The Burlington Washington Shootings

Mountains at sunsetYesterday five people were shot to death and one sent to the hospital with critical injuries in a senseless act of violence that is also occurring all around the world even as I write this. However this one is way to close to home for me. You see I used to work at the Burlington Mall just a few years ago and just down the corridor from Macy’s!

The questions that come to mind in a tragedy like this are hard to articulate and accept. What, if anything, can be done to stop the killing? With each act of violence people become more desensitized to these horrible acts of insanity and violence. And one only has to watch the nightly news to be barraged with a litany of human suffering that is mostly, and unbelievably, self inflicted.

I have Multiple Sclerosis, and believe it or not, it’s easier to blame God, even though I realize that it’s not Gods fault, for a disease that has taught me understanding and compassion. These are precious gifts even if learned through hardship and pain. But I find that I just have a really hard time finding any understanding in acts of violence that take another life in most cases.

Where do we go, and where do we turn from here? Or are we doomed to a fate filled existence of hate without end?

Prayers for both the living, and the dead. And may we all see the light of a truly blessed and harmonious world that we could create if we only took the time  to realize that Heaven on Earth is a possibility that is not beyond imagination to conceive. It just takes a little effort and a long heartfelt look at human ego and how to build a loving soul rather than a hate filled one!

Bill Walker

MS and Pain Relief Using Lidocaine Creams

    Small bottle aspercreme lotion! Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that is often accompanied by varying amounts of pain both muscle, through inactivity, and more often nerve pain because that is the nature of this awful disease. I’ve used all kinds of pain relief medications such as pills that often leave you with brain fog as well as having to deal with a whole host of other unsavory side effects including addiction and even death. I’ve also tried several kinds of pain lotions that do in fact seem to help a little but they are messy and difficult to apply to the point where even what relief they do provide seems almost not worth the bother.

     Recently though I saw a commercial for a new aspercreme rub with 4% lidocaine added for additional pain relief beyond its other active ingredients. I was intrigued enough to go out and spend eight dollars on a 2.7 oz bottle to see if it actually worked? And surprise, surprise, it worked like a charm. I have not found any product, pill or otherwise, that reduced my pain in a matter of minutes like this product does.

     At times I suffer from extreme lower back pain as well as sciatic nerve pain in the upper portions of both my legs and I almost can’t believe the amount of relief I get after just a few minutes from the time of application of this lotion. I’m sure that there are probably some side effects of over use of these products but I’m also pretty certain that they can’t be any worse then what most doctors prescribe for pain when it comes to MS.

     Give it a try. If it doesn’t help, all you lose is a few dollars. Let me know if you try this and what your thoughts are!

 

Bill Walker

MS AND A NEW ZIKA STUDY

An odd shaped cloud on a clear day.

One lonely cloud!

New research suggests another serious neurological condition can be added to the list of those connected to Zika virus infection. According to a small study, the mosquito-borne illness could cause an autoimmune condition known as acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which shares some traits with multiple sclerosis. The researchers will present their findings this week at the American Academy of Neurology’s 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The small study involved six patients admitted to the emergency room and neurology outpatient department at Hospital da Restauração in Pernambuco, Brazil. Each had fever and rash, symptoms common in people stricken by the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Some patients in the study also developed severe itching, muscle and joint pain and red eyes, which are also symptoms of a Zika infection. All six patients tested positive for the Zika virus. The doctors ruled out other mosquito-borne viruses, including dengue and chikungunya.

The patients began to experience neurological symptoms, such as numbness and weakness in the extremities and headaches, either right away or within 15 days after presenting with signs of an acute Zika infection. Physicians diagnosed two of the patients with ADEM, which occurs when a person’s immune system launches an attack on the myelin sheaths that surround the nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord. This leads to severe inflammation, similar to MS. However, MS is a relapsing-remitting illness, while ADEM flares typically occur just once and a person should have a full recover within a few months. Brain scans of patients diagnosed with ADEM detected lesions in the brain’s white matter, which indicate damage to myelin.

The Study referenced above came straight out of Newsweek Magazine!

More bits and pieces about Zika!

Zika is a blood to blood pathogen that can be carried by certain kinds of mosquitoes. It can also be transferred through sexual contact and by drug users sharing the same needle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using only one of four mosquito-repelling ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, and oil of Lemon Eucalyptus as insect repellent for these kinds of mosquitoes.

Doctors are also recommending that women who have had Zika wait for at least two years before trying to become pregnant. And disease specialists in Brazil are saying that Zika may also be causing a recent surge in another rare condition Guillain-Barre syndrome which has also been suspected as a possible cause for multiple sclerosis!

Bill Walker  

MS and Viagra as a Treatment

   

A picture of me.

That would be me!

     I was reading another site and was stunned to read that researchers are studying Viagra as a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis. The following is what I found in a internet search and I’m still a bit surprised since this is the first I’ve heard of it.

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona researchers have discovered that Viagra®  (sildenafil) drastically reduces multiple sclerosis symptoms in animal models with the disease. The research, published in Acta Neuropathologica, demonstrates that a practically complete recovery occurs in 50% of the animals after eight days of treatment. Researchers are confident that clinical trials soon will be carried out in patients given that the drug is well tolerated and has been used to treat sexual dysfunction in some multiple sclerosis patients.

Multiple sclerosis is the most common chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system and one of the main causes of disability among young adults. The disease is caused by the presence of multiple focuses of demyelination (loss of myelin sheaths around the axons, affecting the ability of neurons to communicate) and neurodegeneration in different areas of the central nervous system. There is currently no cure for the disease, although some drugs have proven effective in fighting symptoms and preventing it from progressing.

A research team from the UAB Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine directed by Dr Agustina García, in collaboration with the research team directed by Dr Juan Hidalgo from the UAB Institute of Neurosciences, has studied the effects of a treatment using sildenafil, sold as Viagra®, in an animal model of multiple sclerosis known as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Researchers demonstrated that a daily treatment with sildenafil after disease onset quickly reduced clinical signs, with a practically complete recovery in 50% of the cases after eight days of treatment. Scientists observed how the drug reduced the infiltration of inflammatory cells into the white matter of the spinal cord, thus reducing damage to the nerve cell’s axon and facilitating myelin repair.

Sidenafil, together with tadalafil (Cialis®) and vardenafil (Levitra®), form part of a group of vasodilator drugs known as phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension. Recent studies in animal models of central nervous system pathologies already pointed to the fact that in addition to vasodilation, these drugs could contain other neuroprotective actions and suggest their usefulness as possible treatments of both acute (cerebrovascular stroke) and chronic (Alzheimer’s) neuropathologies.  Research published in 2010 in theJournal of Neurochemistry by the same research group from UAB demonstrated that one of these inhibitors reduced neuroinflammation and neuronal damage in animal models of traumatic brain injury.

MS and a Letter From A Reader

Almost the top of Mount Baker

At nearly the top of Mount Baker, WA.

Hi Bill,

Love reading your blog.  I wanted to reach out to you to see if you know about the latest treatment option for Upper Limb Spasticity (ULS)  a side effect many people who suffer from MS deal with.

 

ULS can occur weeks, months or years after being diagnosed with MS, and can make it challenging to do day-to-day activities, like getting dressed or putting on deodorant.  People with upper limb spasticity may have rotated shoulders, flexed elbows, wrists, and clenched fists. Due to upper limb spasticity, arms become tight and are forced up against the body and uncontrollable muscle movements or spasms occur at inopportune moments. The muscles in the elbow, wrist and fingers are uncomfortably tight and stiff.

Now, there’s a new treatment option for Adult Upper Limb Spasticity.  Xeomin® (incobotulinumtoxinA) was recently approved by the FDA for use in adult patients suffering from ULS.  In clinical studies, treatment with Xeomin for adult ULS resulted in statistically significant clinical improvements in muscle tone, with a safety profile similar to that observed for other Xeomin indications.

We’d love to connect you with a national or local medical expert who can explain the impact of ULS in more detail and how Xeomin works in adult ULS.

Best,

Katherine

MS and Spring Allergies

    Tree just blooming in Spring I have a friend who has Rheumatoid Arthritis and one day she asked her Doctor what he thought RA was other than just another autoimmune disease? His answer intrigued her and I thought I would share it here. He said that he believed it was an inside out allergy meaning obviously that the allergic reaction was happening on the inside of the body instead of on the outside where many allergic reactions and symptoms are first noticed taking place. That was many years ago and I obviously have not forgotten it. But the reason I haven’t forgotten it is because every spring I get a reminder of that long ago conversation.

     Even before I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and almost every spring since, with this one being no exception, just as the trees start their yearly pollen assault upon the unsuspecting sinuses of many humans, is when I get my worst flare up of MS related symptoms. That’s not to say that I’ve never had a flare up at other times of the year but it almost always seems that my springtime MS attacks coincide with the increase in tree pollen in the air.

     I do realize that multiple sclerosis is a very complicated disease and may have absolutely nothing to do with pollen but it just seems strange, that in my case at least, my worst attacks always seem to happen in early spring. With all of that in mind I was just wondering if anyone else has noticed any patterns with their own disease progression or response over the years since they were diagnosed?

 

Bill Walker

Multiple Sclerosis Hypertension and Now Pre-Diabetic

    Cow Painting Ever since I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis back in 2000 my blood pressure has slowly crept up to a point where it was really starting to bother both myself and my family doctor. At first I was prescribed low doses of something that I don’t recall the name of but it made me cough to the point where it had to be changed to Losartan Potassium. And at first this seemed to bring my BP down to a more reasonable level. But it didn’t take long until the dose had to be doubled to 50mg and then doubled again to a 100mg which is where I’m at now and it still doesn’t seem to be enough to lower my blood pressure down to a safer level.

     I think my doctor might also be starting to get concerned with this because he ordered a complete blood work up to see if something else may be causing my higher pressure levels. However as the results are now back they are all, for the post part, in the normal range with one exception. My glucose levels were high enough for my doctor to announce that I am now pretty much pre-diabetic.

     In one respect this does not come as to much of a shock to me as just about everyone on both sides of my family are also either diabetic or like me, at some early stage of becoming diabetic. But in another respect I remember reading early on after my MS diagnosis that people who became diabetic rarely developed multiple sclerosis and vice versus as well. Another myth bites the dust.

     There is a bright side to this diagnosis that if I watch my weight and my diet I should never develop full blown diabetes. Unfortunately this still doesn’t explain the hypertension. His guess is a combination of stress related factors along with the fact that I really don’t get enough exercise being at least part of the problem. And he stated that higher BP is somewhat common for people with MS. I do try and exercise as much as I can but it tires me out at a pretty fast rate and I live in a place where it rains a lot which also makes getting out more of a problem. And telling me that I am now one step closer to being diabetic certainly doesn’t help reduce any stress that I may be experiencing.

     I have another appointment in a couple of weeks so I won’t know until then whether we are going to increase my current BP drug or try something new. Which means for now, the mystery continues!

 

Bill Walker