Sunday, January 4, 2015

9 cool things that happened in 2014 for treatment and prevention of MS

I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. Before trying anything listed below, please consult with your physician or neurologist. Further, this recap is based on info I gathered from exploring other websites including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s “Strides Made in 2014 Toward a World Free of MS” published early last month. Be sure to check it out in its entirety because the list of accomplishments is long – hurray for our fight against MS! 

2014 was a pretty great year for those of us living with Multiple Sclerosis. So many amazing things happened in our journey towards treatment and prevention of the disease. We’ve got more drug therapy options, saw great studies come out on myelin repair, identified risk factors for developing MS, and even learned that dance therapy may help those of us living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Without further ado here are 9 pretty cool (and important) things that happened in 2014 for treatment and prevention of MS:

There are now 12 disease-modifying treatment options for those living with RRMS. This is up from 10 options about a year ago. The FDA approved Plegridy and Lemtrada in 2014. This is pretty remarkable because it was not long ago when the choices were so few. Plegridy is injected under the skin every two weeks and designed to lengthen the effect of interferon. Lemtrada is a bi-annual infusion option for those seeking therapy after other MS drugs did not reach desired results. Oh, and the FDA also approved a new and improved Copaxone allowing MSers to inject three times a week vs. every single day. That’s a pretty big win.

Infusing with one of the 12
DMTs now available to
MSers - Tysabri
Statins show promise in slowing brain atrophy in those living with SPMS. Based on trials, this cholesterol-fighting drug slowed the rate of brain atrophy by 43% vs. placebo over a two-year period. Fingers crossed that more studies like this continue and help those living with SPMS.

Smoking continues to be bad for MS health. Building on other studies, researchers in the U.K. found that for every year since quitting smoking, the risk for MS progression reduced 5% (for those living with MS). So glad I quit smoking those many years ago. Cheers to that!

The sunshine vitamin continues to help those living with MS. An international study helped show that analyzing Vitamin D serum levels in early MS may help predict future disease activity and progression. And, those in the study with higher levels of Vitamin D had reduced disease activity and progression vs. those with lower levels. On a personal note, I am on a Vitamin D program prescribed by my neurologist as he feels my levels are too low. Wish me luck for improvement!

There may be something to cod liver oil, too. Studies show that those who took cod liver oil, a source of Vitamin D, during the ages of 13-18 had 50% reduced risk of developing MS (vs. those who never took it or took it at other ages).
Did you know the sunshine
vitamin may help in predicting future
disease activity and progression? 

Researchers continue to explore ways to repair damaged nervous systems. Very smart people all over the world continue to analyze compounds, antibodies, stem cells, molecules, and other elements to find ways to repair myelin damage. Check out the NMSS site linked (here) for more info on these important studies.

Our health data has power! is now live and is putting MSers at the center of research in our fight against MS. This is an incredible project that will use health data to help those living with Multiple Sclerosis and to find that eventual cure. Check it out (here).

Taking up Salsa lessons may help MSers. Studies show that the Salsa dance form helps with gait and balance issues for those of us living with Multiple Sclerosis.  Larger studies are being developed now to see how dance can be incorporated into physical therapy programs for MSers. Everybody Salsa!

Biogen hands out Fitbits to some living with Multiple Sclerosis. Biogen hopes get useful data about the progression of the disease and lead to better treatments. To do so, they gave out 250 Fitbit bands to MSers and will analyze mobility and sleep patterns. Read more about it (here).

The list of accomplishments, trends, and other important elements from 2014 is much, much longer than what’s listed above. Please be sure to check out the resources featured at the bottom of this page for more information about everything that is being done for treatment and prevention of MS.

I hope the new year is good for you and yours.

Best always,

“Multiple Sclerosis Year in Review”, Neurology Advisor, 2014
“Strides Made in 2014 Toward a World Free of MS”, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, December 9, 2014

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