MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Cannabis, Switching Interferons, Brain Stimulation by Smartphone, Lipoic Acid

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by Ed Tobias |

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MS Patients Report Beneficial Effects of Cannabis with Few Side Effects, Survey Shows

This survey agrees with what I’ve found in my limited experience with cannabis (in my case, CBD oil). A small amount can ease some of my spasticity and help me to get a better night’s sleep. But this random, self-administered, survey only involved 251 MS patients. And fewer than 100 of them had used cannabis, medicinally or recreationally, in the year preceding the study. I’m highlighting this report only because of the broad interest in cannabis and MS.

Many multiple sclerosis (MS) patients report that cannabis has beneficial effects on their symptoms with minimal side effects, according to a survey that also showed that varying effects on health may be due to differences in how users consume cannabis.

Findings were reported in the study, “Exploring cannabis use by patients with multiple sclerosis in a state where cannabis is legal,” published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.


Patients with Stable Disease Who Switch to Another Interferon Therapy at Greater Risk of Flares, Study Reports

Switching between disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) is a tough decision, especially if the current DMT appears to be doing a good job of controlling your MS. This study is something you might include in your decision equation if you’re thinking about switching between interferons. Note, however, that the study was sponsored by Biogen, and two of its three authors are listed as Biogen employees. Biogen makes Avonex (interferon beta-1a).

Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who have been relapse-free while using an interferon-beta (IFN-β) therapy but switch to another IFN-β are significantly more likely to start experiencing flares than patients who remain on their initial interferon treatment, a real-world study reports.

The study, “Multiple sclerosis patients who are stable on interferon therapy show better outcomes when staying on same therapy than patients who switch to another interferon,” was published in the journal ClinicoEconomics and Outcomes Research.


Researchers Develop Smartphone-connected Device to Treat MS, Brain Disorders Remotely

This device, which is still far from being ready for the market, uses a pair of electrodes on your neck connected to your mobile device. It allows doctors to remotely track your brain activity and delivers low-frequency stimulation to treat disorders remotely. A news release says that during trials, the device proved to be “an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis,” but it gave no details of that “treatment.” I have my doubts.

Researchers at the Ural Federal University (UrFU) in Russia have developed a neuro-electrostimulation system that has the potential to treat different types of brain disorders, including MS. The system allows physicians to treat patients by remotely controlling the delivered electric pulse through a smartphone or tablet.

Details about the neuro-rehabilitating technology were published in the journal Mobile Information Systems in an article titled “Mobile Hardware-Information System for Neuro-Electrostimulation.”


Lipoic Acid Supplements May Help to Delay Decline in Walking Speed in SPMS Patients, Study Says

The key word here is “may.” Also, note the words “mildly” and “small” when you read about this study. There may be hope here, but I wouldn’t rush out to stock up on these supplements.

Lipoic acid (LA), an over-the-counter antioxidant supplement, helps to mildly delay a decline in walking speed in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) patients, particularly those with lesser disability, analysis of a small, two-year clinical study reports.

No improvements were seen in balance among SPMS patients taking oral LA and those given a placebo, but the findings were of enough interest to justify further studies, researchers said.

The study, “Effects of lipoic acid on walking performance, gait, and balance in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis,” was published in the journal Complementary Therapies in 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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