MSers: Protect your brain from MS – with exercise!!

“For a long time, MS patients were told not to exercise because there was a fear it could exacerbate their symptoms. But we’re finding that if MS patients exercise in a controlled setting, it can actually help them with their cognitive function.”

Yes, it seems that exercise is also good for us MSers! As you can guess from the above, new findings reveal that MS patients who exercise a lot perform better on tests of cognitive function than the less-fit MS patients! Here are the main takeouts from the article…

“We found that aerobic fitness has a protective effect on parts of the brain that are most affected by multiple sclerosis,” said Ruchika Shaurya Prakash, lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

“As a result, these fitter patients actually show better performance on tasks that measure processing speed.”

“Physically fit MS patients had fewer lesions compared to those who weren’t as fit and the lesions they did have tended to be smaller,” Prakash said. “This is significant and can help explain why the higher-fit patients did better on tests of brain functioning.”

Aerobic fitness was also associated with less-damaged brain tissue in MS patients, both the gray matter and white matter!


The study found that fitness in MS patients was associated with larger volume of gray matter, accounting for about 20 percent of the volume in gray matter. That’s important, Prakash said, because gray matter is linked to brain processing skills.

“Even in gray matter that appeared relatively healthy, we found a deterioration in the volume in MS patients,” she said. “But for some of the highest fit MS patients, we found that their gray matter volume was nearly equivalent to that of healthy controls.”

In sum, all of the three MRI tests conducted in this study showed that parts of the brain involved in processing speed are all negatively affected by MS but less so in patients who are aerobically fit.

Other researchers have also found that exercise promotes the production of nerve growth factors, proteins which are important for the growth and maintenance of neurons in the brain.

“Our hypothesis is that aerobic exercise enhances these nerve growth factors in MS patients, which increases the volume of the gray matter and increases the integrity of the white matter,” Prakash said. “As a result there is an improvement in cognitive function.”

Prakash and her colleagues plan to extend this research by studying whether exercise interventions with MS patients can actually improve their cognition and have positive physical effects on the brain.

Details on how the study was conducted can be accessed through the Medical News Today website – the link can be found on the right.

(article dated February 19th 2010)


Preliminary CCSVI Results Announced!

We have all been waiting for this… : )

The newest CCSVI findings were briefly mentioned on February 11th (Medical News Today site : ) and in more detail (on the same site) on February 12th.

The preliminary results of CCSVI testing have been announced. The results are optimistic..but to me these were rather surprising as I thought all MS patients had the predisposition to CCSVI… no worries..this is just the initial phase, more research is to be done to determine the importance of CCSVI for MS.

Here is a highlight from the preliminary results:

More than 55 percent of multiple sclerosis patients participating in the initial phase of the first randomized clinical study to determine if persons with MS exhibit narrowing of the extracranial veins, causing restriction of normal outflow of blood from the brain, were found to have the abnormality.

I believe this to be the most important part of the article.. for more details visit the Medical News Today link to the right ; )

I will bring up the links to my previous postings related to CCSVI here again…from news to history of CCSVI:

A (maybe more understandable & detailed) description of CCSVI:


Potentially new MS treatment – blocking cell movement

Today, the Medical News Today site published an article on yet another discovery in the field of MS research. This research connects autoimmune diseases, such as MS, and cancer. I had previously mentioned this relation on this blog (see for instance here ).

In the research I am mentioning they have found new ways to block the movement of cells in the body, which can cause autoimmune diseases and the spread of cancer. The researchers have identified molecular “receptors” on the surface of cells which are involved in helping cells migrate to sites where they can cause disease.

A number of diseases like cancer and autoimmune diseases, such as MS and arthritis, involve the inappropriate migration of cells,” says Professor McColl. “Our research shows that these receptors which help the cells migrate can be blocked pharmacologically, preventing the cell migration which causes the disease.”

Based on this knowledge, a number of such receptors in MS has been identified, and researchers have developed potential therapeutic drugs that could control this disease, among other autoimmune diseases.

This is definitely more exciting news in the area of MS research! : ) It is always so nice to read that MS research is constantly being done and that new drugs are being developed which are able to improve the quality of life for us MSers.

You may lower your baby’s risk of MS by drinking milk while pregnant

From Medical News Today (dated February 10th 2010)

Here is more news on the relation of vitamin D and MS…I have decided to quote just a part of this article here:

“The risk of MS among daughters whose mothers consumed four glasses of milk per day was 56 percent lower than daughters whose mothers consumed less than three glasses of milk per month,” said Fariba Mirzaei, MD, with the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. “We also found the risk of MS among daughters whose mothers were in the top 20 percent of vitamin D intake during pregnancy was 45 percent lower than daughters whose mothers were in the bottom 20 percent for vitamin D intake during pregnancy.”

For the entire article visit the medical news today link to the right ; )