Tag Archives: Multiple Sclerosis

MS and Stem Cell Particles

A picture of me.

Bill Walker                                                                   

This is a reprint from a recent study:

Dr. Metcalfe, who is based at Cambridge University in England, is currently looking for funding to further develop her theory that using a stem cell particle called a LIF would switch off the body’s auto-immune cells and help repair the brain.

In addition to being able to switch off the body’s autoimmune response, LIF also protects the brain and spinal cord — the areas affected by multiple sclerosis — and aids in repairing tissue, including brain tissue.

The research has not been smooth sailing. Metcalfe has found that LIF cannot survive outside the cell for more than 20 minutes before being broken down by the body, making it difficult to use as a therapy. However, she has found that nanoparticles could be the answer to the problem, as they can be used to help deliver the LIF therapy. By using antibodies with the nanoparticles, the therapy can be directed to certain areas of the brain — helping to repair damage caused by multiple sclerosis.

Metcalfe is now looking for research funding and hopes that one of the big pharmaceutical companies will step in. She hopes to begin clinical trials of the therapy by 2020.

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MS and Gut Bacteria

A picture of me.

Bill Walker

This is a reprint from a recent study.

A study has found that microbes in your gut may influence the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). It could be a key step towards specific treatment, and help solve what causes MS.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, two different teams conducted separate research and made the same findings. One was from the University of California, San Francisco, and the other from the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

The first team investigated the gut microbiomes of 71 MS patients and 71 control subjects. They identified specific species of bacteria that were more common in the former than the latter. Next, they exposed these bacteria to human immune cells, and found that two species triggered cells to become pro-inflammatory. One found at lower levels triggered immune responses.

In tests on mice, they found that these bacteria had a similar effect. Replacing mice microbiomes with those from an MS patient caused the mice to lose immune-regulatory cells and develop neurodegeneration, a pathway to MS.

The second study came to a similar conclusion, finding that microbiome transplants could increase symptoms in mice.

“Two different groups, using two separate cohorts of patients and controls, and two distinct mouse models of the disease, saw very similar results,” Egle Cekanaviciute said in a statement, who was involved in both studies. “This is very promising evidence that we’re on the right track.”

MS affects about 2.5 million people across the globe, and is known as an autoimmune neurodegenerative disorder. It can lead to loss of vision, weakness, and even paralysis. It’s caused by the immune system attacking the insulation around nerve cells, called myelin, but scientists have been at a loss to explain why this occurs.

These latest studies could provide an answer. While the microbiome probably isn’t the only trigger, it could play a role. This could lead to some new treatments in the future to help tackle MS.

“The microbiome is very malleable,” said Sergio Baranzini, also involved in both studies. “You could relatively easily change it in an adult who has MS or is susceptible – something you cannot do with their genetics. This is not a magical approach, but it is hopeful.”

MS and Reducing Summer Car Heat

A picture of me.

Bill Walker

We all know that summer heat and humidity are absolutely brutal on people with multiple sclerosis. And escaping it is almost impossible to do. But one area where everyone, ms or not dreads is getting into a car that has been sunbathing for a few hours and the internal temperature is usually somewhere in the 120 degree range.

There is a somewhat easy choice to reduce some of that direct sunlight. You’ve probably already seen them and perhaps laughed at some of the more goofy ones. If you’ve ever wondered if those car screens in the front window, and occasionally in the back as well, work? They do, and are very effective in keeping your car from becoming a roaster oven.

You can buy these screens at Walmart and other similar stores. And also keep your windows cracked open just enough to let any heat that may build up to escape. You can also invest in solar powered window fans that run off the power of the sun while your not in the car keeping the air moving so the heat moves out any cracked windows.

Try to stay cool and have a great summer everybody!

Bill Walker

Do you know a literary agent or book publisher that would be willing to read my book? If so please email me and let me know. 

MS Donald Trump and His Medicaid Budget Cuts

A picture of me.

That would be me!

No matter how you voted or what your personal political beliefs are of Donald Trump and his administration, the 2017-2018 budget that was just released, is nothing short of draconian with respect to anyone who has a disability.

This budget calls for cuts of up to 1.4 Trillion, yes Trillion, dollars to medicaid over the next ten years. This will mean every single person with a disability that relies on medicaid for health care, including children, will be impacted.

Donald Trump has also asked for cuts of hundreds of millions of dollars from the social security fund that provides disability checks for both Veterans and people living with disabilities. And, on top of that, his administration is also seeking large cuts to the Snap program that helps people with disabilities buy food through the use of food stamps to help supplement their disability checks.  

People with disabilities need to stand as one and say, “NO!” to these outrages cuts.

Bill Walker

MS Halloween and Chocolate

Fred Meyer Holiday Pumpkin Patch

Yea, not very scary! LOL

As we rapidly approach Halloween, probably the second biggest holiday where chocolate is indulged upon with Valentines Day being the first, I once again broach the subject of a few of chocolates healthy benefits. I’ve already discussed how chocolate is a huge anti-inflammatory treat as long as you eat the purer forms of chocolate with higher amounts of cocoa then the regular milk chocolate that is mostly available in grocery stores candy counters. And as long as you eat it remembering that moderation is the key here. And also remembering that chocolate, no matter what kind you eat, also has a high fat content that can make weight gain a real possibility if you consume to much.

I also wanted to add information that is new about a study using athletes. This study found that athletes who consumed small amounts of dark chocolate with a high cocoa content once a week of about 1.4 ounces just before working out found that their endurance was greatly enhanced. It appears that this rich chocolate acts to open veins and arteries allowing for greater blood flow which increases stamina. And if it helps athletes with their workouts I don’t see any reason that dark chocolate wouldn’t also help people with other diseases or disorders do the same thing during their exercise workouts including people with multiple sclerosis.

So please enjoy your Halloween and allow yourself a small indulgence without guilt as you celebrate All Hallows Day. The day we all chase away all of those negative spirits from our past. Be safe, and please, try to enjoy yourselves as we begin a long march towards the Fall and Winter Holidays to come!

And now I have a small favor to ask of anyone who might have either an Editor at a Book Publishing House or a Literary Agent in the family or as a friend. I’m trying to find either an Editor or an Agent that would give my book VISUS a serious read with the hopes of getting  my book out into the literary hands of the general public. Even if you get them to read the first chapter that is listed above in the title bar would be greatly appreciated by me.

Again, please have a safe Halloween weekend and enjoy your family and friends!

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.