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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
Medical Director-Rocky Mountain MS Center

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The Lowdown on Low-Dose Naltrexone for MS

Small clinical studies have found that LDN reduces fatigue and depression in people with MS.Thinkstock

Can a drug developed to treat opioid addiction help you manage your MS symptoms?

Originally developed in the 1980s to treat people with alcohol and opioid (heroin and morphine) addiction, the drug naltrexone has received renewed interest as a complementary treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms, thanks to its unique way of working — and to the fact that it's generally safe, with few, if any, side effects.
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Dan Says Treasure Your Caregiving Hero

Dan and Karen Melfi

Caregivers are in the spotlight during MS Awareness Month and, as it draws to a close, one man with MS is calling for everyone with the disease to recognize them.

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New multiple sclerosis drug, backed by 40 years of research, could halt disease

B cells are a type of immune cell that has been shown to play a key role in multiple sclerosis. They are the target of a new MS drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Credit: NIH

A newly approved drug that is the first to reflect the current scientific understanding of MS – is holding new hope for the hundreds of thousands Americans living with the disease.
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The Detriment of Unsolicited Advice Regarding MS and Chronic Illness

I am sure many of us have had instances where someone “offered” their advice on what is the best way to manage our illnesses. They are not medical professionals and many of them don’t suffer from the disease themselves. They present their beliefs as scientific dogma, often referring to something they have read or  heard and have formed an opinion about.
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Myriad symptoms of MS difficult to diagnose

Looking back, Nikki Pfeiffer remembers exactly when she began to feel the effects of her MS.
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After 40-year odyssey, first drug for aggressive MS wins FDA approval

Forty years ago, one of Dr. Stephen Hauser’s first patients was a young Harvard Law School graduate and White House aide with a case of MS that raced like a brush fire through her brain. She quickly lost her ability to speak, swallow, and breathe. She got married in a wheelchair in her hospital room, tethered to breathing and feeding tubes and dressed in her wedding gown.
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The Hot and the Cold of It: How Temperature Changes Can Affect My MS Body

By Kim Dolce

I’m not going to tell you what you should do about this. It’s not that I’m holding out on you, it’s just that I know you’ve read the official facts and advice doled out in MOMENTUM, MSFOCUS, and MS News Today. You know about the sudden muscle stiffness, spasms and pain caused by frigid winter temperatures. You know to stay in air-conditioning during the summer. You know all about wearing cooling vests, hats and neck wraps if you want to venture out into an August inferno. You’ve read about Uhthoff’s Phenomenon so many times that you can correctly spell it without looking it up in the dictionary.
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MicroRNA treatment restores nerve insulation, limb function in mice with MS

The restored presence of proteins indicating myelin reformation (shown in red) in the lumbar spinal cord of a mouse treated with miR-219 mimic after injury to its central nervous system. Researchers report March 27 in Developmental Cell that treatment with the micro-RNA partially restored damaged nerves and limb function in mice. Credit: Cincinnati Children's

Scientists partially re-insulated ravaged nerves in mouse models of MS and restored limb mobility by treating the animals with a small non-coding RNA called a microRNA.
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After a Busy ‘Off-Season,’ It’s Time to Ask: How’s Your MS Today?

“The Season” here in our little corner of Ireland refers to the tourist season. It used to be that when the kids went back to school in September, things died until the May Bank Holiday weekend, then slowed again until school ended in late June.
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The MS Alphabet: Blinding, B-cells, Betaseron and Other B Words

When it comes to MS, mastering an understanding of the disease means you need to mind your Ps and Qs, dot your Is, cross your Ts, and recite your ABCs. There is so much to know about this complex disease. But the more you know as a patient, or caregiver, the more informed you will be in making critical healthcare decisions.

This week, I offer five more terms that start with the letter B that you might want to master. You can read about previous B terms here. A terms are covered in this column.)

Symptoms of MS

Bell’s Palsy: This occurs when the seventh cranial nerve, also known as the facial nerve, becomes paralyzed or impossible to control. It usually occurs on just one side of the face. The face appears to droop, and it can trigger drooling or tear duct problems.

You also may experience pain in or behind your ear, facial numbness, or heightened sensitivity to noise. The condition can also interfere with your ability to taste or to produce saliva or tears.

Bell’s Palsy can be a symptom of MS when lesion activity occurs in the part of the central nervous system which regulates the facial nerve. Onset is sudden, and can be either temporary or permanent.

MS acronyms

BBB: Blood Brain Barrier. This is a semi-permeable cellular membrane wrapped around the blood vessels of the central nervous system. It prevents substances in the bloodstream from entering the brain and spinal cord. The substances can include large molecules of foreign matter, immune system cells, and viruses.

Many experts believe a breach of the BBB can lead to the development or progression of MS.

Common terms of MS

Blinding (clinical research term)

Blinding a clinical research experiment means masking specific kinds of information about it so a participant does not know what’s going on. Blinding is done to reduce or eliminate both intentional and unconscious bias during the experiment or study. Blind experimentation is considered essential in pharmaceutical testing.

A common application of blinding is randomized controlled trials. It usually involves a single-blind element, meaning that the person conducting the test is the only one who has access to all the information. In a double-blind experiment, both tester and subject do not have access to the key information around which the experiment is built.

The biology of MS


B-cells have a mixed role in the development of MS.

The bone marrow creates white blood cells. When they enter the bloodstream, they create antibodies that help generate a healthy immune system response.

In most parts of the body, B-cells help defend tissues against viruses, bacteria, and other invaders.

Although they aren’t ordinarily found in healthy brain tissue, B-cells may still find a way to cross the BBB and enter the central nervous system. There they wreak havoc on nerve fibers during periods of MS-related inflammation. The plaques or lesions they leave behind are evidence of their presence there.

MS treatments


This injectable drug from the interferon family of MS medications contains an active immunomodulating substance known as interferon beta-1b. It is used to reduce MS flare-ups and may even change the course of the disease.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by MULTIPLESCLEROSISNEWSTODAY
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length



UCR scientists find possible link between MS patients' nerve-covering damage and seizures

Seema Tiwari-Woodruff, associate professor of biomedical sciences, shows an image of postmortem MS brain section with inflammation in the laboratory at the UC Riverside School of Medicine Research Building in Riverside on Friday, March 24, 2017. UC Riverside scientists have found a possible link between the loss of protective nerve fiber coverings and seizures in multiple sclerosis patients.
Watchara Phomicinda, Staff Photographer

UC Riverside scientists believe they’ve found a possible link between the loss of protective nerve fiber coverings or “demyelination” and seizures in multiple sclerosis patients.
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3 Tips for Newly Diagnosed Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Being diagnosed with MS can be devastating and will often take time to come to terms with the news. You will undoubtedly need to make some lifestyle changes, but it’s important to realize that you can still live a very happy and productive life with the condition. Here are our top three tips for coping with an MS diagnosis with help from
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When MS Causes Skin Symptoms

Itching, pain, and crawling sensations on the skin can take a mental and physical toll. Treating these MS symptoms often requires trial and error.

Virtually all symptoms of MS are a result of the damage MS does to the brain and spinal cord.
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Disproven Theories About the Causes of MS and Its Flare-ups

While some MS causes have been nixed, smoking and Vitamin D deficiency are both still associated with the risk for developing MS. (GETTY IMAGES)

Science may get closer to actual causes when it learns what doesn't trigger the disease.

You may hear about a lot of potential causes of multiple sclerosis, the progressive, incurable disease that damages the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Theories have ranged from genetic to environmental triggers, some as simple as living with a pet.
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Tom Youngs: Ex-Cambridge United striker on his battle with multiple sclerosis

Cambridge United fans used to chant "Tom Youngs has got A Levels" at the striker

For 10 years, Tom Youngs' biggest concern was keeping supporters happy while doing "one of the best jobs in the world". These days, aged only 37, he is facing the far more "scary" prospect of living with MS.
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New Gene Interaction Associated With Increased MS Risk

A disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain, MS is a major cause of neurological disease in younger adults, from 20 to 50 years of age, and disproportionally affects women. While treatable, there is no cure for MS, which can lead to problems with vision, muscle control, balance, basic body functions, among other symptoms, and could lead to disability. image is adapted from the UTMB Galveston press release.

A person carrying variants of two particular genes could be almost three times more likely to develop MS, according to the latest findings from scientists at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Duke University Medical Center.
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Who Really Benefits From Pharma Patient Assistance Programs?

Just about any time we mention the price of medications for MS, as we did in a post last week, many people comment that they rely on so-called patient assistance programs from drug manufacturers to help pay for their meds.
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Kadimastem Obtains US Patent for Neurodegenerative Disease Stem Cell Technology

The United States has granted a patent to Kadimastem’s stem cell-based technology for treating MS and other diseases of the nervous system.
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Anxiety as a Predictor of Depression in MS


Anxiety is a strong predictor of depression in people with MS via both direct and indirect pathways.
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Opinion: Science and society must collaborate in setting research agenda

A long-awaited trial of Dr. Paolo Zamboni's controversial treatment for multiple sclerosis known as "liberation therapy" has concluded the procedure is ineffective and should be avoided. NATHAN DENETTE / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Much anticipated initial results of the Canadian chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) clinical trial for multiple sclerosis (MS) were announced on March 8. The results demonstrated that the CCSVI procedure is ineffective compared to a neutral procedure in a group of 104 MS patients after 48 weeks. The outcome of the study at this time point serves as an important opportunity to reflect on the critical importance of the partnership between the public, scientists, and policymakers in setting research and funding agendas.
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MS: The sneaky disease: VIDEO

Dr. Ron Tarrel from Noran Neurological Clinic and Abbott Northwestern explains some of the signs of MS.
(Photo: KARE 11)

To call MS a “sneaky” disease may be an understatement.
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Alexa, Tell Me About MS: VIDEO

Alexa, Amazon’s little voice-activated information box, has just received a multiple sclerosis infusion.
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Natural Remedy Dos and Don’ts for MS

Before you spend money on natural remedies, learn which may be helpful for MS, and which likely are not.  THINKSTOCK

It’s tempting to hope that “natural” products might relieve MS symptoms, but which ones really do?

More and more people with MS are looking into so-called natural remedies — mostly herbs, vitamins, and supplements — as alternatives, or complements, to prescription drug treatment.
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I’m afraid to date.  I’m afraid to be rejected again. I’m afraid to be hurt again. I’m afraid to fall in love again. I’m afraid of the pain. I’m afraid to have to explain the embarrassing MS symptoms again.  I’m afraid of the embarrassment again. I’m afraid of the anxiety again. I’m even afraid of the excitement of it again. I’m afraid of the hope of it again.  I’m afraid of the beginning, the middle, and the end. I’m just really afraid to date again.
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Acorda Launches Interactive and Talking ‘MS Awareness Facts’ Alexa Service for March

In recognition of MS awareness month, Acorda Therapeutics has launched its Alexa skill, called MS Awareness Facts.  The interactive voice-controlled service allows users to ask Amazon Alexa for information regarding MS and its debilitating symptoms.
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MS: Treatments to reverse myelin damage step closer with brain repair study

The new study takes treatment research into the area of reversing myelin damage. This picture shows myelin (in red) and myelin-producing cells (oligodendrocytes, in green).
Image credit: Queen's University Belfast

A breakthrough study looking at how the brain repairs itself could revolutionize treatments for multiple sclerosis. The research, performed on mice and tissue cultures, reveals for the first time that a type of cell involved in immune control also releases a protein that triggers regrowth of myelin.
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How I Still Smile as a College Student Living with MS

My legs buzzed with tingles, and I felt stabbing pins-and-needles sensations. An odd tingling had pained the lower half of my body two days earlier and sent me to the ER. The medics in the ER didn’t find anything wrong, so I went home. But at home the sensations exploded until my back was wracked with pain, too. My worries about what caused the sensations mixed with the escalating pain in my body making me light-headed–even the lights hurt my skin. Something was wrong. My family rushed me back to the emergency room.
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