MS – Anxious? Stressed out? Angry??

This one is interesting… I notice that maybe I am highly affected by stress, and maybe a bit more frustrated… but angry…? hmm…maybe I am withholding it?? : p

According to a study – to be published in the December issue of the European Journal of Neurology – people with MS feel more than twice as much withheld anger as the general population, which in turn could have an adverse effect on both our relationships and health.

I won’t go into details with the specifics of the study which you can read under the Medical News Today link (dated Nov 26th 2009) but will bring up the key findings, whereby MS patients:

  • Were more than twice as likely to experience high levels of withheld anger, with 60 per cent of patients recording the same high levels as the top 25 per cent of the general population.
  • Exerted a low level of control on their anger, with just 11 per cent of patients reporting the same high levels of control compared to the top 25 per cent of the general population.
  • Were about the same as non MS patients when it came to expressed anger, with 30 per cent of patients reporting the same high levels as the top 25 per cent of the general population.

To simplify it… well…our anger is slightly different than that of the general population.. despite the fact that the expressed anger is somewhat similar, we seem to have a higher level of unexpressed anger and less control of our anger (than people without MS…).

The lead researcher, Dr. Nocentini adds that “anger disrupts interpersonal relationships and this is particularly true for withheld anger, which might go unrecognised by other people”.

“Witheld anger has been reported to be associated with physical problems, in particular high blood pressure and vascular disorders, and may have a negative effect on the general health of MS patients. Because withheld anger has no, or few, overt manifestations, and is unlikely to be recognised by clinicians or reported by patients, it is important that MS patients are asked if they experience abnormal anger.”


CCSVI – more info

Just when I thought that there was a question of yet another study done regarding husbands to women with MS …this wasn’t the case. The title in the Medical News Today article dated Nov 25th starts: “Husbands Studies…”… a tiny bit misleading maybe : ) but not really, as it relates to A particular husband whose wife has MS – Dr. Zamboni! I did not know this. But it is nice to know he dedicated his medical research to MS… regardless of when he did it :p

Anyways, I will cite the whole article here as it is a follow up on the CCSVI research..and might interest some of the readers in the area… wish I could be ‘recruited’ for these trials..I’d like to give it a shot one day : p

News reports this week have detailed the research of Canadian scientists Dr Paolo Zamboni, who is a professor of medicine at the University of Ferrara in Italy and whose wife has multiple sclerosis (MS).

Dr Zamboni claims from his studies of MS literature to have discovered what he believes could be a revolution for the treatment and diagnosis of the life-long condition.

Now, researchers at Buffalo University in New York are recruiting 1,700 adults and children from the United States and Canada to test his hypothesis.

His theory centres around the repeated references in research text books to deposits of iron in the blood vessels and a link to MS.

Excess deposits of the heavy metal have been proven to lead to inflammation and cell death in the laboratory. These are both characteristics of MS.

Using ultrasound to examine the vessels leading in and out of the brain, Dr. Zamboni tested his theory in people and found that in a majority, including his spouse who he also experimented upon, the veins draining blood from the brain were malformed or blocked. In people without MS, they were not.

He further suggested that iron was damaging the blood vessels and allowing the heavy metal, along with other unwelcome cells, to cross the crucial brain-blood barrier, a process termed Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI).

As always, more research is needed…

…. to pin down any relationship between CCSVI and MS…

*my two previous posts on CCSVI :

MS – may be triggered by a common human bacteria..?

Medical News Today article (25 Nov 2009)

It seems research has found that an oral bacterium exacerbating autoimmune diseases. This research is yet to be published in the December 2009 issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

The bacterium in question is porphyromas gingivalis, a common oral bacterium in humans, which produces a unique type of lipid, phosphorylated dihydroceramides (DHCs), which in turn enhance inflammatory responses. These can also be found in other parts of the body such as the gastrointestinal tract.

To determine if these lipids accentuate immune-mediated damage in autoimmune disease the phosphorylated DHCs were administered in a mouse model of MS. The severity of disease was significantly enhanced by the addition of these lipids in a manner that was dependent on activation of the immune system. These data suggest that phosphorylated DHCs from bacteria commonly found in humans may trigger or increase the severity of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Concluding, the authors state that “while it is clear that the immune system in most individuals has the potential to attack self-tissues, the “tipping” factors that initiate and propagate autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis in only a subset of individuals remain unknown. Overall, [their] results represent the first description that phosphorylated DHCs derived from common human bacteria are capable of enhancing autoimmune disease.” Thus, these lipids may function as “tipping” factors, playing a previously unrecognized role in initiating or exacerbating human autoimmune diseases.

For more details on the article follow the Medical News Today link.


Does Childbirth Slow MS…?

Pregnancy & MS… a rather interesting notion.. there have been many reports on the fact that pregnant women with MS have no ‘attacks’ during… that is to say, they go into a state of remission while pregnant.. It is amazing how the body ‘naturally’ reacts to protecting both the child and mother during pregnancy.

On this note… on Nov. 24th 2009, a Belgian study was reported as suggesting that giving birth actually slows the progression of MS. In the study it was found that women who had given birth to one or more children at any point in time before or after the start of symptoms were 34% less likely to progress in disability than childless women.

Despite some of the study’s drawbacks (you can read more on these by clicking on Medical News Today under ‘links’) it can be argued that it is a stepping stone for further research aimed at discovering the relation between disease progression & pregnancy…

Regarding pregnancy & MS… I’d like to add that it is also known that postpartum women with MS experience their worst relapses thus far.. : (

Experimental drug – a possible future treatment for MS…

Here is something I read last week (at Medical News Today 21 Nov 2009) but left it for a later update…

It is interesting as it is about a drug being studied as possible treatment for spinal injuries, in general, and for the treatment of MS in particular as well — states article.

This drug is said to be able to restore the nerve function of damaged nerves in the spinal cord by preventing short circuits caused when tiny “potassium channels” in the fibers are exposed.

In addition, the experimental compound, 4-aminopyridine-3-methyl hydroxide, has been shown to restore function to damaged axons, slender fibers that extend from nerve cells and transmit electrical impulses in the spinal cord. Findings, based on experiments with guinea pig spinal cord tissue, appeared online Nov. 18 in the Journal of Neurophysiology.

The reason why it can be used for the treatment of MS as well is simply due to the fact that myelin (the sheath insulating the axons) is also damaged in MS.

For more information on the details of this experimental drug check the Medical News Today link to the right ; )

…and remember, hope is last to die…there is progress being made in all areas… every day.. : )

Tysabri — a drug haunted by a deadly side effect or is it?

I have come across a rather interesting and good article a few days ago, which covers all perspectives regarding the positives & negatives about Tysabri / PML….

It is rather interesting..and a bit long maybe but it sums up quite a few interesting insights. It starts by saying how PML went from being a rather unknown brain infection back in 2005, and generally considered a ‘death sentence’…to being not as deadly as first feared… the author then shows a table that shows what is most haunting for all of us on Tysabri..namely the PML cases/deaths:

Nr. of patients who have taken Tysabri Nr. of PML cases Deaths
Feb.2005 3,000 3 2
18.Nov.09 63,000 27 5

For more information on the ‘nature & politics’ behind this ‘haunted’ drug visit go under Links to the right “Tysabri – the ‘haunted’ MS drug” and if you want to read more on the report on the increased cases of PML then visit the link “PML – 23 new cases!”

CCSVI discovery — a brief story of its background

One cannot ignore the fact that the research surrounding CCSVI and its benefits for patients with MS has received a lot of attention lately (prof. Zamboni’s research). So it came to my mind that I forgot to mention the reaction of my doctor at the news when I told her about this new discovery…”oh..but thats not news”.

I thought it would be interesting to bring this up as it relates to the ‘new’ discovery… Namely, along with my doctor’s “oh but thats not news” she added that in 1965 a Danish professor – Torben Fog – described the MS pathology in his thesis “so it is well known from that time that MS lesions are predominantly around the small veins (venoles)” she added. Her remarks increased my curiosity and thus I researched a bit more on what exactly did Professor Fog discover back in the Sixties. I came across a few things…I thought I’d share with you. To me it is shocking…in many ways…as it dates back to the 60s…

Fog reviewed the literature on the relationship of the vessels to plaques from Rindfleisch’s observations in 1863 to 1947. Noting the theory of Putnam (1930-1939) that thrombosis of small veins may be the underlying mechanism of plaque formation, and the studies on this by Dow and Berglund (1942), Zimmermann and Netsky (1950), and his own work (1948, 1959), Fog concluded that there may be some small vessel changes, but these are intermitted and variable. His subsequent study of 51 plaques from two cases of typical MS, making thin sections of the plaques and following their shape and course with direct drawings of each section, showed that most (39/51) were prolongations of periventricular plaques, and that the plaques did follow the course of the venous system. (Ref: T. Jock Murray, 2005, Multiple sclerosis: the history of a disease)

Fog on the Vein-Conditioned Plaque Development – quoted here just briefly as, I believe, it is a complex and maybe somewhat difficult to grasp article, which is also why I leave a reference in the end for those interested in reading the whole article – In 1965 Torben Fog, directly investigating the multiple sclerosis-specific cerebral lesions’ relationship to the course of their veins, found the distinctive plaques to consistently develop in a peculiar dependence upon definite vein segments. (Ref: Fog Torben, The topography of plaques in multiple sclerosis, with special reference to cerebral plaques. Acta Neurol Scand, 41,Suppl. 15:1, 1965)

For other references on Fog’s research see: Fog T. On the vessel-plaque relations in the brain in multiple sclerosis. Acta Psychiat Neurol Scand. 1963; 39, suppl. 4:258

To see my previous entry on this topic:


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