I intend this blog to be a mixture of my personal experiences with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and news related to MS. Hopefully, I can shed an optimistic light on MS even though it is difficult to be an optimist living with MS.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Last Post about Recent MSF Mailer

Ok, so this will be the last (but not least) installment of the recap of the recent MSF mailer I received.  First, mono + vitamin D deficiency may = MS:
New research suggests that people who are exposed to low levels of sunlight coupled with a history of having a common virus known as mononucleosis may be at greater odds of developing MS than those without the virus.
"MS is more common at higher latitudes, farther away from the equator," said George C. Ebers, M.D., with the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "Since the disease has been linked to environmental factors such as low levels of sun exposure and a history of infectious mononucleosis, we wanted to see whether the two together would help explain the variance in the disease across the United Kingdom."
Infectious mononucleosis is a disease caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, which is a Herpes virus that is extremely common but causes no symptoms in most people. However, when a person contracts the virus as a teenager or adult, it often leads to infectious mononucleosis.
The body makes vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) light.
For the study, researchers looked at all hospital admissions to National Health Service hospitals in England over seven years. Specifically, they identified 56,681 cases of MS and 14,621 cases of infectious mononucleosis. Scientists also looked at NASA data on ultraviolet intensity in England.
The study found that adding the effects of sunlight exposure and mononucleosis together explained 72 percent of the variance in the occurrence of MS across the United Kingdom. Sunlight exposure alone accounted for 61 percent of the variance.
"It's possible that vitamin D deficiency may lead to an abnormal response to the Epstein-Barr virus," Ebers said.
He noted that low sunlight exposure in the spring was most strongly associated with MS risk.
"Lower levels of UVB in the spring season correspond with peak risk of MS by birth month. More research should be done on whether increasing UVB exposure or using vitamin D supplements and possible treatments or vaccines for the Epstein-Barr virus could lead to fewer cases of MS."
The research is published in the April 19, 2011, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
If having mono as a teen and having low levels of vitamin D do equate to an MS diagnosis, then that would help to explain my diagnosis.  I had a pretty severe case of mono when I was a junior in high school (so bad that my spleen had enlarged to the point that the doctor was worried that the slightest blow to that area of my body would rupture my spleen).  Also, I recently got my vitamin D levels checked after learning about the potential impact of vitamin D on MSers and my levels were low.  I have been taking supplements and hopefully in a year, my levels will be up.  I find this "discovery" to be so interesting; I would love to know how many people living with MS had mono when they were younger.

For those MSers who have issues with balance, this BalanceWear vest may be the answer (or at least helpful):
Have balance and walking difficulty? The newly introduced BalanceWear® Therapeutic Garment utilizes Balance-Based Torso Weighting® (“BBTW®”), a novel technique used by some physical therapists to improve balance and mobility. The technique, which requires you to wear a customized, strategically weighted garment utilizing small, unobtrusive weights, is adjusted specifically to your body. BalanceWear is currently available in California, New York, Wisconsin, Delaware, Connecticut, and North Dakota with additional states being added constantly.
Individuals for whom the BalanceWear vest is recommended by a physical therapist certified in its use, can apply for funding through the MSF to pay for the entire cost of the garment.
To find a certified therapist near you, contact Motion Therapeutics, Inc., developers of the BalanceWear Therapeutic Garment, at 805-278-BBTW (2289).
To learn more about how this technology may help you, visit http://www.motiontherapeutics.com/.
Last, but not least, the makers of teriflunomide are recruiting patients for their clinical trials (Phase III - Teiflunomide vs. Placebo), the qualifications are listed below:
This study is recruiting in locations nationwide. The primary objective of this study is to demonstrate the effect of teriflunomide (14 mg/day and 7 mg/day) compared to placebo for reducing conversion of patients presenting with their first clinical episode consistent with MS to clinically definite MS.
It is an international, multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group study and is designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of two year treatment with teriflunomide.
Qualified participants will be between the ages of 18 and 55, male and female. Other inclusion criteria:
People with a first acute or subacute, well-defined neurological event consistent with demyelination (such as optic neuritis confirmed by an ophthalmologist, spinal cord syndrome, brainstem/cerebellar syndromes.)
Onset of MS symptoms occurring within 60 days of randomization.
A screening MRI scan with two or more T2 lesions at least 3 mm in diameter that are characteristic of MS.
For more information go to http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=28288047&msgid=399143&act=X8WI&c=263560&destination=http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ and search for identifier number NCT00622700.
I have been getting a lot of information lately that I want to share.  The newest Momentum magazine has an interesting article about Vitamin D and everyone seems to be reporting about the promising progress BG-12 and Laquinimod are making in their clinical trials.  I will try to post again soon! 

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