Category Archives: MS Treatments

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.

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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

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

MS and Simple Memory Boosting Ideas

     Mailbox Numbers Unfortunately MS robs many of us of our physical ability to stay active and keep a more normal blood flow to the brain which in turn affects our ability to remember the simplest of things sometimes. One way of stimulating all of those little nerve bundles up in our heads is by reading and writing which many of us do now on a daily basis even if it was something that we didn’t enjoy all that much pre-multiple sclerosis.

     However there are a couple of other little tricks that forces your brain to reset its ability to recall information on a daily basis. But first, here’s a very short but amusing story that gets us started.

     The other day I asked my twenty three year old Niece how many passwords she had because of all the social media and other things that her generation has to keep abreast of on any given day? Her answer certainly surprised me, “Two.” And I would imagine that is probably the same answer that you would get from almost any Millennial. And now, you too, know their secret of living in a password protected world.

     In my case I have at least ten that I can think of off the top of my head and it’s not just because I am old and terrified of someone hacking my personal information. I have them all because it forces me to recall them each to the appropriate site that I am visiting or using at that particular moment. Oh yes, I have my own version of a little black book that I can pull out and search if the brain fog is just to thick to get through, but I have found that by doing this those moments of staring at a blank screen with a blank mind have been fewer and fewer as the years have passed.

     And I have another mind game I play when I’m either riding or driving in my car if I want to wake my brain up from a multiple sclerosis haze. Every time I pass a set of numbers like on a mailbox I’ll add them up until I get the smallest domination. For instance: 7324 would be 7+3+2+4 which would equal 16 and then 1+6 would equal 7. You can also do it with subtraction 7-3-2-4 would equal negative 2. And if you get really bored of that you can also multiply instead 7x3x2x4 would equal 168 and then you could also add and/or subtract from that point as well.

     The whole idea is to keep your mind active and refuse to let MS clog the pathways of your brain. And I’ve become so used to doing this that I can do it easily even with the radio is on while also paying attention to the road around me while I’m driving. However, I don’t do it if I have a passenger.

     And I’m sure I’m not the only one who has these little brain teasers to keep a clear and healthy mind, what are some of your ways of keeping all of the neurons firing in the proper order?

 

Bill Walker

MS Chocolate and Valentines Day’s Healthy Choice

   100_0735  

     In a previous article I discussed the heart healthy and anti-inflammatory benefits that chocolate can provide but that’s certainly not all of the benefits that science is learning about this treat.

      Chocolate especially the purer kinds with higher cocoa content and less sugar can also help to lower blood pressure while also making blood platelets less sticky allowing them to clot easier. And dark chocolate also contains oleic acid which is a heart healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in something else that’s considered very heart healthy, olive oil.

     Chocolate is loaded with antioxidants; in fact chocolate has eight times the amount of antioxidants as strawberries. And the antioxidants in chocolate help to remove free radicals from environmental factors that we encounter on a daily basis from smoke and other air pollutants as well as from other things that we eat. Chocolate also helps keep LDL, or the bad cholesterol, from forming in the body while also helping in balancing certain hormones.

     And chocolate even has some benefits for your mental health like stimulating endorphin production giving you a feeling of pleasure. And chocolate also contains serotonin which acts as a natural anti-depressant. And finally it also contains theobromine and caffeine which act as stimulants for a quick little pick-me up when needed.

     Chocolate should always be eaten in moderation as it does have a high fat content however most of these fats are considered to be the healthy kind, so go ahead, and indulge a little.

     Happy Valentines Day! ♥

 

Bill Walker-Author of Visus

A Google Search of Multiple Sclerosis

     Google Search Page

     Do you remember the Dr. Hook song on the cover of the Rolling Stone where the group sings about what it would be like to see their smiling faces on the cover of The Rolling Stone Magazine? Well, hopefully you do, because I have my own set of lyrics to the same song. I just want to see my words of wisdom on the front page of the Google search!

 

     If you ever have Googled multiple sclerosis the first thing you will notice is that there are more than 22,500,000 results that you can search. In my case I just wanted to see how far I would have to go to find something that I had written that might have made it to the top of that list. And, so I don’t keep you in suspense, the answer is zero in the first 26 pages. However, briefly, here is what I did find in those first 26 pages.

     The first honor on the top of the very first search page goes to The National MS Society with an article entitled, What is MS? Fair enough, can’t argue much with that. The second one goes to the Mayo Clinic and an overview about MS. And the third one down was from Web MD with a similar article. And I found that all three were pretty good as general information for anyone who was just starting their search about multiple sclerosis and what we currently know about the disease, which is still very darn little.

     The first page is rounded out by other sites that explore current treatments, new treatments, and ongoing research for the cure. The most humorous title on the first page or at least the one that made me laugh (Could Canada cause multiple sclerosis?) Which actually explores why ms rates are so much higher, by percentage, in Canada then seemingly anywhere else in the world. Which as I recall from previous things that I have written, both Ireland and Scotland might dispute? Interesting side note here, I have multiple sclerosis, and with a last name of Walker I am also of Scottish heritage so maybe Scotland causes multiple sclerosis? LOL

     The second page of results is much the same as the first but also has a few entries from medical journals about early warning signs and how to manage the disease.

     The third page of results is where you start to see more specific studies concerning MS. One discussed in depth why vitamin D might be a major factor in the early onset of the disease and another discussed how melatonin may be a major point of significant research in the near future. The rest of the links on this page seemed more about the soaring and outrageous costs of MS drugs and whether or not they are really all that effective especially from the cost standpoint.

     The fourth page primarily covered new studies outside of the United States but they really didn’t seem to offer a whole lot of information that I found to be new or exciting above what I already knew. What was interesting about the fifth page was a link that discussed the increase in multiple sclerosis diagnosis’ in Baby Boomers of which I belong to as well. And now that I think about it I have three risk factors for MS, I live on the boarder of Canada, I’m Scottish by heritage, and I’m  Baby Boomer, no wonder I have this autoimmune disorder! I should have known.

     After the fifth page most of the links are just repeats or updated links from past. Although Jack Osbourn gets a link at the bottom of the page which is kind of funny since he beats Ann Romney by two pages. Ann Romney makes an appearance on page seven with a link to her site. And really that’s about it all the way through to page twenty six which was a lot of searching and very disappointing. I mean common, you would think at least one of my blog entries would have found its way into the top twenty six pages, since there is also a lot of junk mixed in there as well.

     Alright Goggle here’s your chance; sing it with me, to put my words of wisdom on The Front Cover of the Google search!

 

Bill Walker

Like my writing? Want to read my first novel about a pod of Killer Whales traveling up the Pacific Coast of North America? Here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Visus-William-C-Walker-ebook/dp/B00U8ZN4GE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427573378&sr=8-1&keywords=Visus

 

 

 

 

 

MS Countdown to the CURE

   

Santa at the Mall

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

      Everyone already knows that cracking the code for the cure of multiple sclerosis is something akin to putting all the right colors back in all the right places on a Rubik’s cube on the very first try. It can take months, or perhaps even years, to figure the right sequence of turns before you finally get it right. In my case I never did get my cube back to its beginning point. I think it still lingers at the bottom of a box somewhere in a closet?

     Fortunately, MS researchers have more patience than I do, and if you’ve been paying attention to recent studies you would also have noticed that major pieces of the puzzle are finally starting to fall into place when it comes to understanding and eventually curing multiple sclerosis. And in this first case, it happened almost by mistake.

     Many researchers over the years have believed that MS has some kind of link to a viral infection of some kind. But viruses are incredibly difficult to see even with our advanced medical technology. And it’s only been in the very recent past that we have finally been able to unlock some of the very basic properties of viruses giving us the ability to fight back against them. And in this case it was a different virus, the one that causes Aids which may have finally taken us a giant leap forward to understanding multiple sclerosis.

     Just a few weeks back the following story was released about a woman over in England who had a rather severe case of multiple sclerosis which she had lived with for many years however this doesn’t seem to have affected her sex drive to any great extent leading her to a night of unprotected sex. A few days after her encounter she found out that her partner may well have been HIV positive sending her to her family physician in a panicked state. Her doctor immediately started her on a cocktail of powerful antiviral IV drugs that have shown great potential in knocking out the HIV virus especially when started right after the initial possible infection.

     In a matter of days after her release from the hospital this woman who had been using a wheelchair for several years suddenly found herself able to get up and walk short distances. And after a few weeks she noticed both her strength and energy levels returning to what she felt was a much more normal level where she was able to walk much greater distances as well as even climb stairs with the help of a cane. She also experienced rapid improvement in her eyesight which had required the use of prescription glasses for many years.

     This all happened a little over a year ago and she has continued to improve and regain a great deal of normal function ever since. In fact her improvement has been so startling that doctors and researchers in England, Australia, and North America have all started the process of putting together clinical trials to see if these results can be duplicated.

     On a different front doctors and researchers are starting to unlock not only the secrets to repairing the myelin sheathing that protects the nerve pathways but also finding a number of very cheap drugs that help the bodies own ability to do just that with out the need of stem cells. Which in their own right are also showing great promise in the treatment of not only MS but many other ailments as well, including the repair of major organs like heart muscle tissue.

     And finally, a brand new drug treatment, that has already passed through clinical trials and is waiting for FDA approval, is being called ground breaking in its effectiveness against MS. The drug Ocrelizumab is reversing damage to the nervous system most likely by remyelination in the central nervous system, though further research is still needed to prove this. However patients in the study are claiming and showing vast improvement from their previous symptoms. And FDA approval could come sometime early in 2016.

     These recent stories give me tremendous hope that the cure for not only MS, but perhaps many if not all of the disorders that are classified as autoimmune diseases, might soon be a thing of the past!

 By Bill Walker

Like my writing? My debut novel Visus that follows a pod of killer whales up the North American Coast is now for sale. The link to buy it is: http://www.amazon.com/Visus-William-C-Walker-ebook/dp/B00U8ZN4GE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427573378&sr=8-1&keywords=Visus