MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Herbicide and MS, ‘Incredible’ Foot Stimulators, Tysabri and Brain Shrinkage

MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Herbicide and MS, ‘Incredible’ Foot Stimulators, Tysabri and Brain Shrinkage

Herbicide Called Linuron Seen to Trigger Inflammatory Signals Linked to MS in Study

This is only a mouse study, but this herbicide has been banned in Europe because of health concerns. Its effects seem worthy of further investigation.

The herbicide linuron, commonly used with other herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides to control the growth of grass and weeds, may be an important environmental risk factor in the development of neurological diseases that include multiple sclerosis, researchers suggest.

Used in the U.S. and other countries — but recently banned in Europe due to its potential health risks — this compound can promote pro-inflammatory signals in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) of mice with an MS-like disease, their study shows.

The study, “Environmental Control of Astrocyte Pathogenic Activities in CNS Inflammation,” was published in the journal Cell.

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New Products Intended to Stimulate Feet of MS Patients

I’ve seen a lot of interest in these products in comments posted since this story was published. A product that’s designed to help improve balance and movement seems perfect for someone with MS. The company that’s marketing these insoles says in its news release that they’re “uniquely designed to stimulate the nerves in the plantar foot, which in turn has an effect on foot activation, foot strength, and postural alignment.” It claims on that website “incredible, immediate results.” However, a pair of insoles sells for $50, there doesn’t appear to have been an objective study of the results of the insoles, and the website contains a lot of medical disclaimers. Is it too good to be true?

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Naboso Technology has expanded its product offerings with new insoles and training mats specifically designed to stimulate the nervous system through the skin on the bottom of the feet.

The products were developed to help improve balance, posture, and movement, and restore motor function, as part of a neurorehabilitation strategy for patients with chronic neurological disorders and motor neuron diseases. Those include multiple sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.

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Decline in Brain Volume Driven by Gray Matter Atrophy in MS Patients Despite Tysabri Treatment

This is a small study of only 20 people, but it indicates that Tysabri may not be able to halt all brain shrinkage. The disease-modifying therapy may halt disease progression in white matter, but gray matter atrophy appears to continue even with treatment.

The progressive decline in brain volume in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, despite treatment with the disease-modifying therapy Tysabri (natalizumab), is driven by atrophy — shrinkage due to the degeneration of cells — in gray matter and not white matter structures, a new study reports.

This finding points to new markers for MS disease progression, and the need to monitor the effectiveness of treatment using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The research article, “Gray matter atrophy in multiple sclerosis despite clinical and lesion stability during natalizumab treatment,” was published in the journal PLOS ONE. 

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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.

10 comments

      • Cynthia King says:

        I know they look at brain shrinkage in MRIs, is the grey matter what shrinks or total brain volume? Are they two separate concerns? Like if your doctor says the mri shows no brain shrinkage, is it safe to assume the grey matter hasn’t changed. Or if they see a loss in volume is it due to a loss of grey matter? TY

    • Katie Rogers Aldridge says:

      I was on tysabri for eight years until I got the JC virus. Lost a lot of grey matter. Too much in my opinion.

  1. Desiree Fink says:

    I was exposed to Dibrom right before I had an abnormal MRI leading to MS diagnosis. So far the neurologists that I see have not researched it. It was used in the Keys when I lived there to get rid of the Zika virus. It is banned in the UK and the city of Miami was protesting the use. I got smothered with it in Key Largo. Dibrom/Nailed. I went deaf for a month, started having vertigo.

    • David says:

      Post Hurricane Ike, 2008, they aerial sprayed the entire Houston area with dibrom to kill mosquitoes. I live next to a bayou ant the mosquitoes were thick. The morning after they sprayed they were Gone!! I went into the woods and didn’t see a bug of any kind. Something that strong can’t be good for people. I’d be interested to see if anyone has studied this.

  2. Susan Caggiano says:

    I’ve been on Tysabri since 2010 and there is no question that it has greatly improved my quality of life and I appreciate that. The one thing I said describing the difference it has made is trading my I.Q. for the ability to walk. It has “dumbed me down” and that was had to deal with. It’s still better to me having to think harder than dealing with pain and losing the ability to walk. It has been a trade-off.

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