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Timothy L. Vollmer, MD
Department of Neurology
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Multiple Sclerosis Institute
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Weill Medical College of Cornell University

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New York-Presbyterian Hospital
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Dirucotide Does Not Meet Primary Endpoint In Phase III MAESTRO-01 Trial In Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) and BioMS Medical Corp. (TSX: MS) announced that dirucotide did not meet the primary endpoint of delaying disease progression, as measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), during the two-year MAESTRO-01 Phase III trial in patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS). In addition, there were no statistically significant differences between dirucotide and placebo on the secondary endpoints of the study.

The data also showed that dirucotide was generally well tolerated. There were no unexpected safety or tolerability issues. The most common side effect reported was injection site reaction. More details of the MAESTRO-01 study results are expected to be presented at a medical conference later this year. ... full report in Medical News Today


MS Society Responds To Debbie Purdy Ruling - Clarification On The Law Of Assisted Suicide, UK

The MS Society has responded to today's Law Lords ruling concerning the case of Debbie Purdy, who has sought clarification on the law of assisted suicide.

Debbie, 46, who was diagnosed with Primary Progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1995, wanted to be assured that her husband would not be prosecuted on his return to the UK, if he accompanies her to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland.

It is now thought that the Law Lords will ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to set out when prosecutions would happen.

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the MS Society, said: "Debbie Purdy's victory has pushed MS into the spotlight but there is far more to living with MS - even in its more severe forms - than planning how to die. "

There are 100,000 people with MS across the UK and most will live about as long as any of us. The key to living well with MS is access to the right care and support, including palliative care when it's needed.

"Most palliative care resources are focused on cancer and cases like this show why the Government's end of life care strategy is so important." ... full report in Medical News Today


Cognitive Testing, Gender And Brain Lesions May Predict MS Disease Progression Risk

Cognitive testing may help people with inactive or benign multiple sclerosis (MS) better predict their future with the disease, according to a study published in the July 29, 2009, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Gender and brain lesions may also determine the risk of progression of MS years after diagnosis.

By current definition, people with benign MS are those who remain "fully functional" after 15 or more years from disease onset. However, people with benign MS occasionally develop renewed disease activity or progression, and can experience severe symptoms. .... full report in Medical News Today


What's new for "Multiple Sclerosis" in PubMed

Gender disparity in the rate of partner abandonment in patients with serious medical illness. - Female gender was found to be a strong predictor of partner abandonment in patients with serious medical illness. When divorce or separation occurred, quality of care and quality of life were adversely affected. - Cancer. 2009 Jul 30. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

[Quality as management tool. Actions to improve efficiency in neurological care.] - The changes in clinical practice to improve the quality of care have been associated with improvements in the efficiency indicators but not in patient satisfaction. The improvement in the perceived quality probably requires specific actions. - Neurologia. 2009 Jun;24(5):292-296. in PubMed

Neuropsychological and MRI measures predict short-term evolution in benign multiple sclerosis. - Cognitive assessment and MRI metrics can predict short-term disease evolution in benign multiple sclerosis (B-MS). This information can be useful to correctly identify patients with B-MS. - Neurology. 2009 Jul 29. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

In vivo imaging of cortical pathology in multiple sclerosis using ultra-high field MRI. - Seven-tesla MRI detected different histologic cortical lesion types in our small multiple sclerosis (MS) sample, suggesting, if validated in a larger population, that it may prove a valuable tool to assess the contribution of cortical MS pathology to clinical disability. - Neurology. 2009 Jul 29. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Risk of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in bedridden or wheelchair-bound multiple sclerosis patients: A prospective study. - Thromb Res. 2009 Jul 27. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

One-Dimensional-Ratio Measures of Atrophy Progression in Multiple Sclerosis as Evaluated by Longitudinal Magnetic Resonance Imaging. - All four normalized ratios showed uniform atrophy progression, suggesting a consistent rate of atrophy over long-term disease duration independent of MS course. Disability status correlated with 1D measures, suggesting that serial evaluation of Evans and bifrontal ratios might contribute to the radiological evaluation of MS patients. - Acta Radiol. 2009 Jul 28:1-9. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

A Comparison of Mood and Quality of Life Among People with Progressive Neurological Illnesses and Their Caregivers. - The findings suggest that educational and intervention programs need to be developed to help both patients and their caregivers to adjust and cope with these illnesses, particularly caregivers of people with MND and HD. - J Clin Psychol Med Settings. 2009 Jul 29. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Epstein-Barr virus infection is not a characteristic feature of multiple sclerosis brain. - Our finding that CNS EBV infection was rare in multiple sclerosis brain indicates that EBV infection is unlikely to contribute directly to multiple sclerosis brain pathology in the vast majority of cases. - Brain. 2009 Jul 28. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

Addressing the need for increased adherence to multiple sclerosis therapy: can delivery technology enhance patient motivation? - Few studies have directly addressed adherence to MS therapy and further clarification is required. Adjustments to drug formulation, provision of patient education and improvements to injection devices may all contribute indirectly to improved adherence in the future. - Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2009 Jul 29. [Epub ahead of print] in PubMed

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