Author Archives: Ed Tobias

My Lemtrada Journey: Observations at 18 Months After Round 2

It’s time for another update on how I’ve been doing with my Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) treatments. The bottom line is that I’m doing well. Lemtrada is a disease-modifying therapy (DMT) delivered in two stages. The first stage entails a series of five daily infusions, while the second stage involves…

MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Cognitive Impairment, Genetic Variant Risk Factor, Protein Biomarkers, Gilenya Study

Higher Intellectual Ability, Early-life Physical Activity May Protect Against Cognitive Impairment in MS, Study Suggests The finding that physical activity provides a protective effect for cognitive abilities makes sense to me. I recently listened to a webinar discussing brain atrophy, which has a direct relationship with cognitive impairment, and…

Am I Too Old for Aggressive MS Treatment?

A question raised by neurologist Gavin Giovannoni on the Barts-MS blog lit up my radar recently. Dr. G asked whether “elderly” people with MS should be treated differently than those who are younger. The question arises because a case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a serious brain disease,…

MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Mavenclad and Ocrevus Use Rising in EU, Ampyra Patent Appeal Denied, Exercise and MS Pilot Study

Mavenclad, Ocrevus Use Rising in EU as Injectables and Tysabri Decline, Spherix Reports I’m not surprised at reports that the use of Mavenclad (cladribine) and Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) is increasing in Europe, or that the use of injectable disease-modifying therapies appears to be declining there. Mavenclad and Ocrevus are approved…

It’s Not All in Your Head

Several days ago, the headline “It’s All in Your Head” jumped out at me. The author of the Journal of the American Medical Association article, Matthew Burke, is a neurologist at Harvard Medical School who specializes in neuropsychiatry. According to Burke, the problem of physicians telling patients that unexplainable…

MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Rituximab vs. Ocrevus

In this week’s column, I’ve changed the format a little to focus on one subject: rituximab. This is an approved cancer medication that some U.S. neurologists use as an off-label treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). Rituximab is similar to Ocrevus (ocrelizumab). When the latter disease-modifying therapy (DMT) became available in…

Taking Vitamin D for Your MS? Use It Wisely

Many people with multiple sclerosis (MS) use vitamin D supplements. I’ve been popping a 2,000 IU tablet of vitamin D3 each morning for many years. And with good reason. Studies show that having an adequate blood level of vitamin D may lower a person’s risk of developing MS. Research…

MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Stem Cell Transplants, Remyelination Agent, Tecfidera Study, Plasma Exchange and Tysabri-linked PML

It’s been a big week for interesting stories, as the annual meeting of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) has just concluded. The conference offered much to engage healthcare professionals and researchers, but the following are some presentations that appealed to me as a multiple…

Stem Cell Program That Treated Selma Blair Closes Its Doors

Richard Burt, MD, the chief of Northwestern Medicine’s immunotherapy for autoimmune diseases division, is taking a sabbatical, and the stem cell program he has headed for many years, which treated a number of people with MS, is shutting down. Burt headed a Phase 3 clinical trial…

MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Cancer Medication Slows MS, Vitamin D and Myelin, Targeting ‘Helper’ T-cells, Vaccination Guidelines

Ofatumumab Better at Easing Relapse Rates and Slowing MS Progression Than Aubagio, Phase 3 Data Show Ofatumumab isn’t approved as a multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment. It’s a cancer medication that’s marketed as Arzerra. But in two clinical trials reported here, it did better than Aubagio at treating MS. Its…

Social Cognition: Does It Impact MS Symptoms?

Feeling tired, depressed, or anxious? Maybe it has to do with your social cognition. Social cognition involves empathy and recognizing the emotions that are revealed by someone’s facial expression. That expression may show fear or disgust. Or it may warn us of danger. Social cognition also involves the…

I Dreamed That I Was Walking

When asleep, many people dream they can fly. Some dream about being naked in public, failing an exam, or (gasp!) about sex. Last night, I dreamed that I was walking. I have that walking dream a couple of times a year. I’m walking along and all of a sudden,…

MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Rituximab Helps Reverse Boy’s MS, Top Secondary DMTs in Europe, Tricking Remyelination, Early MS Treatment Strategies

Rituximab Leads to ‘Dramatic’ Recovery in Boy with Aggressive RRMS, Case Study Reports I dislike using adjectives such as “dramatic” when describing treatment results. I think they frequently blow things out of proportion. However, after reading about how this young boy in Greece responded to Rituximab as a “rescue…

MS News that Caught My Eye Last Week: Solution for Lemtrada Complications, CBD Infusions, Vaccines and MS, Music and Exercise

Autoimmune Complications Associated with Lemtrada Solved Using Anti-CD20 Therapies, Case Studies Suggest One of the concerns about the disease-modifying therapy (DMT) Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) is that it may raise the patient’s risk of developing a secondary autoimmune disease within seven years post-treatment. This small study suggests that the abnormal proliferation…

Using Marijuana and Having Surgery? Tell Your Anesthesiologist

If you’re using marijuana and have surgery scheduled, take heed. In Colorado, where medical marijuana was legalized in 2000 and recreational use in 2012, medical personnel are discovering that weed may complicate the surgical process. The concern, according to an article in Kaiser Health News, is that marijuana…

Using the Floodlight App to Track My MS

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been using an app called Floodlight to track my ability to live with my multiple sclerosis (MS). It measures things such as my balance, finger dexterity, walking speed, and cognitive ability. It even knows if I’m keeping myself shuttered in my apartment or…

Getting Back in the Water with My MS

After a week of temperatures at 95 degrees or more making it too hot to swim, today was comfortable enough for me to get back into our condo’s pool. The water temperature was perfect and cool enough to keep me refreshed. I had the best workout I’ve had this season:…

Dancing Doodle

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