Lapacho/Taheebo Tea & MS

A friend has informed me about this tea yesterday. She said she read about it and found it rather interesting, due to its curing potential. I have done a bit of research on it but didn’t find any detailed information on its effect on MS but only that it has been used for MS too, among all other ailments… It comes from Pau d’arco (bow tree) found in the Amazons:

Aborigines of Brazil, northern Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and other South American countries traditionally use the inner lining of the tree bark for medicinal purposes, and there is evidence that its use may even pre-date the Incas.

Applied both internally and externally, the bark was used to treat fevers, infections, colds, influenza, syphilis, cancer, respiratory problems, skin ulcerations and boils, dysentery, gastrointestinal ailments, arthritis, prostatitis, circulatory problems, as well as other debilitating ailments.

It was also an accepted cure for lupus, diabetes, Hodgkins disease, osteomylelitis, Parkinson’s disease, and psoriasis. Indians used it to relieve pain, disinfect, treat leprosy, and as a diuretic and antidote to poisons.

I would suggest everyone who can find it to give it a try…there’s nothing we can loose by just trying might at least help us into the Winter season :) I am definitely going to buy it as it is available here in Scandinavia as I heard from my friend.

You can read more details about this anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant etc. tea and the clinical laboratory studies under Links.



Natural Killer research & CNS repair in MS

Looking at the studies covered in Medical News Today over the past ten days we could read about some promising general findings…

The first one I’d like to bring up is the one published in the journal Nature Immunology, and it looks at a specific subset of immune cells called Natural Killer (NK) cells. What a name hu? Well, these cells are specialized immune cells that play a role in killing and removing infected or unhealthy cells, which include cancerous cells. And therefore, they are known to be involved in preventing cancer. However, so far their involvement in MS has been less clear. Nevertheless, it is claimed that some studies suggest that these cells may dampen down the activity of other immune cells thought to be involved in the damage to myelin caused in MS. In sum, this research has enhanced the basic understanding that experts had so far of how the immune system works. And this is a great thing! It is still to be determined how exactly this finding will directly be applied to MS.

On the other hand, a more MS-specific research has unveiled new hopes for MS patients. The news dates Sept. 14th 2009 and I will just bring a short quote from the text here:

A Mayo Clinic study has found that two genes in mice were associated with good central nervous system repair in MS. These findings give researchers new hope for developing more effective therapies for patients with MS and for predicting MS patients’ outcomes.

(please refer to the link Medical News Today under “links” if you want to read the whole article:)

Both are great news that still need some research/confirmation..but still…it shows that we should never give up hope..research is continuously being done in the MS field=)


Neuropeptide Galanin – might limit MS disease severity

I know reading it through might be a bit confusing but I believe it is still another interesting and important discovery.

The neuropeptide galanin is widely distributed in the nervous system and levels are known to increase dramatically in response to injury. Galanin and galanin receptors have recently been shown to be overexpressed in some brain areas of people with Alzheimer’s disease and researchers at the University of Bristol have now shown that galanin is also upregulated in microglia from lesions and shadow plaques in multiple sclerosis sufferers as well as in oligodendrocytes from mice with EAE, an experimental form of the disease.

To investigate whether the increased levels of galanin were modulating disease activity, the team monitored the development of EAE in wild type (WT) mice, galanin knockout (Gal-KO) mice, mice over-expressing galanin (Gal-OE) and mice expressing a mutated form of the galanin receptor-2 (GalR2-Mut). It was found that Gal-OE mice were completely resistant to the development of clinical symptoms whilst Gal-KO mice developed clinical disease earlier than WT mice and GalR2-Mut mice developed more severe disease than WT mice and at an earlier time point.

The study clearly shows the importance of galanin in limiting disease severity in mice with EAE and suggests that GalR2 agonists, if these could be identified, may be of benefit to MS patients.

The study is published in the August 26th online edition of PNAS.

JC Virus – PML & MS patients taking Tysabri

From Medical News Today dated: Sep.11th.09
A very interesting discovery… that might help better understand and hopefully prevent the development of PML in MS patients using Tysabri.

The virus responsible for PML (progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy), a rare brain disease that typically affects AIDS patients and other individuals with compromised immune systems, has been found to be reactivated in multiple-sclerosis patients being treated with natalizumab (Tysabri). The findings, led by scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), appear in The New England Journal of Medicine(NEJM).

“This virus – the JC virus, named for the initials of a patient – is found in about 90 percent of the population,” explains Igor Koralnik, MD, the study’s senior author and director of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Neurology Center at BIDMC. “But in healthy individuals the virus lies dormant in the kidneys and causes no problems.” Urine samples of healthy individuals may, therefore, show evidence of the benign virus.

But, according to Koralnik, who is also Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and a world leader in the study of PML, among AIDS patients and other patients with compromised immune systems, the JC virus can reactivate and travel to the brain, leading to the development of PML, a destructive brain disorder that may cause numerous neurological symptoms, including dementia, blindness, paralysis, and seizures. There is no cure for PML and more than half of all PML patients die within a year of diagnosis.

“This was the first time we had seen PML develop in patients with multiple sclerosis,” notes Koralnik. Because natalizumab, or Tysabri, prevents lymphocytes from crossing the blood-vessel wall, some doctors theorized that it was also providing an opportunity for the dormant PML virus to take hold. “The drug appeared to be something of a double-edged sword,” notes Koralnik. “Not only was it keeping dangerous cells from entering the brain, it was also keeping out the protective virus-fighting lymphocytes, thereby leaving patients vulnerable to this dangerous infection.

Their results showed that measurements of the JC virus in patients’ urine increased from 19 percent (before beginning treatment) to 63 percent after 12 months of using natalizumab. Six months later – 18 months after beginning treatment – blood samples further revealed that the virus had additionally entered the blood cells of 60 percent of these patients. (At 12 months of treatment, only one patient had the virus in their blood.)

“These JC virus measures were higher than viral measures found in patients infected with the HIV virus, and similar to measures seen in patients with full-blown PML,” explains Koralnik.

Finally, he adds, the scientists made another startling discovery: Further analysis showed that among many of the MS patients using natalizumab, the JC virus that was detected in their urine or blood samples had already acquired the signature changes associated with the virus’s ability to reach the brain and cause PML.

“This pilot study shows for the first time that natalizumab not only prevents the migration of protective T lymphocytes, but it also directly affects the cells’ potency against the JC virus,” says Koralnik. “It further tells us that reactivation and transformation of the virus may first occur in the kidney and that once the activated virus spills into the blood it can easily spread to the brain.”

“As of July 24, 2009, there was a worldwide total of 13 natalizumab-treated MS patients who had developed PML,” he adds. “We hope that the results of our study will stimulate further research, and that monitoring the appearance of the virus in the blood and urine may allow for early identification of natalizumab-treated patients at risk of developing PML.”
For all details follow the Medical News Today link under “Links”

Predict (the course of) MS – with a blood test!

Medical News Today Sept. 1st 2009

This article talks about an interesting discovery that might not only be able to predict the development of MS but also its future course!!

Scientists have discovered a blood test that could predict the course of MS, or even indicate who is likely to develop the condition after a first MS-like attack.

The results of the study suggest that differing antibody levels produced in response to the common virus Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), may predict the course of MS.

The study of course still needs to be proven in future studies but I’d say it looks promising : ) both for us MSers and people who might develop MS…

For more details please visit the Medical News Today link.

Smoking May Worsen MS – study shows…

It has long been known that smoking is no good for the health but various research has now managed to prove that it also badly affects MS patients!

Indeed, it may increase the number of lesions and reduce brain volume in people with MS and it may also increase their disability and the progression of the disease.

“There are several studies that associate smoking with an increased risk of the progression of MS…”

for more info check the article on the Medical News Today site (dated Aug. 19/09).

Study shows Lisinopril good for MS

It is an article from the Medical News Today site (Published first Aug.18 and then Aug. 20th/09)

It is interesting…as it is yet another drug that is being used for treating something else, seems to actually help MS too…

“Drug Used For High Blood Pressure Shows Benefits In Treating MS-like Disease In Mice”

Researchers funded in part by the National MS Society have demonstrated that lisinopril – a drug commonly used to lower blood pressure – reversed symptoms in mice with MS-like disease, and stimulated the production of a type of immune cell that is thought to be capable of turning off MS immune attacks. Further research is needed to determine whether this approach will have benefits in people with MS.

For more info…click on the medical news today link under ‘links’ :)