Mom's Story

A discussion about Mom's Story and MS…

Archive for the tag “Mary Nickum”

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.

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Researchers seeking people with progressive MS for nationwide trial of oral therapy

Summary: Investigators are recruiting for a phase II clinical trial of ibudilast (MN-166, MediciNova, Inc.), an oral agent, in 250 people with progressive forms of MS. The study, called the SPRINT-MS trial, is principally funded by the National Institutes of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS), with additional support by MediciNova, the company that will supply ibudilast, and the National MS Society. The study will be conducted through the NeuroNEXT Network, a clinical trials initiative of the National Institutes of Health. Robert Fox, MD (Cleveland Clinic Foundation) is the principal investigator.

Rationale: Among other actions, ibudilast inhibits an enzyme called phosphodiesterase, and has been shown to protect brain tissue in animal models. . While considered a “New Chemical Entity” in the United States and Europe, ibudilast is marketed in Japan and Korea to treat asthma and symptoms from cerebrovascular disorders. It is being investigated in the U.S. for its potential to treat drug addiction and now, for treating progressive forms of MS. In a previous study, ibudilast did not reduce relapses or MRI-observed new lesions in a phase II trial involving people with relapsing MS. However, some evidence that this agent could protect the nervous system from damage (neuroprotection) was observed, which is why it’s being tested in people with progressive forms of MS. (Neurology 2010;74:1033).

Eligibility and Details: Participants are people between the ages of 21 and 65 who are diagnosed with secondary-progressive or primary-progressive MS who are currently receiving either glatiramer acetate, interferon beta, or neither treatment. . Further details on inclusion and exclusion criteria are available from the contact below.

Participants will be randomly assigned to receive either oral ibudilast (100 mg/day) or inactive placebo daily for 96 weeks. Treatment will be added to existing glatiramer or interferon treatment in patients currently taking those therapies. The primary outcomes being measured are changes in brain tissue volume loss (determined through MRI scans) and safety/tolerability. Secondary outcomes being measured include further imaging outcomes, progression as measured by the EDSS disability scale, quality of life, cognitive function, and pain.

Contact: To learn more about the enrollment criteria for this study, and to find out if you are eligible to participate, please contact the study site nearest you, as listed on clinicaltrials.gov.

Sites will be enrolling in the following cities:
Atlanta, GA
Birmingham, AL
Boston, MA
Bronx, NY
Buffalo, NY
Charlottesville, VA
Chicago, IL
Cincinnati, OH
Cleveland, OH
Columbus, OH
Dallas, TX
Denver, CO
Kansas City, KS
Los Angeles, CA
Miami, FL
Nashville, TN
New York, NY
Pittsburgh, PA
Portland, OR
Rochester, NY
Sacramento, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
Seattle, WA
St. Louis, MO
Stony Brook, NY
Syracuse, NY

FDA Updates Prescribing Info for Ampyra to Address Risk of Seizure in Those with Reduced Kidney Function

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a Drug Safety Communication to address the risk of seizures in people with MS who are starting Ampyra® (dalfampridine, Acorda Therapeutics). Ampyra was approved in January 2010 to improve walking in people with MS. Seizures are a known side effect of Ampyra, and seizure risk increases with higher blood levels of the drug. Based on its evaluation of post-marketing reports of seizures occurring in people with MS on the therapy, the agency is updating prescribing information for Ampyra to advise that kidney function should be checked before starting Ampyra, and monitored at least annually, because impaired kidney function can result in high blood levels of the drug.

The FDA also emphasizes that patients who miss a dose should not take extra doses, since an extra dose of Ampyra can increase seizure risk. In its evaluation of adverse event reports, most of the seizures happened within days to weeks after starting the recommended dose and occurred in patients having no history of seizures. Most of those who experienced seizure were at least 50 years old and were at risk for mild, age-related kidney impairment.

The FDA communication notes that “The potential benefits of Ampyra treatment must therefore be carefully considered against the potential risk of seizures before using Ampyra in patients with mild renal impairment.”

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