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Timothy L. Vollmer, MD
Department of Neurology
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Professor

Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz Medical Center

Medical Director-Rocky Mountain MS Center
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Brian R. Apatoff, MD, PhD
Multiple Sclerosis Institute
Center for Neurological Disorders

Associate Professor Neurology and Neuroscience,

Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Clinical Attending in Neurology,
New York-Presbyterian Hospital
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Timothy L. Vollmer M.D.
Department of Neurology
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz Medical Center
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Medical Director-Rocky Mountain MS Center


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Friday

   
NPR AUDIO: Studies have found that a six-month Iyengar yoga program helped people with MS combat fatigue (CLICK TO LISTEN TO AUDIO)



B.K.S. Iyengar, the yoga master, who some say is responsible for popularizing yoga in America, discusses the benefits of the ancient art with NPR's Allison Aubrey.

   
[Video] "Up to 10,000 children in the U.S. are living with MS...another 15,000 CHILDREN EXPERIENCING WHAT MAY BE SYMPTOMS OF MS: "Every hour in the United States, someone is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. While it’s the most common neurological condition affecting young to middle-aged adults, emerging research suggests up to 10,000 children in the U.S. are living with the condition and another 15,000 have experienced MS-like symptoms such as double vision, numbness and unexplained fatigue."

 

TERI GARR VIDEO: "People go, oh, my gosh. M.S., you're dead. You're out of here. .... You're in a wheelchair...None of that stuff is true"

TERI GARR VIDEO: "People go, oh, my gosh. M.S., you're dead. You're out of here. .... You're in a wheelchair...None of that stuff is true"
“When I got a diagnosis for M.S., I go, ‘oh, this is not stopping me. I'm not letting this stop me.’

"And I think to go around and talk about it and tell people that that's what I did and that they can do it, too, it helps people. It helps a lot of people feel better. So that makes me happy.” - And if she can do it, so can others. - “I think it's good for me to be functioning and okay and come out there and say, look, I have M.S., And if you have M.S., it's not so bad.”

For the past four or five years, Garr has been taking a powerful immunity-boosting drug called Rebif. And it seems to be working. She says her most recent M.R.I.s show no there’s been no progression of the disease.

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NBC VIDEO: "New Hope For MS Patients"...[CLICK TO WATCH
"Recent studies suggest exercise, like chair aerobics, can help patients with MS regain balance and strength. So, they're pairing MS with physical therapists and fitness trainers...Joanna Lee believes she's proof that exercise helps. Lee says her MS symptoms have improved, since joining exercise classes ..."I'm not tired. I feel like I'm more flexible. I still feel tight and stiff, but it's more flexible," said Lee.

 
VIDEO - Interview: Teri Garr
PBS..."I figure if you get a diagnosis of something like this, there's one of two ways to go. You go down or you can go up. You can look at the funny side of it, you can laugh or you can cry. So I figured I might as well be up about it....."

     
19 min. Webcast: Managing the Side Effects of Disease Modifying Agents
Fred Lublin, MD - - National Multiple Sclerosis Society Webcast

 
Webcast: "Communicating with Your Partner"
Peggy Crawford, PhD
Rosalind Kalb, PhD - 18 min. - National MS Society Webcast

 
Understanding Complementary and Alternative Options in Treating MS - 16 min. Webcast
Dennis Bourdette, MD - National Multiple Sclerosis Society Webcast

 
Understanding Complementary and Alternative Options in Treating MS #2 -19 min. Webcast
Dennis Bourdette, MD - National Multiple Sclerosis Society Webcast

Thursday

 
BioMS Medical's Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis Trial Receives Positive Review from Data Safety Monitoring Board

EDMONTON, May 27, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - BioMS Medical Corp. , a leading developer in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), today announced that the independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) for the Company's phase II MINDSET-01 trial of MBP8298 (dirucotide) in patients with relapsing-remitting MS has completed a safety analysis and recommended that the trial continue as per the protocol.   This was the fourth of several regularly scheduled reviews by the DSMB that will occur over the duration of the trial. The purpose of the DSMB is to provide objective, independent safety monitoring of the trial. MINDSET-01 Trial ---------------- The MINDSET-01 phase II, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of MBP8298 (dirucotide) in patients with relapsing-remitting MS. The fifteen month trial is fully enrolled with 218 patients at 24 sites in 6 countries. The objectives of the study are to demonstrate safety and efficacy of MBP8298 (dirucotide) versus placebo as measured by relapse rate, MRI activity and disease progression.

 
Head Positional Maneuvers Endorsed for Benign Vertigo

PHOENIX, Ariz., May 27 -- Almost like wet dogs shaking their heads, patients with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo are resolving dizziness by a series of directed movements to remove loose calcium crystals from semicircular canals in the ear. The quick head-positioning treatment was effective for relieving vertigo especially in patients with loose calcium crystals (otoliths) in the posterior-canal, a common form of the disorder, Terry D. Fife, M.D., of the University of Arizona, and colleagues reported in treatment guidelines in the May 27 issue of Neurology. The most common form of vertigo occurs when a patient looks up or bends over so that otoliths from the macula of the utricle fall into a semicircular canal. Now referred to as canaliths, they move in the semicircular canal eventually deflecting the cupula, resulting in a burst of vertigo and nystagmus. All of the repositioning maneuvers move these ectopic canaliths from the semicircular canal into the vestibule of the ear where they are absorbed. There are a number of repositioning maneuvers in use, said Dr. Fife and colleagues, but they lack standardization, the guidelines authors wrote. So they reviewed all relevant articles from 1996 to June 2006. These included, for example, treatment for posterior-canal disorder and horizontal-canal and anterior-canal disorder. Among various maneuvers reviewed, the investigators found that for the common posterior-canal disorder, the canalith repositioning maneuver (also called the Epley maneuver) is safe and effective and should be offered to patients of all ages with this form of benign positional vertigo. The Semont maneuver is "possibly effective," they said, but received only a low recommendation on the basis of a single study. The relapse rate and second occurrence rate are not fully established, the guideline writers said. Short-term relapse rates range from 7% to nearly 23% within a year of treatment, but long-term recurrences may approach 50%, depending on the age of the patients. As an example of the positional treatment, the canalith maneuver for right-sided disorder begins with the patient sitting up on a bed or table. Then, while lying down, the patient's head is held by the therapist in the right head-hanging position for 20 to 30 seconds (steps one and two). In step three, the therapist turns the head 90 degrees toward the unaffected side. The head is held this way for 20 to 30 seconds before being turned another 90 degrees so that it is nearly in the face-down position (step four). After 29 to 30 seconds the patient is brought to the sitting up position (step five). Although the therapist guides the patient through these steps, the patient's head position is key to successful treatment, the investigators said. The guidelines also evaluated whether activity restriction is needed following treatment and concluded that five of six studies showed no added benefit for post-treatment activity or position restriction, such as sleeping upright and wearing a cervical collar. For patients treating themselves, home exercises seemed to pose little risk, but evidence was insufficient to show that it is as effective as maneuvers done by a physician or other therapist. Turning to the efficacy of medication treatment, the investigators said that in the absence of randomized controlled trials, there is no evidence to support a recommendation of any medication in the routine treatment of this form of benign vertigo. Lack of evidence precluded recommendations for surgical treatment for refractory disorder, they added. Future studies, they concluded, are needed to clarify the best treatments for the horizontal-canal form of the disorder, they concluded.

 

BREAKING NEWS: The MS drug companies are starting to have competition for their own drugs




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Novartis AG won European approval for a multiple sclerosis drug that's identical to Bayer AG's Betaseron, the German company's second best-selling medicine.
May 26 (Bloomberg) -- Extavia, an interferon beta-1b, was approved for use in patients with early and relapsing forms of MS, Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis said today. Betaseron, also known as Betaferon, was first approved in Europe in 1996. Novartis, Switzerland's second-biggest drugmaker, plans to start selling the injected treatment in the first half of 2009, giving it a foothold in the multiple sclerosis market before the planned introduction of its experimental drug fingolimod. Fingolimod, which could be the first oral MS disease medicine, may generate more than $1 billion in annual sales, analysts say. Approval of Extavia ....is fundamentally positive because Novartis can now prepare and build up to the launch of their own product,'' Andrew Weiss, an analyst at Bank Vontobel in Zurich, said in an interview. Weiss forecasts peak sales of $340 million annually for Extavia. Novartis' best-selling drug, the Diovan high-blood pressure treatment, had sales of more than $5 billion last year. The company is looking for new treatments to help it weather the loss of patent protection on Diovan and the Gleevec cancer medicine in the next few years. Betaseron generated 1.03 billion euros ($1.62 billion) in global sales last year, about 3 percent of Bayer's total revenue of 32.4 billion euros. The introduction of Extavia ....was expected and we've had to reckon with it,'' Carsten Kunold, an analyst who follows Bayer at Merck Finck in Munich, said in an interview. Novartis gained rights to Extavia through its acquisition of Chiron Corp. in 2005 and in agreement with Bayer, which gained Betaseron with the 2006 purchase of Schering AG. Bayer last year agreed to pay Novartis, which makes Betaseron under contract, $110 million for a California plant and another $90 million for inventories of the drug. Betaseron competes with Biogen Idec Inc.'s Avonex, Merck Serono SA's Rebif, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.'s Copaxone and Elan Corp. and Biogen's Tysabri for share of the MS market.CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY

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Tysabri Use Accelerating


DUBLIN -(Dow Jones)- Elan Corp. PLC (ELN) Chief Executive Kelly Martin said the number of patients on multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri was "accelerating" from the 26,000 patients recorded in the first quarter. Speaking after the biotechnology company's annual general meeting, Martin gave general guidance to multiply those 26,000 patients by four and "then add some," saying 100,000 patients using Tysabri by the end of 2010 is still "very achievable." The company said that it expects Tysabri's "run rate" - a multiple of existing patients plus forecasts based on those numbers - "will be close to blockbuster status" upon the exit of 2008. Blockbuster status is generally as annual sales of $1 billion. Elan and Biogen Idec PLC (BIIB) starting rolling out their 50-50 joint venture multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri in the U.S. and European Union in June 2006 after it was temporarily suspended on safety grounds in February 2005. Elan has now broken even on Tysabri and every 10,000 additional patients after that adds $100 million in profit for Elan alone.

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