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.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

More on Vitamin D and Other Interesting News

The following is from a Multiple Sclerosis Foundation email:
Research Examines Cellular Events that May Lead to MS
While it has often been suspected that MS is the result of inherent risk factors ignited by an environmental trigger, a group of researchers from the UC Irvine MS Research Center have recently published data that points to the possible combination of events that causes the disease, and includes a theory that defines the importance of Vitamin D.
Using blood samples from about 13,000 people, study author Michael Demetriou, M.D., and colleagues identified the way environmental factors (including metabolism and vitamin D3 obtained through either sunlight exposure or diet) interact with four genes to affect how specific sugars are added to proteins regulating the disease. Those genes are interleukin-7 receptor-alpha, interleukin-2 receptor-alpha, MGAT1, and CTLA-4.
Earlier work on mice by Demetriou revealed that changes in the addition of these specific sugars to proteins creates a spontaneous MS-like disease. They also found that N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), a dietary supplement and simple sugar related to glucosamine, is able to suppress this process.
The current research shows that both vitamin D3 and GlcNAc can reverse the effects of four human MS genetic factors and restore the normal addition of sugars to proteins. "This suggests that oral vitamin D3 and GlcNAc may serve as the first therapy for MS that directly targets an underlying defect promoting disease," Demetriou said.
 Next, more research to show that certain viruses can increase one's risk of developing MS.
Study Suggests Shingles Nearly Quadruples MS Risk in Asia 
A shingles outbreak can nearly quadruple the risk of developing MS in the following year, but the overall risks remain small, according to research conducted in China. Viruses are thought to play a role in triggering MS, and herpes zoster virus, which causes shingles, is one of the viruses previously implicated. But the new results reported in the Journal of Infectious Diseases are the first to quantify the risk.
Shingles is an exceptionally painful, blistering skin rash caused by the herpes zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. In many patients who suffer chickenpox in childhood, the virus is not eradicated from the body, but lies dormant for years or decades, until it is prompted to start replicating by environmental conditions, stress or infectious diseases.
Epidemiologist Herng-Ching Lin of Taipei Medical University in Taiwan and colleagues studied 315,550 adults with herpes zoster and a control group of 946,650 healthy controls, tracking them for a year to monitor for the development of MS. After adjusting for family income and geographic region,both of which are known to play a role in MS, the researchers found that the group with herpes zoster outbreaks was 3.96 times more likely to develop MS than the control group. On average, MS developed about 100 days after the shingles episode.
The authors noted, however, that MS has a lower incidence in Asian populations than in Western ones, so it may be difficult to extrapolate their findings to the rest of the world.
Could cinnamon be the answer???  If so, I think I could add more cinnamon to my diet :)
Cinnamon Investigated as MS Prevention Treatment
Could cinnamon offer a non-toxic way to stop myelin sheath destruction from MS? Preliminary animal studies have suggested so. Now scientists may be closer to finding out the answer.
Rush University Medical Center has received a $750,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to see if the common household spice used for centuries to ease inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and sore throat, can also inhibit pro-inflammatory molecules that trigger MS.
Kalipada Pahan, Ph.D., a professor of neurology at Rush and principal investigator of the study, says the grant will be used to conduct further studies in mice.
Glial cell activation in the brain has been implicated in the development of a variety of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and MS. Activated glial cells accumulate and secrete different neurotoxin factors that cause various autoimmune responses that lead to brain injury.
"These autoimmune reactions in the brain ultimately kill oligodendrocytes, which are a certain type of brain cell that protects the nerve cells and myelin sheath," said Pahan. "However, cinnamon has an anti-inflammatory property to counteract and inhibit the glial activation that causes brain cell death."
Bad news for Cladribine:
Cladribine Approval Bid Halted
Merck Germany has announced that it is abandoning current efforts to gain approval of the prescription Cladribine, anticipating the drug would never pass global clinical trials. Cladribine was in the pipeline as another possible oral medication for treatment of relapsing-remitting MS.
Merck said it intends to withdraw applications from regulatory review in the limited number of countries where procedures are ongoing.
The decision was made after discussing cladribine with international organizations, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The plan calls for current clinical trials to be completed for the sake of participants and to add knowledge for the scientific community.
In Australia and Russia, where cladribine tablets are approved and available under the trade name Movectro™, Merck said it will withdraw the product from the market and will discuss the timelines and other details with the local regulatory agencies to determine the best solutions for people currently on Movectro therapy.
It will be interesting to see if Merck develops a new oral therapy. 

I hope everyone learned something, I know I did.  I will continue to take Vitamin D supplements and I may have to start adding cinnamon to more foods!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the summary of current research. It's nice to have it broken down like this.