MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: New Thinking About MS Development, Rhythm to Improve Walking, UK Nurse Shortage, B-cells

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by Ed Tobias |

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MS-specific Lineage of Oligodendrocytes May Provide New Hints on MS Development

Our immune system, according to this study, may not be the only thing playing a role in the development of our MS. The same cells that produce the myelin that coats our nerves may also be responsible for destroying it. If true, the discovery could lead to new MS therapies.

The cells that produce myelin in the brain and spinal cord, called oligodendrocytes, may play an active role in the onset or progression of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study combining data from MS mouse models.

This discovery supports the idea that in the context of MS, oligodendrocytes could act similarly to immune cells, a finding that may underpin new therapies targeted to these cells, rather than only to the immune system.

The study, “Disease-specific oligodendrocyte lineage cells arise in multiple sclerosis,” was published in the journal Nature Medicine.


Motor Imagery Set to Musical and Verbal Cues Helps Patients with Walking and Fatigue, Study Says

Imagine that the simple technique of imagining yourself walking, before you begin to walk, could improve your walking. This study reports that imagining might work. And if you include music or another sound that provides a rhythm, the technique might work even better.

Mentally rehearsing an ease of walking to rhythmic cues — especially musical and verbal — improves walking speed and distance, and lessens feelings of fatigue in people with MS, a study reports.

The study, “Effects and mechanisms of differently cued and non-cued motor imagery in people with multiple sclerosis: A randomised controlled trial,” was published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal, and highlighted by the Multiple Sclerosis Trust in a news release.


Heavy Caseloads for MS Specialist Nurses in UK Compromise Patient Care, MS Trust Reports

I’ve heard complaints from readers in the U.K. that there aren’t enough MS specialist nurses to provide adequate care. This survey provides evidence of that problem. The report says nearly a quarter of MS patients live in areas of the U.K. where caseloads are more than twice the recommended number.

Nurses who specialize in treating MS patients in the U.K. are handling heavier caseloads than recommended or preferred, resulting in patients going without the necessary care and support they deserve, the MS Trust reports.

The 2018 report notes that newer treatments require more complex and careful monitoring. However, it found that each MS Specialist Nurse (MSSN) handles 379 patients on average, rather than the 315 the group considers a “sustainable figure.”


Controlling B-cell Numbers, Activity Key to Preventing Inflammation in MS, Study Suggests

Two of the newest disease-modifying treatments for MS, Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) and Lemtrada (alemtuzumab), attempt to hold the disease in check by targeting specific B-cells in our immune system. This study supports the belief that controlling those B-cells can be a key to controlling MS inflammation.

Appropriate control of immune B-cell numbers and activation in the nervous system is key to preventing inflammation in MS, according to a study.

These findings also showed that patients with higher levels of a specific B-cell-regulating cell type had less disease activity.

The study, “Myeloid-derived suppressor cells control B cell accumulation in the central nervous system during autoimmunity,” was published in the journal Nature Immunology.


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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