MS Research Spotlight: Mood Swings, MS Anniversary, and More
MS Research Spotlight covers key research news from the past two weeks.
What to know about MS and mood swings
DECEMBER 4, 2018 || Medical News Today
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has suggested that people with MS tend to focus on their physical symptoms at the risk of neglecting their mental health.
Mood changes are an important indicator of psychological, as well as physical, health. Demyelination can affect all aspects of overall health. Some causes for mood swings include MS-related activity, but living with MS itself can be unpredictable and lead to changes in mood.
This article covers all the different ways that mood changes can be linked to MS, as well as solutions for treating these mood-related problems.1
150 years ago, Charcot reported MS as a new neurological disease
DECEMBER 1, 2018 || Brain
Sometimes, it feels like MS research is in its infancy, but in reality, physician Jean-Martin Charcot started examining multiple sclerosis as a “novel disease of the nervous system” 150 years ago.
Charcot was the first to propose that MS was not a combination of several distinctly different conditions but a singular, if complex, disease. He called it Sclérose en plaques initially, which was changed in 1954 to multiple sclerosis.
This retrospective piece sheds light on Charcot’s challenges in untangling the complex nature of MS.2
Machine learning allows for low-dose gadolinium contrast
NOVEMBER 30, 2018 || MedPage Today
Research presented recently at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America showed that reduced doses of gadolinium dye — at 10 percent of the usual dose used to enhance contrast in MRI images — provided reliable results of equal quality.
The researchers, using artificial intelligence models to conduct their studies, wish to push for further reductions in the amount of the dye used in MRIs to even lower levels, if possible.
The concern over gadolinium dye usage relates to concrete evidence that the substance is deposited in the brain and body. Whether there is a long-term risk from these deposits remains unclear.
Their findings still need to be validated, but the results are encouraging.3
Switch for the regeneration of nerve cell insulation
NOVEMBER 30, 2018 || Ruhr-University Bochum via Science Daily
Researchers have discovered a mechanism that regulates the regeneration of the myelin sheath, the coating of neurons that is damaged by lesion activity in people who have multiple sclerosis.
During the study, scientists found that a specific signaling molecule, known as Vav3, plays an important role in regulating molecular activity by switching certain processes off and on. These switches are found in the building blocks of the myelin sheath known as the oligodendrocytes.
In those with multiple sclerosis, the researchers found a lack of Vav3 molecules; they also discovered that without Vav3, new layers of myelin regenerate (or remyelinate) far more slowly.
The researchers think it might be possible to control these molecular switches using pharmacological solutions in the future to more quickly repair MS activity damage.4
FDA warns about rare but serious risks with MS drug Lemtrada (alemtuzumab)
NOVEMBER 29, 2018 || US Food & Drug Administration
The US FDA released a warning to users of Lemtrada (alemtuzumab): a rare but serious concern about stroke and tears in the lining of arteries in the head and neck may occur within 1 to 3 days following treatment with Lemtrada. Permanent disability and even death may result.5
This has led to the FDA taking action by adding new label and medication guide warnings as well as including “risk of stroke” to the drug’s existing Boxed Warning.
If you use this medication, the FDA recommends you seek emergency treatment as soon as possible if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms, or legs, especially if it occurs on only one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache or neck pain
CDC to study MS in launch of New Neurological Conditions Surveillance System
NOVEMBER 28, 2018 || National Multiple Sclerosis Society
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to launch the National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System (NNCSS) in 2019 as part of the 21st Century Cures Act.
Data from research into both MS and Parkinson's Disease will be studied to help the CDC determine areas of biggest impact for neurologic conditions.
The NNCSS follows on the heels of the research by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which collected data from millions of health records over four years to more accurately count the numbers of people with MS in the US. Their preliminary outcome showed MS prevalence to be twofold what they previously thought.6
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