MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Epstein-Barr Virus, Gilenya, Naltrexone, Medical Marijuana

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by Ed Tobias |

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Epstein-Barr Virus Found in Brain Cells of Many MS Patients, Study Reports

This study is yet another of several over the years that have suggested that there’s some sort of link between the Epstein-Barr virus and multiple sclerosis (MS). (Fatigue and muscle weakness are among the symptoms of EBV). In this case, 90 percent of the MS patients studied had some sign of EBV in their brain cells, versus 24 percent of the patients in the study with other neurological diseases. In 18 percent of the people with MS, the EBV infected cells were “widespread.”

United Arab Emirates scientists have found an active Epstein-Barr virus in many multiple sclerosis patients’ brain cells, supporting the notion that it plays a role in the disease.

The team found it in two types of brain cells — astrocytes and microglia. The virus can be active or lie dormant in the body.

The study, “Epstein-Barr virus is present in the brain of most cases of multiple sclerosis and may engage more than just B cells,” appeared in the journal PLoS ONE. A team at United Arab Emirates University led the work.


Gilenya Continues to Demonstrate Effectiveness as Therapy for RRMS Patients in Study

This is a study of people dealing with MS in the real world, rather than a clinical setting. It looked at whether their disease progressed after they began using Gilenya. The assessment was based on the proportion of patients who had no evidence of disease activity and the time it took to their first relapse after starting treatment. And the results were positive.

Gilenya (fingolimod) is an effective treatment for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) in everyday clinical practice, a new study shows. The therapy was shown to be effective even in patients switching from Tysabri (natalizumab) treatment.

The study, “Effectiveness and baseline factors associated to fingolimod response in a real-world study on multiple sclerosis patients,” was published in the Journal of Neurology.


Low-dose Naltrexone Changes Levels of Inflammatory Proteins in MS, Study Shows

For many years, researchers at Penn State University have been working on understanding how a protein known as opioid growth factor (OGF) affects various diseases, including MS. This mice study looks how OGF, inflammation, and the medication naltrexone may be interrelated.
Inhibition of the neuroactive opioid growth factor (OGF) by naltrexone alters the blood levels of important pro- and anti-inflammatory proteins in mice with MS-like disease. The recognition of this regulatory response may represent a new way to monitor disease progression and treatment response in MS.

Have some questions about medical marijuana? There’s a new website for that.

Cannabis Science has created a website called iCannabinoid that it hopes will become the premier online source of medical cannabis news and information.

It is seeking feedback on the site so it can tweak it as need be. It hopes to hear from patients, doctors, patient advocates, parents, researchers, government and industry officials, journalists, and others who are interested in medical cannabis.


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.


S swanson avatar

S swanson

I’ve bern screaming at doctors for years and years that the gvt had done a study on Epstein Barr and MS and no one would listen to me. One dr refused to run the test anymore, my levels were off the forward and 3 neuros later to 2012 and gee, guess who has MS!
Off my podium
Thank you

Elin Perry avatar

Elin Perry

My computer will not let me go to the cannabois web site. Comes up red and says it dangerous. What's the deal?

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Elin,

I don't have a problem connecting to that web site using my Safari or Chrome browsers. So, I can't explain why you're not able to do that.


Jim avatar


I have been taking Naltrexone for about a year and it helps a lot. I can even go outside in the heat and humidity.I also take gilenya and ampyra.

Jim avatar


I have been taking Naltrexone for about a year and it helps a lot. I can even go outside in the heat and humidity.I also take gilenya and ampyra.I also get upset that the FDA doesn't approve
naltrexone at a low dose, because it gets expensive paying for it every month out of pocket.


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