MS News That Caught My Eye This Week: Study Volunteers Wanted, MS and the Flu, Iron and Pediatric MS, Botox
Last year, a Harvard study reported significant differences between bacteria that MS patients have in their bellies and that found in those who don’t have MS. If that bacteria is treated, those MS-related changes might be normalized. Now there’s a new international study of this, and the researchers are looking for volunteers!
University of California medical school researchers are looking for multiple sclerosis patients who want to participate in an international study of the bacteria that live in our gut.
The University of California at San Francisco team decided to study the gut microbiome after recent evidence suggested that it is critical in establishing and maintaining immune balance, according to a press release. The effort will be called the International Multiple Sclerosis Microbiome Study.
I’m not surprised. If I get the flu or any kind of an infection that creates a fever, my MS symptoms are going to get worse. If nothing else, this study provides more evidence that I should do all that I can to protect myself from the flu. And maybe the study will provide some insight to another way to control these attacks.
Coming down with the flu can provoke relapses in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients by activating glial cells that surround and protect nerve cells. In a study in mice, scientists found that activated glial cells increase the levels of a chemical messenger in the brain that, in turn, triggers an immune reaction and, potentially, autoimmune attacks.
The study, “Influenza infection triggers disease in a genetic model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis,” was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Iron is important for everyone’s body. If you don’t have enough iron, you may wind up with fewer red blood cells than your body needs. Studies have shown this could lead to fatigue and that, in turn, could impact your immune system’s ability to fight infection. Now, a study points to a connection between diet-related iron deficiency and pediatric-onset MS.
Children with multiple sclerosis consume less iron, which may affect their immune and nervous systems, according to a study.
The research, “Dietary factors and pediatric multiple sclerosis: A case-control study,” was published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal. The study, funded by the National MS Society, investigated the association between diet and MS in children.
Many MS patients use Baclofe, or other muscle-relaxing drugs, to obtain some relief from spasticity. Recently, however, some patients have been turning to injections of botulinum toxin A for the same purpose. This is a toxin that blocks nerve activity in muscles. Does it work for MS spasticity? This study says it can, but not without some help.
Spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients can be eased through a combination of botulinum toxin type A (BoNT-A) injections and rehabilitation. However, caregiver support is required to keep patients on this treatment, according to results of a retrospective analysis.
The study “Determinants of botulinum toxin discontinuation in multiple sclerosis: a retrospective study” was published in the journal Neurological Sciences.
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