Interesting bad protein being researched over in Oregon and Italy and they're finding some good stuff. "Cyclophin D is a key regulator of molecular processes in the nerve cell's powerhouse, the mitochondrion, and can participate in nerve fiber death. Inactivating cyclophilin D strengthens the mitochondrion, helping to protect nerve fibers from injury. The findings are published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "We're extremely excited," said Michael Forte, Ph.D., senior scientist at the Vollum Institute at OHSU and the study's lead author. "While we can't genetically inactivate cyclophilin D in people, there are drugs out there that can block the protein. Our research predicts that drugs that block cyclophilin D should protect nerve fibers from damage in MS."
MS: The Women's disease?
New research is showing that the amount of women to men ratio with MS is tipping further for women. Ugh! Come on! Let's keep the men in this club! ;) Okay, okay, let's just all leave the club, but seeing thats not an option, one can only hope...
The study, which will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 59th Annual Meeting in Boston, April 28 ,May 5, 2007, demonstrates that the two to one ratio of women to men with MS in the United States in 1940 has grown to approximately four to one in 2000. 'That's an increase in the ratio of women to men of nearly 50 percent per decade,'said study author Gary Cutter, PhD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health.'We don't yet know why more women are developing MS than men, and more research is needed'
Cutter said researchers will need to discover multiple changes that have cropped up for women over the last several decades, together with the use of oral contraceptives, earlier menstruation, obesity rates, changes in smoking rates, and later age of first births.'We also need to ask the general questions about what women do differently than men, such as use of hair dye and use of cosmetics that may block vitamin D absorption,'he said. 'At this point we're just speculating on avenues of research that could be pursued.
Less Sun = Less Vitamin D = More Disability in MS'ers
Well, well... finally some results on Vitamin D coming from Australia. "CONCLUSION : The strong associations between disability, sun exposure and vitamin D status indicate that reduced exposure to the sun, related to higher disability, may contribute to the high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency found in this population-based MS case sample. Active detection of vitamin D insufficiency among people with MS and intervention to restore vitamin D status to adequate levels should be considered as part of the clinical management of MS." So, my questions are: How does one get tested for vitamin D levels? And how much Vitamin D should be taken? Anyone?
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) on spasticity in MS
Anyone using one of these little machines to help their pain levels? Research shows it's a valid treatment. "The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of TENS on spasticity in MS and, furthermore, to compare two different application times. Thirty-two subjects were randomized into two groups, and a single, blind, crossover design was used to compare two weeks of 60 minutes and 8 hours daily of TENS applications (100 Hz and 0.125 ms pulse width). Outcomes were examined using the Global Spasticity Score (GSS), the Penn Spasm Score (PSS), and a visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain. The results of the study demonstrated that there were no statistically significant differences in the GSS following either 60 minutes or 8 hours daily of TENS (P=0.433 and 0.217, respectively). The 8-hour application time led to a significant reduction in muscle spasm (P=0.038) and pain (P = 0.008). Thus, this study suggests that, whilst TENS does not appear to be effective in reducing spasticity, longer applications may be useful in treating MS patients with pain and muscle spasm."
Shnazzy new Ultra-high-field (7T) MRI coming out
This new machine can scan better than ever and get people diagnosed earlier in their life with the disease. Bonus for early treatment. I would not have wanted to be diagnosed any earlier in my life than I was. I was more mentally and emotionally prepared for it at age 27 than I would have been at 24 when I had my first real attack that went undiagnosed. However, I wonder where I would be today if I had started preentative therapy back then? Hmmm... "For the study, the researchers analyzed post-mortem brain slices from a multiple sclerosis patient using both 3T and 7T MRI. 7T MRI made it possible to detect numerous multiple sclerosis lesions that were not detectable at 3T MRI, said Steffen Sammet, MD, PhD, lead author of the study. "Multiple sclerosis is difficult to diagnose in its early stages," said Dr. Sammet. The greater sensitivity of 7T MRI for multiple sclerosis can delay disease conversion, and may lead to improved monitoring of neurological deficits in multiple sclerosis. MRI at 7T can give additional information about the lesion microstructure to help us better understand the disease," said Dr. Sammet. "Ultra-high field strength has been an experimental methodology evolving over the last decade. In recent years, and especially as part of the OSU-based effort of the Wright Center of Innovation, we have been pushing, to evolve ultra-high field into a clinically capable imaging method. The significant advantage of higher field strength is the gain in signal that can be used in many different ways to increase sensitivity and increase the speed of acquisition or to increase resolution," said Dr. Sammet."
I might get a better brain? Yay! :)
Full phase II data on Fingolimod (FTY720) shows decreased depression symptoms. "New preclinical data, presented at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) annual meeting in Boston, reflect the expanding understanding of FTY720's (fingolimod) mechanism of action in multiple sclerosis (MS), suggesting direct beneficial effects in the brain. The data suggest that FTY720 may have the potential to reduce neurodegeneration and enhance repair of the central nervous system (CNS) by modulating S1P receptors expressed on brain cells. Separately, new clinical data presented from the six-month Phase II study found that the proportion of patients with clinical depression was significantly lower in the FTY720 groups compared to placebo. These new preclinical data add to a growing body of evidence that FTY720 has multiple, specific mechanisms of action. The ongoing Phase III clinical development program includes comprehensive monitoring to further understand the clinical and safety implications of these mechanisms of action."
And more on Vitamin D
Another review in regards to non-infectious factors that could contribute to MS and that lack of Vitamin D based on geography comes up again! And smoking is mentioned too... "As discussed in Part I of this review, the geographic distribution of multiple sclerosis (MS) and the change in risk among migrants provide compelling evidence for the existence of strong environmental determinants of MS, where "environmental" is broadly defined to include differences in diet and other behaviors. As we did for infections, we focus here primarily on those factors that may contribute to explain the geographic variations in MS prevalence and the change in risk among migrants. Among these, sunlight exposure emerges as being the most likely candidate. Because the effects of sun exposure may be mediated by vitamin D, we also examine the evidence linking vitamin D intake or status to MS risk. Furthermore, we review the evidence on cigarette smoking, which cannot explain the geographic variations in MS risk, but may contribute to the recently reported increases in the female/male ratio in MS incidence. Other proposed risk factors for MS are mentioned only briefly; although we recognize that some of these might be genuine, evidence is usually sparse and unpersuasive."