Cholesterol may protect from MS disability…

Sounds like an interesting connection… will make sure I ask my doctor about my cholesterol level next time I see him..I am taking fish oil (omega-3) supplements anyways..but still..curious about this connection between cholesterol & MS

Reuters, 28.04.2009 – By Megan Rauscher

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – High levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol may help protect against disabilities related to multiple sclerosis or MS.

HDL has anti-inflammatory properties and thus it might benefit MS, a disease of chronic inflammation. Preliminary data to support this theory were reported today at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in Seattle.

The findings, study investigator Dr. Bianca Weinstock-Guttman told Reuters Health, suggest that people with MS should have their HDL levels checked. If they’re low, “consider dietary and medical interventions, such as statins and fish oil (omega -3) supplements, which are known to increase HDL levels.”

Weinstock-Guttman and colleagues from the State University of New York at Buffalo analyzed clinical, demographic and HDL data on 186 MS patients whose average age was 50 years.

At the start of the study, almost 20 percent of the participants had low HDL levels while close to 50 percent had high levels.

Over the next 6 years, an association between the level of HDL cholesterol and the level of disability became apparent. Patients with higher scores on the Expanded Disability Severity Scale (EDSS) initially were significantly less likely to have high levels of HDL at follow-up, the investigators report in printed information made available at the meeting.

“We found that the patients with greater disability, or higher EDSS scores, were almost twice as likely to have low HDL levels compared to patients with less disability, or lower EDSS scores,” Weinstock-Guttman added in comments to Reuters Health.

Further studies regarding the relationship between HDL levels and MS disease progression are warranted, the investigators conclude.

“Increase in HDL is an important factor known to prevent cardiovascular events but also appears beneficial in preventing chronic inflammation,” Weinstock-Guttman noted, adding that both statins and omega-3s have preliminarily shown “beneficial effects for MS patients.

source: http://www.reuters.com/article/email/idUSTRE53R7CG20090429

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CANCER PILL & MS!!

this is taken from bbc.co.uk dating April 29th ’09… it is rather interesting… yet again there seems to be a connection between cancer & MS…promising :) (similar to my post on leukemia & MS on Oct. 24th 2008…)

Cancer pill ‘offers MS benefits’

The drug would be in tablet form Courses of a common cancer drug can dramatically reduce the risk of a patient with multiple sclerosis having a relapse or deterioration, work shows. Taking cladribine a few times a year more than halved the chances of a relapse, with few side-effects, the UK study of 1,300 patients found. UK expert Professor Gavin Giovannoni said the drug could revolutionise the treatment of MS. Its manufacturer Merck Serono hopes to seek licensing for its use this year. The drug is already licensed for treating leukaemia. The evidence is there, but we now need to see cladribine move smoothly through the regulatory process and the price the manufacturer sets will play a crucial part in that Dr Lee Dunster, head of research at the MS Society Prof Giovannoni gave his assessment of its potential value to MS patients at a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Seattle. The UK’s drugs watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, is considering including cladribine in its next round of assessments. Cladribine works by suppressing the immune system, reducing the risk of further damage to a patient’s nervous system. Patients who took the drug were 30% less likely to suffer worsening in their disability due to MS. Easy to take The study involved over 1,300 MS patients who were followed up for nearly two years and monitored using MRI scans. Patients were given either two or four treatment courses of cladribine tablets per year, or a placebo. Having an effective oral therapy will have a major impact for people with MS Professor Giovannoni Each course consists of a single tablet per day for four or five days, adding up to just eight to 20 days of treatment each year. If it becomes available to patients, cladribine will be the first licensed treatment for MS which does not involve regular injections. Professor Giovannoni, of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, part of Queen Mary, University of London, said: “These results are really exciting. MS can be a very debilitating illness and at the moment treatment options remain limited. “Having an effective oral therapy will have a major impact for people with MS. “Our study shows that cladribine tablets prevent relapses and slow down the progression of the disease, making patients feel better. “Importantly, it does so without the need for constant injections that are associated with unpleasant side-effects. “We will continue to follow the patients in the trial to see how they fare in the long-term.” Dr Lee Dunster, head of research at the MS Society, said: “These are remarkable results and being able to take a tablet instead of having injections will be a huge step forward for people with MS. “The evidence is there, but we now need to see cladribine move smoothly through the regulatory process and the price the manufacturer sets will play a crucial part in that.” It is estimated that 85,000 people in the UK currently have MS, with 2,500 new cases diagnosed each year.