In other news, my local NMSS chapter is having a kick-off event for Walk MS season on Tuesday and I have been asked to speak - to tell my story and why I walk. I have an outline made (not sure I really need it - my story is one that is imbedded in my brain). I am very excited and honored to speak this year!
Now, in MS news; the following comes from the most recent MSF emailer:
Advanced Technology Makes MS Easier to Track
Using a powerful, triple strength MRI to track increasing levels of iron found in brain tissue, medical researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada have discovered a new way to follow the progression of MS in those living with the disease.
Among their observations: Iron levels in people with MS are increasing in grey matter areas of the brain that are responsible for relaying messages. Also, high iron levels in a specific "relay area" were noted in those who had physical disabilities associated with MS.
Iron is very important for normal function of the brain and the amount of iron is a tightly controlled system by the brain tissue. The discovery suggests there is a problem with the control system. Too much iron can be toxic to brain cells and high levels of iron in the brain have been associated with various neurodegenerative diseases. But to date, no tests have been able to quantify or measure iron in living brain.
Twenty-two people with MS took part in the study, along with 22 people who did not have the condition.
Using this new MRI method would give physicians a new way to measure the effectiveness of new treatments for people with MS by watching the impact on iron levels. This opens up the idea of having a new biomarker, a new way of looking at the disease over time, watching the disease, seeing the progression or lack of progression of the disease, and a new way to track it, the researchers said.
The new MRI method, which uses a machine that is 90,000 times the strength of the earth's magnetic field, will give physicians more detail and information about the impact of MS on the brain, insight that doctors and researchers didn't have before.
Stimulating Natural Interferon-B Production May Combat MS
All for now. Hope all is well!Some people with MS have successfully slowed progression of the disease using an FDA-approved interferon-b (INFb) medication. Now researchers in Germany are investigating the use of ribonucleic acid (RNA) to stimulate the body’s own production of the IFNb protein, thereby switching off the MS attack.
RNA is one of the three major macromolecules (along with DNA and proteins) that are essential for all known forms of life.
Marco Prinz at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and colleagues took mice genetically modified to present symptoms of MS and injected them with RNA. The mice showed "rapid improvement" with a decrease in tail weakness and paralysis over the following 48 hours. Increased IFNb appeared to slow the development of T-cells - immune cells that may play a key role in MS, the researchers reported.
Around 80 percent of people with MS treated with injections of IFNb develop antibodies that reduce the efficacy of the protein. Getting the body to generate its own IFNb neatly dodges the antibody problem, according to the researchers.