Charles Moore,  —

Charles Moore is a syndicated columnist for several major Canadian print newspapers and is the Science and Research Section editor for Multiple Sclerosis News Today.

Articles by Charles Moore

#MSParis2017 – ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS Congress on Latest Research, Treatments Starts Oct. 25

The 7th Joint ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS Meeting, the world’s largest annual international conference devoted to basic and clinical research in multiple sclerosis, will run from Oct. 25 to 28 in Paris — the city of Jean-Martin Charcot, the "Father of Neurology," who provided the first detailed description of multiple sclerosis in 1868. The meeting's organizers note in a release that Paris today has an active and dynamic MS network, one that bridges clinical, imaging, genetics, immunology and neurobiology. The conference program ranges from plenary lectures, and discussions of scientific abstracts, to sessions on hot topics and the work of young MS investigators. Numerous scientific posters will also be available for review. More than 8,000 neurologists, researchers and other leaders in the field are scheduled to attend. Highlights of the four-day conference include sessions on potential advances in the treatment of progressive MS, prognostic disease markers, the blood-brain barrier, B-cell versus T-cell therapies, the gut microbiota, treatment burden and how it might be eased, and insights into long-term disability as seen in patients groups in clinical trials. Themes addressed will include recent advances in neurobiology and neuro-immunology, new diagnostic criteria, MS biomarkers, disease management, the latest clinical trials results, and emerging strategies to promote repair of neural pathways. The European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) is an independent, European-wide organization and the world’s largest professional organization dedicated to the understanding and treatment of MS. The Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS), founded in 1995, is a community of leaders from the United States and Canada specialized in MS and other demyelinating diseases. The French MS Society, known as ARSEP, is the meeting's local organizer, and is also sponsoring a Patient Day on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the Hyatt Hotel in Paris. Starting at 1 p.m., MS specialists will speak to patients on  recent research and treatments in multiple sclerosis, and an open exchange between patients and researchers is welcome. Patient Day discussions will be held in French. More information, also in French, is available through this link. Those unable to attend MSParis2017 are invited to join the discussion via social media, and take part in the congress online. Anyone can follow each day's events either via @ectrims, the official ECTRIMS Twitter account, or its official Facebook page. All tweets regarding the congress, including the scientific program, will be posted under the hashtag #MSParis2017. Multiple Sclerosis News Today will be covering the 7th Joint ECTRIMS - ACTRIMS meeting, offering its readers daily summaries of the latest advances and discoveries in MS research. For more information, visit:

Twin Cities MuckFest MS, Mud- and Obstacle-filled Run for MS Society, Set for Saturday

The Twin Cities MuckFest MS is set for Saturday at the Scott County Fair in Jordan, Minnesota. All money raised in the event will go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to support its work in helping people living with multiple sclerosis and in advancing research toward better treatments and a cure. The MuckFest MS is a fun mud run that has raised millions for the Society, and requires no special training or equipment — the only things needed, organizers says, are sneakers, a sense of humor and a willingness to get a little mucky. Participants run on a designed 5K course that features super-sized obstacles and lots of mud. A first wave of runners in the Aug. 19 event will take to the course at 9 a.m., followed by successive groups every 20 minutes throughout the day. "We muck it because … We want to end MS," MuckFest MS proclaims on its webpage. "Even though the event is built for laughs from start to finish, we’re on a serious mission to advance cutting-edge research and support the life-changing work of the National MS Society." Runners are advised to wear closed-toe sneakers, and cleats of any kind are not permitted. An older of soiled choice of clothing is welcome, but should be clothes that won't restrict movement and will provide protection as runners move through the obstacles. Pants or shorts are acceptable. Many muckers, organizers say, choose to wear thin work or athletic gloves to better grip obstacles and ropes. All MuckFest MS events are held in wet muddy fields, so there is little flat terrain. They are not ADA-standard accessible, wheelchair runners will have to move through grass and dirt. The organizers, however, promise to do their best to make portions of the event accessible to people with disabilities. Participation is $105 on the day of event, plus processing fee, and those planning to register Saturday are asked to arrive by 10 a.m. Online registration is now closed. Spectators are welcome without charge. According to the MS Society, "the MuckFest MS runners and volunteers have raised over $27 million to support the life-changing work of the National MS Society" to date. "That means more cutting-edge research and continued support for people living with MS in your community." Multiple Sclerosis News Today plans to interview an event participant — Beth Kantor, a retired nurse from Plymouth, Minnesota, who has relapsing MS — after the event. Kantor is also volunteering at this year's MuckFest MS, helping others as they too take to the course. The first wave/start time is at 9:00 a.m Saturday, August 19, and then every 20 minutes throughout the day. More information, including a look at the obstacles, is available here. A blog by past Muckfesters, offering ideas and suggestions, is also available. MuckFest MS runs take place in a dozen U.S. cities each year. AbbVie is the national sponsor, and local sponsors for MuckFest MS 2017 include Acorda and Genentech. A national event sponsor is The Traveler Beer Co.

Experts Call for Tighter Regulation of Stem Cell Therapies in Use at Clinics Worldwide

Advertising for stem cell therapies not supported by clinical research — often made directly to patients and sometimes promoted as a "cure" for diseases like multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's — is a growing problem that needs to be addressed and regulated, a team of leading experts say, calling such "stem cell tourism" potentially unsafe. Stem cell tourism is the unflattering name given to the practice of encouraging patients to travel outside their home country to undergo such treatment, typicaly at a private clinic. The article, titled "Marketing of unproven stem cell–based interventions: A call to action" and recently published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, was co-authored by scientists with universities and hospitals in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Belgium, Italy, Japan, and Australia. It focuses on the global problem of the commercial promotion of stem cell therapies and ongoing resistance to regulatory efforts. Its authors suggest that a coordinated approach, at national and international levels, be focused on "engagement, harmonization, and enforcement in order to reduce risks associated with direct-to-consumer marketing of unproven stem cell treatments." Treatments involving stem cell transplants are now being offered by hundreds of medical institutions worldwide, claiming efficacy in repairing tissue damaged by degenerative disorders like MS, even though those claim often lack or are supported by little evidence . They also noted that the continued availability of these treatments undermines the development of rigorously tested therapies, and potentially can endanger a patient's life. The researchers emphasize that tighter regulations on stem cell therapy advertising are needed, especially regarding potential clinical benefits. They support the establishment of international regulatory standards for the manufacture and testing of human cell and tissue-based therapies. "Many patients feel that potential cures are being held back by red tape and lengthy approval processes. Although this can be frustrating, these procedures are there to protect patients from undergoing needless treatments that could put their lives at risk," Sarah Chan, a University of Edinburgh Chancellor’s Fellow and report co-author, said in a news release. Chan and her colleagues are also calling for the World Health Organization to offer guidance on responsible clinical use of cells and tissues, as it does for medicines and medical devices. "Stem cell therapies hold a lot of promise," Chan said, "but we need rigorous clinical trials and regulatory processes to determine whether a proposed treatment is safe, effective and better than existing treatments." According to the release, the report and its recommendations followed the death of two children at a German clinic in 2010. The clinic has since been shut down. Certain stem cell therapies — mostly involving blood and skin stem cells – have undergone rigorous testing in clinical trials, the researchers noted. A number of these resulted in aproved treatments for certain blood cancers, and to grow skin grafts for patients with severe burns. Information about the current status of stem cell research and potential uses of stem cell therapies is available on the website EuroStemCell.

MS Trust Project to Bring Needed Services to People with Advanced MS Wins October Club’s Support

The British fundraising group The October Club and The MS Trust, a U.K. multiple sclerosis research and support organization, have announced an ambitious plan to potentially help thousands of advanced MS patients in need of services. Composed of people working in the financial equity industry in London, The October Club raises money for a different charity each year through…

Clinical Test of Rex Robotic Device as Rehabilitation Aid for MS Patients Starting in UK

A clinical test of whether bionic robotics can improve mobility in people with relapsing or progressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and considerable disability is now recruiting participants, after being approved by the U.K. National Health Service’s Health Research Authority (HRA) ethics committee. The trial, called RAPPER 3 (Robot Assisted Physiotherapy Exercises with Rex…

#ACTRIMS2017 – Forum for MS Research and Treatment Opens Feb. 23 in Orlando

The second annual Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS), a forum for clinicians, researchers and other MS specialists to network and discuss the  latest advances in MS research and treatment is set for Feb. 23–25. This year’s meeting takes place at the Omni ChampionsGate resort hotel in Orlando, Florida. Multiple Sclerosis News…

Calcium Channel Research Could Lead to More Effective MS Treatments

Scientists at the University of Buffalo have identified a critical step in the process of nerve myelination after birth, a discovery that holds promise for the development of more effective therapies for neurodegenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS). The research involved the study of voltage-operated calcium channels, which initiate many physiological…

Philips Unveils In-Progress Radiology Portal for Diagnosing, Treating Neurological Diseases

Royal Philips recently announced the introduction of the IntelliSpace Portal 9.0, the latest edition of its advanced comprehensive visual analysis and quantification platform for neurological disorders. The platform was presented at the 2016 Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting (RSNA), taking place through Dec. 2 in Chicago. Currently a work in…

BAS Joins with Montel Williams in Effort to Bring Cannabis Products for MS to Market

BAS Research, recently granted California’s first medicinal marijuana manufacturing and research license, is teaming with Montel Williams’ LenitivLabs startup to begin developing, producing and marketing medical-grade cannabis products. BAS’ goal is to replace the social stigma associated with cannabis by creating medical marijuana products with standardized dosing and proven efficacy. Its products are aimed at…

Canadian Firm Opens Clinics to Train People Using Its Keeogo Walking Assistance Device

B-Temia announced the launch of its “b-Klinic Mobility” business unit, offering clinical services, information, training, and ongoing support to patients and healthcare professionals who use the company’s Keeogo walking assistive device. Keeogo is B-Temia’s first product in the class of dermoskeletons, designed to assist persons with mobility-related challenges that limit…

University to Use New Balance and Mobility Trainer for Therapy, Research

The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) recently installed a state-of-the-art SafeGait 360 Balance and Mobility Trainer on its Austin, Texas campus. The device is a ceiling-mounted body-weight support and fall protection system that tracks patient movements 2,500 times per second. The trainer was designed in collaboration with…

Information on Clinical Trials to Be More Complete and Accessible Under New HHS Rules

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced policy changes designed to make information about clinical trials of investigational drugs, biologics and products more widely available to the public, issuing amended rules that specify the requirements for registering clinical trials and for submitting summary results to its website. The…

Antioxidant Therapies Seen as Promising Approach in Treating MS and Like Diseases

A review article published in the British Journal of Pharmacology assesses antioxidant approaches for treating neurodegenerative disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The review, “Microglia antioxidant systems and redox signalling,” notes that certain compounds associated with oxidative stress appear to be promising…

Questions to Ask Your Doctor If You’re Newly Diagnosed

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We consulted some of our community contributors at MS News Today and came up with 12 questions people should consider asking their doctors after an MS diagnosis.

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