I just signed up today for the MS walk as team captain for Team Mandatory Rest Period! Anyone here in the lower mainland want to join my team? I'll be walking the Tri-cities walk on April 26th.
Less Claustrophic MRI Machines on the Way?
"Currently, for the MRI to work, radio frequency coils which deliver the magnetic waves must be nearly flush against a patient's skin hence the confining scanner tubes.
But David Brunner, a physicist at the University of Zurich, and colleagues have seen early success in replacing the coils with an antenna up to 9.8 feet (3 meters) away from a patient.
The antenna transmits and receives the radio frequency waves, which are focused by a special conductive lining inside the MRI scanning tube.
The extra room "will usually be on the order of 15-20 centimeters [6-8 inches] in diameter, which really is a lot in terms of patient comfort," said study co-author Klaas Pruessmann, also of the University of Zurich.
What's more, the "traveling waves" transmitted by the antenna offer more uniform coverage of large body parts and greater detail, said study co-author Klaas Pruessmann, also of the University of Zurich.
The technology "is currently being explored in centers around the world, including many in the U.S., and early pre-clinical applications look very promising," Pruessmann said.
Peter Bornert, principal scientist at Philips Research Europe in Hamburg, Germany, called the new technique "very promising from a scientific point of view" pointed out that several previous successful attempts to improve MRI in the lab have not yet made it to market.
A good strong...
Echo and Flick, brother and sister.
Laquinimod, was granted "fast track" designation by the FDA
"Teva's oral treatment for multiple sclerosis, Laquinimod, was granted "fast track" designation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Fast Track designation can potentially facilitate development and expedite the review process. According to Teva, this may allow the drug to enter the market as soon as late 2011."
Nothing to see here. Move along. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Electrical shocks while driving
Vitamin D Deficiency May Increase MS Risk
"The findings could explain why MS, an autoimmune condition in which the body mistakenly attacks brain tissue and nerves, is relatively rare in countries near the sunny equator. MS is much more common in the darker and gloomier northern latitudes (and far southern latitudes).
Other studies have suggested that people with MS were more likely to have been born in the spring (with the bulk of pregnancy during the dark winter months) than in the fall. Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D, although it’s also found in salmon, mackerel, tuna fish, and as an additive to milk and other products.
“It’s a phenomena found over and over again, says Moses Rodriguez, MD, a professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, who was not involved in the new research. “This study provides some link that vitamin D may be one of the environmental factors that predisposes people to MS.
No one really knows the exact cause of MS, but researchers suspect it’s a combination of genes and environmental factors. About 2.5 million people worldwide have MS.
In the study, researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of British Columbia looked at a gene variant known as DRB1*1501, which is associated with MS. About 1 in 100 people who inherit two copies of the gene (one from each parent) develop MS, compared to 1 in 300 who have only one copy and 1 in 1,000 of those in the general population.
The researchers found that proteins activated by vitamin D bind to a DNA sequence next to the DRB1*1501 variant, which switches the gene on. If too little vitamin D is present, the gene may not function properly, which may cause a susceptibility to MS.
"We were surprised to find the [vitamin] D connection," says study coauthor George Ebers, action research professor of clinical neurology at the University of Oxford. “We suspect women who are planning to have children may benefit from taking D in regions where they are likely to be deficient.
There is no proof that vitamin D will prevent, treat, or cure the disease. However, the researchers suspect that a lack of vitamin D during early life may prevent the thymus, an immune system gland that sits on the top of the heart, from deleting harmful white blood cells.
These cells, known as T cells, may go on to attack the central nervous system and damage myelin, the insulation that protects nerves. In MS, this abnormal immune response affects nerve impulses to and from the brain. Symptoms of MS include numbness in the limbs, pain, coordination problems, vertigo, and vision impairment, depending on the nerves that are affected.
Sleep clinic appointment update
Reset button called Stem Cell Transplant
"Stem cell transplantation seems to stop and, in some cases, undo neurological damage in people with multiple sclerosis, a small study shows.
The trial involved just 21 patients, but a larger, randomized trial is under way in the United States, Canada and Brazil.
"This is the first trial for any phase of MS, whether early or later, of any therapy anywhere that has shown reversal of neurological disability," said study author Dr. Richard K. Burt, chief of the division of immunotherapy at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
The technique used in this study, autologous non-myeloablative hemopoietic stem cell transplantation, "resets" the immune system and is already used for secondary-progressive MS.
"This has primarily been used over the last 10 to 15 years in progressive MS patients, people who are doing terribly, and we have nothing to offer them," O'Looney explained. "There have been some fatalities associated with this aggressive protocol."
And success was limited.
But, for the new study, researchers tweaked the technique and moved it to relapse-remitting patients who were younger than in previous studies.
"This is a safer approach, and we do it earlier in the disease because people have less disability so it's safer again," Burt said.