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MS in the media - CMSC 2016

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The 2016 CMSC (Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers) meeting took place in Maryland from 1 to 4 June.

These are links to a selection of news stories from coverage of the conference.

The link beneath each item will take you to the original story.

Please note that the MS Trust did not write the original items and does not endorse their content nor any claims made in them.

To keep up to date on all the latest news, views and research on multiple sclerosis, sign up for our free Open Door newsletter or our regular email alerts.

Drugs and medical approaches

Stem cell / immunosuppression combination therapy

A study from Seattle treated 24 people with highly active relapsing remitting MS with aggressive immunosuppression followed by a stem cells.  Five years after treatment, 69% had not had any further disease activity.  91% showed no progression, 86% no relapses and 88% no new MRI activity.  Researchers suggests further trials to distinguish how much benefit comes from the immunosuppression alone and what extra the stem cells add.  An interview with neurologist Mark Freedman reviews the stem cell field

Source: MedPage Today
Source: MS News Today

MS Trust link: Stem cell therapy

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Ocrelizumab for PPMS

Data from a study in people with primary progressive MS, already presented at an earlier conference, found ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) reduced the risk of progression over 24 weeks by 24%.  The effect was seen in both people with signs of inflammation in the brain and without (though the people with inflammation did better).

Source: MedPage Today

MS Trust link: Ocrelizumab

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Disease modifying drug preferences

A study of people with MS and neurologists looked at different factors that affect choice of treatment.  Both groups listed efficacy as most important and having to inject as the least preferred option.  Slowing build up of disability was the effect people looked for most, followed by fewer relapses with new lesions being less of a concern.

Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: MS Decisions

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Disease modifying drug comparison

A review calculated the relapse rates in 6,322 people on five different disease modifying drugs.  The results ranged from 0.3 a year for Tecfidera to 0.35 for Teriflunomide

Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: MS Decisions

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Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) five year follow up

Over five years, the mean change in EDSS score for people on the two studies of Lemtrada was an increase of just 0.06.  A quarter of participants had improved and half were stable.  One in five people had thyroid problems in the first year after treatment, with new cases declining in subsequent years.  Side effects also include the risk of infections

Source: MedPage Today

MS Trust link: Lemtrada (alemtuzumab)

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Fingolimod (Gilenya) eight year follow up

A study followed people for 96 months.  At the end of the trial, an analysis of the EDSS scores of people who had taken fingolimod throughout showed almost a quarter had improved, the same proportion had got worse and just over half had roughly stable symptoms.  The people who had switched to fingolimod during the trial showed a similar level with stable symptoms but almost one in three had got worse

Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: Fingolimod (Gilenya)

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Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) risk of reduced white blood cell count

A study found that the risks of having very low white blood cell counts whilst taking Tecfidera (a recognised potential side effect) are higher in people who are overweight, aged over 40 or white.  A low starting white blood cell count is also a risk factor.  Taking high doses of vitamin D supplements also increased the risk.

Source: MedPage Today

MS Trust link: Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate)

Understanding symptoms

Sluggish bowel and fatigue

A study, by the MS nurses in Northampton, found that people whose bowel took longer to process food tended to have a higher fatigue score.

Source: MedPage Today

MS Trust link: Bowel problems
MS Trust link: Fatigue

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Cognition and eye scans

A study found that the thickness of the retina correlated with scores in cognition tests in people with relapsing remitting MS.  The association wasn't seen in people with primary progressive MS

Source: Neurology Advisor

MS Trust link: Cognition and cognitive symptoms

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Sleep and memory

A study found that two thirds of participants reported poor sleep quality.  These people did worse on visuospatial memory tests and reported worse physical functioning.

Source: MS News Today

MS Trust link: Sleep
MS Trust link: Cognition and cognitive symptoms

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Fatigue, cognition and depression are connected

A study in women with MS found that fatigue, cognition and depression all affected each other and suggest that effective treatment needs to take account of all three symptoms

Source: MS News Today

MS Trust link: Fatigue
MS Trust link: Cognition and cognitive symptoms
MS Trust link: Depression

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Suicide ideation

A small study found that depression, changes in appetite, sadness and loss of pleasure were all signs of a higher risk of thinking about suicide in people with MS and suggested health professionals be more aware of these indicators.

Source: Neurology Advisor

MS Trust link: Depression

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Sexual dysfunction

Sexual difficulties, both physical and emotional, can affect 45-75% of people with MS, but according to an MS nurse, people don't talk about their symptoms enough to partners

Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: Talking about sexual problems

Lifestyle

Cannabis and alcohol

A review of the research examined the potential benefits and side effects of cannabis and the negative effects of alcohol on people with MS

Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: Cannabis

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Lifestyle factors can have an effect on MS

A neurologist looks at 'modifiable factors' such as diet and exercise and how they can have an impact on the health of people with MS

Source: MD Magazine

MS Trust link: Lifestyle

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Obesity and MS symptoms

A study found that people with MS with a higher body mass index were more likely to be depressed, have a slower walking speed and lower quality of life scores.  Not clear from the study if obesity caused these to happen or was a consequence

Source: Neurology Advisor

MS Trust link: MS research updates

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IUDs and MS onset

A study found that women with MS who used an intrauterine device for contraception developed MS at a later age than those who did not.  There was no difference in age of onset for women who used or didn't use oral contraceptives

Source: Neurology Advisor

MS Trust link: Contraception

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Loneliness

A study found the people with MS scored higher on measures of loneliness.  Relationships, employment, age and disability all contributed to the result.

Source: MS News Today

MS Trust link: Family and relationships
MS Trust link: At work with MS

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Exercise and MS

A rehab specialist discusses the importance of exercise for people with MS, whatever type of the condition they have.

Source: MS News Today

MS Trust link: Exercise

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Tai chi improves symptoms

A small study found that two hour long sessions of Tai Chi a week over six weeks improved balance, fatigue, endurance and strength

Source: Neurology Advisor

MS Trust link: Tai chi