MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: Scooter-User Falls, Aggressive Treatment, and Brain Inflammation

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by Ed Tobias |

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Falls Common Among Wheelchair, Scooter Users in People with MS, Study Reports

It’s happened to me. I’ve gone over backward when I tried to “gun” the throttle of my lightweight scooter when its rear wheels were up against a door threshold. And my heavier scooter can have a tendency to tip to one side if I lean too far in that direction. But this study reports falls that are related to walking, reaching, and other off-scooter/wheelchair activities, which leads me to wonder if these falls are a case of “use it or lose it.”

The majority of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) who use wheelchairs or scooters for mobility reported falling at least once over a six-month period, according to a new study.

While most studies have focused on ambulatory MS patients, this may be the first study to assess the prevalence and circumstances of falls among those who already experience significant mobility issues and require the use of wheelchairs or scooters to get around.

Findings of the study, “Fall prevalence in people with multiple sclerosis who use wheelchairs and scooters,” were published in the journal Medicine.


US, UK Researchers Collaborate on $10.6M Study to Improve Treatment Regimens for MS Patients

What’s the best way to treat someone who’s newly diagnosed with MS? Do you jump in quickly with the strongest possible disease-modifying treatment, hoping to block progression right away despite the possible risks, or do you escalate up from less-powerful to more-powerful drugs? That’s what these researchers hope to determine.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham and neurologists at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust in England will be working with a team from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio to better understand the best therapeutic strategy for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

The $10.6 million international clinical trial was one of five selected projects that received an award from the nonprofit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

A key goal of all the projects is to improve knowledge about therapies to help doctors and MS patients choose the treatment options that best meet patients’ needs while considering the priorities of the MS community.


Active Brain Inflammation Helps Cause Anxiety, Depression in RRMS Patients, Study Finds

Anxious? Depressed? This study reports that for MS patients, there may be a physical reason in the brain. That information means there may be better treatment available for those symptoms. On the other hand, the symptoms may provide an early warning of inflammation.

Active brain inflammation appears to be one of the causes driving anxiety and depression in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), finds an Italian study published in the journal Neurology. RRMS is the most common form of the disease when patients are initially diagnosed.

Multiple sclerosis patients are often diagnosed with mood disorders. This is not only because of the burden of the disease itself, but also due to neuroinflammation. Indeed, inflammation likely contributes to psychiatric disorders, including depression.


Opioid Growth Factor May Be New Biomarker for MS Diagnosis and Progression, Study Shows

Clinical trials are needed to know for sure, but it’s possible that another test for diagnosing MS may be on the horizon. This study reports that it’s non-invasive, and it has to do with the levels of opioid receptors in a patient’s blood that block pain.

Opioid growth factor (OGF) can serve as a new biomarker to determine diagnosis and progression of multiple sclerosis (MS), say researchers at Pennsylvania State University.

Their study, “Serum [Met5]-enkephalin levels are reduced in multiple sclerosis and restored by low-dose naltrexone,” appeared in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


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