Marisa Wexler, MS, senior science writer —

Marisa holds a Master of Science in cellular and molecular pathology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied novel genetic drivers of ovarian cancer. Her areas of expertise include cancer biology, immunology, and genetics, and she has worked as a science writing and communications intern for the Genetics Society of America.

Articles by Marisa Wexler

Global Prevalence of SPMS Estimated, But Seen to Vary Widely

Worldwide, about 22 in every 100,000 people live with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS), a review study analyzing data across various countries reported. Its researchers found substantial variability in SPMS rates country-by-country, with countries closer to the poles generally reporting higher prevalence than those near the equator. Rates also…

Researchers Share Strategies to Improve Clinical Trial Recruitment

Publicity in national news outlets and an online self-screening questionnaire helped improve recruitment for a clinical trial in secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS), a new study highlights. “We have described our experience of recruiting participants with SPMS into two large RCTs [randomized clinical trials] in order to identify areas…

Early Detection of Pseudobulbar Affect May Help Ease MS Symptom

In its inaugural issue, a publication from The Gerontological Society of America provides information about recognizing and managing pseudobulbar affect — uncontrolled outbursts of crying or laughing that the authors say are one of the most “underrecognized and undertreated” symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological conditions. The…

New 3D Brain Map May Help in Disease Management: Study

A team of researchers has created a three-dimensional (3D) map of the lymphatic vessels that drain the brain, and demonstrated that these vessels are organized similarly in mice and in humans. The researchers propose measuring these vessels using MRI scans could “allow longitudinal imaging of disease progression that may be…

Stem Cell Transplant Found to Reduce MS Relapses, Ease Disability

Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant (aHSCT), a procedure that aims to “reset” the immune system, generally reduces disability and relapse rates in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new meta-analysis. “Current data encourage a broader application of AHSCT for treating patients with MS while still considering…

Ocrevus Outperforms Rebif in Preventing Myelin Loss in Trial

Two years of treatment with Ocrevus (ocrelizumab) outperformed Rebif (interferon beta-1a) at preventing myelin loss in people with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a new analysis of data from the OPERA II clinical trial. Ocrevus’ protection against demyelination was observed both in MS lesions,…

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Boosts Motor Learning in Mouse Model

Providing electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve, a large nerve that plays important roles in modulating nonconscious bodily processes like digestion and heart rate, can improve motor learning in mice, a new study shows. The approach specifically helped the animals learn motor tasks faster and achieve better performance levels in…

No Link Between MS Severity, Vitamin D-related Mutations: Study

A number of genetic variations related to vitamin D metabolism were not significantly associated with the severity of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a recent study. The study, “Role of Multiple Vitamin D-Related Polymorphisms in Multiple Sclerosis Severity: Preliminary Findings,” was published in Genes. In MS, the body’s immune…

Review Gives ‘Cautious Support’ to Childhood Trauma as MS Risk Factor

Most available studies suggest a connection between childhood trauma and multiple sclerosis (MS), from earlier symptom onset to potentially poorer outcomes, but more research is needed to understand this association, a review paper highlights. While several high-quality studies have been published, the scientists noted “considerable heterogeneity [variability] in methodology, including inconsistencies…

Heart Medication Digoxin Helps With Remyelination in Early Study

Digoxin, an approved medication for certain heart conditions, promoted the repair of myelin — the protective sheath around nerve fibers that is progressively lost in multiple sclerosis — in mouse models of the disease, a study reports. Combining digoxin with an experimental immune-modulating therapy was more effective at promoting myelin…

Natalizumab, Tysabri Biosimilar, Up for Approval in Europe

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has agreed to review a request to approve Polpharma Biologics‘ biosimilar natalizumab for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). This marks the first time the regulatory agency accepted a marketing authorization application for a biosimilar of Tysabri, an approved MS treatment. “The acceptance…

EMBOLD Study of ATA188 in Progressive MS Is Given Go-ahead

An independent committee of experts has recommended that the Phase 2 portion of the EMBOLD clinical trial continue as planned without a sample size adjustment, following an analysis of safety and effectiveness data. The trial is testing Atara Biotherapeutics‘ experimental medication ATA188 in progressive forms of multiple…

Researchers Distinguish Remyelinated Brain Lesions Via MRI

An MRI technique called quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) can be used to accurately identify remyelinated brain lesions in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), a research team has discovered. Remyelinated lesions are those in which the myelin sheath — the protective coating around nerve fibers that is progressively lost…