Links for Keyword: Multiple Sclerosis

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Multiple sclerosis is more common among people living in northern latitudes, but they aren't the only ones affected, according to a new report. The World Health Organization and the London-based Multiple Sclerosis International Federation published the MS Atlas on Wednesday. It summarizes information on the disease in 112 countries, none of which were free of the disease. MS is a neurodegenerative disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord, and can lead to paralysis and sometimes blindness. Some people with MS experience little disability during their lifetime. But up to 60 per cent are no longer fully able to walk 20 years after onset, which has major implications for their quality of life and costs to society, the report said. Symptoms appear around 30 years of age on average. “The Atlas of MS reveals how these implications impact women more than men, by at least two to one, at an age when they are starting a family and developing a career,” said Dr. Benedetto Saraceno, director of the WHO's department of mental health and substance dependence. The study confirms that MS is a global disease, not solely of the more developed “northern” and “western” countries, the report said. © CBC 2008

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 14: Biological Rhythms, Sleep, and Dreaming
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 10: Biological Rhythms and Sleep
Link ID: 12059 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By JANE E. BRODY What you are about to read is not an endorsement of any particular diet as a therapy for multiple sclerosis. Nor is it a suggestion to forgo established medical treatments. But so long as it is part of a medically approved treatment program, the diet described here is unlikely to hurt, except perhaps to make meal planning a challenge. And on the testimony of those who have followed it, the plan may be worth trying, despite the lack of scientific evidence to support it. The diet has not been subjected to a placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial, the gold standard for determining the value of any therapy. But Ann D. Sawyer and Judith E. Bachrach, co-authors of “The MS Recovery Diet,” say this should not dissuade people struggling with the debilitating symptoms of the degenerative disease. The diet they outline extends one developed decades ago by Dr. Roy L. Swank, an emeritus professor of neurology at Oregon Health Science University. It severely restricts saturated fat and increases essential fatty acids like fish and vegetable oils, measures endorsed by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as part of a healthy diet. Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 11399 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By JANE E. BRODY When it comes to understanding, preventing and treating chronic diseases, multiple sclerosis ranks among the most challenging. The word “multiple” is apt in more ways than one. Various suggested causes include early-life exposure to certain viruses or toxic agents, geographic and dietary influences, inherent immunological defects and underlying genetic susceptibilities. MS is highly unpredictable. Rarely are any two patients alike in the presentation, duration and progression of symptoms; even the underlying cause of disability in MS is being reconsidered. And rarely do any two patients respond in the same way to a given therapy, be it medically established or alternative. Trial and error is the name of the game, experts say, because it is often not possible to know in advance what will work best for individual patients. These are the frequent underpinnings of confusion and distrust among those afflicted and their families. They sometimes give rise to claims that the organizations raising large amounts of money to support research and patient services and the scientists studying the disease have no intention of finding a cure, lest it put them out of business. It is a ridiculous notion on its face, since many of those involved in fund-raising and research have watched loved ones suffer and succumb to diseases like MS. Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 11363 - Posted: 06.24.2010

A handful of Canadians with multiple sclerosis have had an experimental surgical procedure under the radar in this country, despite lack of proof of its safety or effectiveness. The surgery is based on the theory that blocked veins in the neck and chest contribute in some way to symptoms of MS. It's thought that opening up the veins using balloon angioplasty improves the condition. The procedure is officially not available in Canada. But Bill Harrison said he had the surgery in Victoria just over three weeks ago, paid for by B.C.'s health plan. Harrison, who has now moved to Toronto, was about to spend to $19,000 to travel to India for the surgery when he had the procedure at Victoria General Hospital. Dr. Mark Godley of False Creek Healthcare Centre in Vancouver arranged Harrison's surgery as a routine vascular procedure to fix a circulation problem. "The treatment was performed based on the fact that there was a disorder, a vascular disorder, and there was not the label of the association with MS," Godley said. Harrison said he couldn't have waited any longer because he was days away from being bed-ridden. "I do not understand what the obstacles are," Harrison said, sitting on a park bench in Toronto. "What I hear is, 'It takes time, it has to be tested.' I've already tested it. It works. I got my life back, yes!" © CBC 2010

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 14050 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Michelle Roberts US scientists are testing a radical new theory that multiple sclerosis (MS) is caused by blockages in the veins that drain the brain. The University of Buffalo team were intrigued by the work of Italian researcher Dr Paolo Zamboni who claims 90% of MS is caused by narrowed veins. He says the restricted drainage, visible on scans, injures the brain leading to MS. He has already widened the blockages in a handful of patients. The US team want to replicate his earlier work before treating patients. Experts welcomed the research saying it was important to confirm the basic science before evaluating any therapy. MS is a long-term inflammatory condition of the central nervous system which affects the transfer of messages from the nervous system to the rest of the body. The Buffalo team, led by Dr Robert Zivadinov, plan to recruit 1,100 patients with MS and 600 other volunteers as controls who are either healthy or have neurological diseases other than MS. Using Doppler ultrasound, they will scan the patients to see if they can find any blockages within the veins of the neck and brain. BBC © MMIX

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 2: Functional Neuroanatomy: The Nervous System and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 2: Cells and Structures: The Anatomy of the Nervous System
Link ID: 13510 - Posted: 06.24.2010

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada will finance some research into an experimental Italian treatment but urges patients not to stop treatment until more is known about the procedure.The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada will finance some research into an experimental Italian treatment but urges patients not to stop treatment until more is known about the procedure. (M. Spencer Green/Associated Press) The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada will be asking Canadian scientists to propose their own research into a procedure that has ignited the hopes of patients in Europe and North America. The procedure is known as chronic cerebro spinal venous insufficiency, or CCSVI, and involves removing a blockage in the veins that carry blood to and from the brain. An Italian vascular surgeon, Dr. Paolo Zamboni, a professor of medicine at the University of Ferrara in Italy, has reported success in reducing the symptoms of people who suffer from multiple sclerosis. The Canadian MS organization has reacted to Zamboni's research with caution. On Monday, however, the society said that after receiving so many inquiries about the procedure, it has decided to offer a grant to researchers in Canada. Details of the program will be announced Tuesday. In the meantime, the society urged people with MS to be patient and continue with their regular treatment until there is more evidence about the experimental procedure. © CBC 2009

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 13498 - Posted: 06.24.2010

An experimental drug seems to help some people with multiple sclerosis to walk better, which could improve their quality of life, researchers said. In this week's issue of the medical journal the Lancet, neurologist Dr. Andrew Goodman of the University of Rochester Medical Center and his colleagues reported the results of their trial comparing Acorda Therapeutics' drug fampridine with a placebo. A progressive decline in mobility is a common feature of MS, and there are few pharmaceutical options to complement physiotherapy. "The data suggest that, for a sub-set of MS patients, nervous system function is partially restored while taking the drug," Goodman said in a statement. Goodman has served as a consultant to the company. "As a clinician, I can say that improvement in walking speed could have important psychological value; it may give individuals the potential to regain some of the independence that they may have lost in their daily lives," he added. The study looked at 301 adults in Canada and the U.S. with MS for 14 weeks. About 35 per cent of subjects who previously had trouble walking increased their walking speed after taking fampridine, compared with eight per cent in those randomly assigned to take a placebo. © CBC 2009

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 12597 - Posted: 06.24.2010

by Linda Geddes For the first time, some of the disability associated with the early stages of multiple sclerosis appears to have been reversed. The treatment works by resetting patients' immune systems using their own stem cells. While randomised clinical trials are still needed to confirm the findings, they offer new hope to people in the early stages of the disease who don't respond to drug treatment. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the fatty myelin sheath that wraps around nerve cells and speeds up their rate of transmission comes under attack from the body's own defences. Clean slate Richard Burt of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and his colleagues had previously tried using stem cells to reverse this process in patients with advanced stages of the disease, with little success. "If you wait until there's neuro-degeneration, you're trying to close the barn door after the horse has already escaped," says Burt. What you really want to do is stop the autoimmune attack before it causes nerve-cell damage, he adds. In the latest trial, his team recruited 12 women and 11 men in the early relapsing-remitting stage of MS, who had not responded to treatment with the drug, interferon beta, after six months. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 12499 - Posted: 06.24.2010

It started when Levi Barron's right hand curled into a claw shortly after his 13th birthday. Always laid-back, he told his mom that he'd just learn to write with the other hand and not to worry. But the debilitating stiffness crept to his other hand, and soon the athletic hockey player was having trouble walking and even fell a few times. It took four doctors and a stint in hospital, paralyzed from the waist down and so dizzy he couldn't open his eyes without vomiting, for Levi to finally get a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. "I remember just being so frightened and upset that I didn't know that kids got MS," says Karen Barron, Levi's mom. Once thought of as a young adult disease striking people in their 20s or 30s, it is increasingly being recognized that multiple sclerosis can actually emerge much earlier, says Jon Temme, vice-president of client services and research for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. "Certainly the likelihood of a child being diagnosed accurately is much greater now than it would have been a decade ago." © CBC 2009

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 12453 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Sandra G. Boodman Whenever doctors told Ruben Galiano that his wife, Olga, had multiple sclerosis, he tried not to look as though he didn't believe them. To the former hotel cook, her symptoms resembled those he had seen in stroke patients. And the MS medication she had been taking hadn't done a thing. But the real reason Galiano clung to his skepticism was emotional. "If she had MS it would mean she wouldn't be cured," he said. That was a possibility Galiano could not entertain about his wife of nearly 40 years. Olga Galiano's problem surfaced about five years ago, shortly after the couple moved back to their homeland, Guatemala. They had spent their entire adult lives in the Washington area, where their children were born and raised, but Olga Galiano's mother was seriously ill and needed their help. Soon after they settled in Guatemala City, Olga Galiano got very sick. She collapsed on the floor and in the space of a week developed double vision and an uncontrollable tremor in her head and hands. She also lost her sense of balance, and her speech became badly slurred. The first doctor who examined her ruled out a stroke, then diagnosed Parkinson's disease, which he soon changed to MS, an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. A second doctor concurred with the MS diagnosis. A third physician told them he had no idea what was wrong and recommended a witch doctor. © 2008 The Washington Post Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 11392 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Nathan Seppa An experimental vaccine for people who have multiple sclerosis has proved safe, clearing a necessary first hurdle toward regulatory approval. The results of this initial trial also suggest that the vaccine can indeed quell the self-destructive immune reaction that many scientists believe causes the disease. Despite this early promise, the researchers caution that the findings are based on data gathered from a small group over a limited time. The researchers used a technique called DNA vaccination, which introduces a gene into the body to elicit an immune response. But rather than rile the immune system against a foreign foe, the new multiple sclerosis (MS) vaccine seeks to induce immune tolerance of myelin basic protein, a component of myelin. A fatty material that protects nerves, myelin is degraded in MS, robbing patients of muscle control. For the vaccine, researchers at Stanford University and Bayhill Therapeutics in Palo Alto, Calif., designed a DNA ring that encodes a slightly altered version of myelin basic protein. The changes replaced immune-stimulating parts of the protein with immune-suppressing ones. Scientists gave 30 MS patients four injections over 9 weeks and then tracked their progress for a year. The study was made public this week and will appear in the October Archives of Neurology. ©2007 Science Service

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 10613 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Roxanne Khamsi Testosterone can help protect against brain shrinkage in men with multiple sclerosis (MS), a small, preliminary trial suggests. Patients who applied a gel containing the hormone every day for a year showed less brain shrinkage than expected for people of their age with MS. The study participants also showed an increase in muscle mass over the course of the one-year trial. Researchers say the new findings are encouraging and suggest testosterone could one day help men with MS preserve their mind and muscle function. In multiple sclerosis, the immune system is thought to turn on the body, attacking the protective coating on nerves that enables them to swiftly send signals. This process can ultimately lead to neurological problems such as poor coordination and paralysis. In many cases, people in their 40s and 50s who have had MS for more than a decade will start showing signs of impaired memory, says Rhonda Voskuhl at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the US. For example, they might have difficulty remembering three questions asked in quick succession. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 5: Hormones and the Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 10304 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Roxanne Khamsi A hormone produced during pregnancy could reverse some of the neurological damage associated with multiple sclerosis, a mouse study suggests. The finding could help explain why women with MS suffer fewer symptoms during pregnancy. And the results suggest that the hormone - prolactin - might one day be used to treat people with the disorder. Multiple sclerosis involves the destruction of the sheath of fatty tissue called myelin that normally protects nerve cells. The loss of this protective layer disrupts nerve signalling and leads to symptoms including loss of coordination. To simulate neurological damage in female mice, Samuel Weiss of the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, and colleagues injected small amounts of a myelin-degrading toxin into the spine of the animals. Some of the mice were then allowed to mate and became pregnant, after which the team injected both groups with a marker compound which integrates with the DNA of new cells, allowing these to be clearly identified. When researchers examined the animals' spinal cords they found the pregnant mice had many more new cells around the site of nerve damage than the non-pregnant animals. Journal reference: Journal of Neuroscience (DOI: 10.1523/jneurosci.4441-06.2007) © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 5: Hormones and the Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 9999 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Roxanne Khamsi In a novel experiment, moderate doses of carbon monoxide protected against the symptoms of multiple sclerosis in mice. Researchers believe that the poisonous gas prevents the development of symptoms, such as paralysis, by stopping harmful molecules called free radicals from forming in the nervous symptom. Miguel Soares at the Gulbenkian Science Institute in Oeiras, Portugal, and colleagues injected the animals with a protein mixture known to cause experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS). Ten days later some of the mice were placed in a chamber where they breathed carbon monoxide (CO) at a concentration of about 500 parts per million for 20 days. Soares notes that while the mice functioned normally at this level of CO exposure, a similar concentration of the gas can cause headaches and fainting in humans. At the end of the trial, the mice that had breathed CO showed much greater mobility than their control counterparts. While the experimental mice had limp tails, the control mice suffered complete hind limb paralysis. Soares suspects that CO works in this fashion because it promotes the binding of iron to heme molecules within the nervous system. Heme molecules that lack iron can increase the production of free radicals, which damage cells. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 9887 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Erika Check Could a spoonful of worm eggs help patients to fight the crippling symptoms of a nerve disease? Perhaps, say scientists who suggest that patients with multiple sclerosis can benefit from certain types of parasitic infection. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which the body's own defence cells attack protective nerve tissue. This can cause pain and problems with vision, movement, memory and thinking. But scientists in Argentina have published a study claiming that these symptoms of the disease may be lessened in people whose immune system has been affected by a parasite. The scientists, who report their work in Annals of Neurology, studied 24 people with multiple sclerosis for more than four years, half of whom became infected with parasites after they were diagnosed with MS1. Among the patients with parasites, there were only three clinical relapses, compared with 56 in the non-infected group. And only half of the infected patients incurred brain lesions from MS, compared with all of the non-infected patients. Certain types of immune cells, known as T cells, produce chemicals that trigger the crippling attacks of MS. The scientists found that T cells from the parasite-infected patients were less likely to produce these chemicals. Perhaps the parasites programme the T cells to shut down destructive signals, says Jorge Correale of the Raśl Carrea Institute for Neurological Research in Buenos Aires, one of the two scientists who publish today's work. ©2007 Nature Publishing Group

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 9849 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - People with higher levels of vitamin D have a markedly reduced risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study published on Tuesday that may point to a promising way to protect against the disease. MS is an incurable and often disabling disease of the central nervous system that appears most often among young adults and affects 2 million people globally. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston combed a massive repository of serum samples from more than 7 million U.S. military personnel to find 257 people who developed MS. Their samples were analyzed for vitamin D levels and compared with a group of randomly picked military personnel from the same broad population who did not develop MS. Among the white people studied, the chances of developing MS fell as vitamin D levels in the body rose, according to findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Among whites, the majority of those in the study, the risks of MS fell 62 percent for those in the top fifth of vitamin D concentration. © 1996-2006 Scientific American, Inc.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 9776 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Laura Blackburn One of the chief instigators of multiple sclerosis (MS) has a split personality. Immune cells known as microglia usually protect the nervous system, but when things go wrong, they strip neurons of myelin--their protective coating--leading to muscle spasms and memory difficulties. Now researchers have uncovered new clues into what turns these cellular Dr. Jekylls into Mr. Hydes. When good microglia go bad, it's usually because of a protein called interferon gamma (IFN-gamma). Produced by the body's T-cells, IFN-gamma stimulates microglia to produce a myelin-damaging protein called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). To see if microglia could be turned away from the dark side, neuroimmunologist Michal Schwartz of the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Rehovet, Israel, examined mouse and rat models of MS. When the researchers looked at the response of microglia in these animals to various levels of IFN-gamma and a related protein, interleukin-4 (IL-4), they found that only high levels of IFN-gamma trigger microglia's damaging rampages. When IFN-gamma is low, microglia protect neurons just fine. And when IL-4 is around, it overcomes the malicious effects of IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha, switching microglia from nasty to nurturing. Under these conditions, microglia encourage the cells that make myelin, called oligodendrocytes, to repair damaged neurons. © 2006 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 8699 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Andy Coghlan THE immune cells that attack the brains and nerves of people with multiple sclerosis could be turned into a weapon against the disease. This month sees the beginning of a trial of a personalised vaccine for MS, designed to rein in and destroy the renegade white blood cells that attack myelin cells lining the brain and nerves of patients. To make the vaccine, PharmaFrontiers of Woodlands, Texas, takes blood from an MS patient and extracts a sample of these renegade cells. The cells are then multiplied and weakened with radiation before being re-injected into the patient, whose immune system will then recognise them as damaged and attack them, sometimes wiping them out completely, according to the results of earlier trials. The immune system will also attack healthy renegade cells, which have the same markers on their surface. In one trial of 15 people with MS the rate of new flare-ups was reduced by 92 per cent. If this success is repeated in the new trial it might mean that regular shots could slow or even arrest progression of the disease. "If that's the case, the earlier we can do it after diagnosis the better," says David McWilliams of PharmaFrontiers. In the current trial, 100 patients will receive the treatment and 50 a dummy treatment. The vaccine would only need to be injected four times a year, while other MS drugs need to be given on a weekly or daily basis. © Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 8633 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Nathan Seppa An experimental drug for multiple sclerosis (MS) that was approved in 2004, then abruptly yanked off shelves last year because of safety concerns, may get a second chance. Two studies show that the drug can curb MS symptoms and slow progression of the autoimmune disease over 2 years, the longest tests of this drug to date. A third investigation finds no further cases of the often-fatal complication that sidetracked the drug last year, beyond the three patients who fell ill at that time. All three papers appear in the March 2 New England Journal of Medicine. The drug, natalizumab, was pulled 4 months after its approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Three patients in clinical trials had developed progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a rare nervous system disorder caused by a virus that attacks people with suppressed immunity. The withdrawal came after doctors had written roughly 7,000 prescriptions for natalizumab for MS, rheumatoid arthritis, and an intestinal ailment called Crohn's disease. The drug was marketed as Tysabri by Biogen Idec of Cambridge, Mass., and Elan Corp. of Dublin, which both funded the new studies testing the drug's effectiveness. Copyright ©2006 Science Service.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 15: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 11: Emotions, Aggression, and Stress
Link ID: 8608 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Roxanne Khamsi Women who take the contraceptive pill cut their short-term risk of developing multiple sclerosis by nearly half, according to a survey. The study suggests that the pill could help delay onset of the debilitating neurodegenerative disease. Birth-control pills contain oestrogen, one of the most significant female reproductive hormones. The compound, whether produced naturally or taken as a pill, helps to regulate the menstrual cycle. The survey's discovery adds to a range of positive effects that oestrogen has on non-reproductive organs. The hormone seems, for example, to stop bone loss and forestall heart disease. It can provide relief from hot flushes and may even protect against cognitive decline, although studies linking cancer with hormone-replacement therapy in post-menopausal women have recently curbed medical experts' enthusiasm for oestrogen-containing drugs. Roughly two-thirds of multiple-sclerosis patients are female, and women generally have higher levels of oestrogen than men. So the disease has been blamed on the hormone in the past, explains Alvaro Alonso of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, who led the recent study. In fact, some doctors warn women with a family history of multiple sclerosis not to take the pill. ©2005 Nature Publishing Group

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 5: Hormones and the Brain
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals; Chapter 8: Hormones and Sex
Link ID: 7888 - Posted: 06.24.2010