered by the physician;
Sativex oral spray (GW Pharmaceuticals) is effective for improving patient-reported spasticity, pain, and urinary frequency, but not bladder incontinence, MS-related tremor or spasticity measured by tests administered by the physician;
Smoked marijuana research studies have not produced enough evidence to assess its safety or effectiveness for treating MS symptoms including spasticity, pain, balance, posture, and cognition.

Oral cannabis extract, THC and Sativex are not currently approved by the FDA for use by people with MS. The guideline notes that, as with any therapy, along with potential benefits come potential side effects, and for these cannabis derivatives the most commonly reported side effects were dizziness, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating and memory disturbance.

The guideline also points out that the long-term safety of marijuana use for MS symptom management is not yet known.

Read about the National MS Society’s position statement and more about the use of marijuana for MS symptoms.

Among other CAM therapy studies in MS evaluated by the panel, the available research evidence suggested that:
ginkgo biloba is ineffective for improving cognitive function, but might reduce fatigue;
magnetic therapy might reduce fatigue;
reflexology might help ease unusual skin sensations such as tingling, but there is insufficient evidence to evaluate its potential for treating pain, fatigue, and other symptoms;
the use of omega-3 fatty acids with low-fat diet to reduce relapses or disability, or improving quality of life is not supported by current evidence.

The guideline includes a table of all of the CAM therapies that were evaluated. For many of these, the panel concluded that there was not enough evidence from research studies to advise as to their effectiveness in treating MS or its symptoms. The guideline also indicates that there is little known about how CAM therapies interact in the body with each other or with disease-modifying therapies that individuals may be taking. The effects and side effects reported from non-MS studies were not evaluated.

While many people with MS report that they experience benefits from CAM therapies, this guideline confirms the need for more research to demonstrate the effectiveness of these treatment strategies. The National MS Society is committed to ensuring that no opportunity is wasted in our mission to stop MS progression, restore function lost to MS, and end MS forever so that people with MS can live their best lives. We have supported, and will continue to support, CAM research and will continue to advocate for additional government funding for CAM research.

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