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Friday, December 31, 2010

Youth and MS

Yesterday I got a comment from a reader stating that she was diagnosed at age 13. I just checked out her blog and was impressed by her mission to create an MS forum for the increasing, juvenile MS population. Please check out her site and send her your support.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Guest Post by Keith Hoffeild

Those who have MS can find it difficult to have hope in their lives. Suffering from a disease which has no known cure is something that is incredibly difficult, but it is always important to have have hope for the future. A new year is fast approaching and with it, there are promising new drugs and treatments being introduced which will make life far easier for those who are suffering with MS. 2011 shows signs of being an excellent year, as two new forms of MS treatment are being released at some point in the coming year.

The first MS treatment to consist of a ingested pill is due to become available at some point in 2011. There are two versions of the pill, developed by competing pharmaceutical companies. Fingolimod is the name of the pill developed by the company Novartis. This pill is taken once a day. Cladribine, developed by the company Merck, is another treatment of MS in the form of a pill. The pill is taken in a course, with typically forty pills taken through the year. Cladribine already sees use in cancer treatment, but only recently have researchers discovered the treatment can be used for sufferers of intermittent MS.

Each of the two drugs have been subjected to studies at the University of London, and have both shown promising results. The current treatments for multiple sclerosis are injected into the body. These injections can be painful and produce undesirable side effects. Also, these injections are expensive and time consuming, as many injections are needed throughout the year. Cladribine was used in a study involving 1,300 MS patients, and the results showed that those who received the pill were approximately 56% less likely to have a relapse than those who did not. Fingolimod was used in a study which involved 1,033 patients, and the rate of relapse occurrences in those who received the pill was reduced by about 60%. The professor who oversaw the cladribine study did concede that not much was known about the long term effects of these medications, which may be a future issue.

Both of these drugs were able to reduce MS progress in a third of all patients, effectively stalling the disease. Unlike the intravenous treatments such as betaseron, and avonex, patients treated with these pills experienced no negative side effects whatsoever. The MS Society claims to be trying its utmost in making these pills available to MS sufferers as soon as possible. With such promising steps being made in the treatment of MS, and other diseases which plague mankind, online schools for medical are available for those who want to help the fight against these dreadful illnesses, but cannot find the time to attend classes.

Studies are currently being undergone to determine if vitamin D can be used as a method of MS prevention. It is believed vitamin D plays a role in the pathogenesis of MS, which is why there is a possibility it may lead to some form of treatment. One study has reported that low dose naltrexone has shown positive effects on MS patients, but no further evidence has been released since then.

Not only are new methods of treatment being developed and introduced, but new forms of diagnosis are being researched for implementation. Multiple sclerosis is very difficult to diagnose due to the many symptoms that the disease can cause. Some patients present completely different symptoms, making clinical diagnosis nearly impossible. Anti-myelin anti-bodies are being studied in order to determine if they can be used as biomarkers of the disease, but little success has been reported from the studies thus far.

Bio: Keith Hoffield has a degree in biology a a minor in creative writing. He loves to share his knowledge by working with

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What a Difference a Year Can Make

I was just reading over the blog entry I wrote for my birthday last year as I reflect on where I am today (on my birthday again). While most of my physical circumstances (job/s, domicile, relationship status etc) are the same, I feel very different.

At this time last year I was physically and mentally exhausted. My life felt bleak and lonely and I was almost always anxious. I was in a really bad place.

Things have really changed. True, I'm still tired and I still work all the time but I don't feel overcome by my life. When I wake up every day, I don't feel like I can't face the day. I don't dread my job or even the work I have to do on the weekend. I am not lonely anymore and I am not worried about my finances. For the first time in several years, I don't feel an urge to look for a new job.

I still don't get out all the much, but now when I do, it's because I want to and not out of a sense of obligation. My life at home is much better too. I have a roommate and my cats to keep me company, and my new kitten is like the child I never had (much less work but tons of love and companionship).

To sum it all up, I feel good. Now, off to enjoy the day :)