MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: Nasal DMT, VR for Gait, Brain Stimulation, Amino Sugars

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by Ed Tobias |

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Nasal Foralumab Led to Promising Immune Effects in Phase 1 Trial

It sure would be nice to have a nasal spray to treat MS, but this research is still in its early stages. This study looked only at the safety and preliminary effectiveness of nasal foralumab on healthy volunteers. So, there’s still a long way to go. Researchers are now treating a person with secondary progressive MS (SPMS) with foralumab in an individual patient expanded access program, but a news release about the studies contained no further information about a timeline for a complete Phase 2 trial.

Nasally-administered foralumab, a potential treatment for neurodegenerative disorders such as progressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), appears safe and well-tolerated, and shows immune-modulating and anti-inflammatory effects in healthy volunteers, an updated analysis from a Phase 1 trial has found.

“Nasal administration of Foralumab is a unique approach to treat patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as progressive MS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s disease,” Howard Weiner, MD, the Harvard Medical School neurology professor who reformulated foralumab for nasal delivery, said in a press release.

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Immersive Virtual Reality May Improve Treadmill Gait Training

Which is best: treadmill training using virtual reality goggles, a television screen on a treadmill, or standard training with no video? According to this study, putting on the goggles was the best way to increase walking speed. Using a TV monitor was better than nothing, but not as good as VR.

If I were on that treadmill, however, I’d be concerned about balance, a common problem with MS. Researchers reported some cases of nausea in people using the head-mounted VR display. Frankly, I’m happy just doing a few minutes on a recumbent bike using music as my motivator.

Immersive virtual reality may make treadmill exercise more engaging and effective for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) or other conditions that can make walking difficult, according to new research.

The findings were published in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, in the study “Immersive virtual reality during gait rehabilitation increases walking speed and motivation: a usability evaluation with healthy participants and patients with multiple sclerosis and stroke.”

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At-home Brain Stimulation Program Now Available

How about do-it-yourself (almost) brain stimulation? A patient dons a helmet containing electrodes, and using a video app, is guided through a 30-minute treatment session. The electrical stimulation is thought to make it easier for nerve cells to “fire” and transmit signals between them, which can reinforce brain connections.

It can all be done at home, and daily sessions are recommended. “The tDCS Program has helped me regain control of my daily self-care routines,” one MS patient said.

New York University (NYU) Langone Health has launched an at-home, therapeutic program of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) — a type of noninvasive brain stimulation — to reduce cognitive, motor, speech, or mood symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other brain disorders.

A first of its kind, the personalized tDCS Program allows patients in almost every U.S. state to receive tDCS sessions tailored to their individual needs and therapeutic goals in the comfort of their home.

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Simple Amino Sugar May Be Blood Biomarker, Treatment for Progressive MS

This study has left me wanting another study. It reports that levels of an amino sugar in the blood of people with SPMS and primary progressive MS are significantly lower than in people with relapsing-remitting MS. What it doesn’t report is which came first — did something about the MS progression in these people cause the difference in amino sugar levels, or was the difference responsible for the increased MS severity?

Maybe we’ll get the answer later, because researchers say they hope to do further studies to see if this simple sugar might be able to be used as a therapy.

Markedly low levels of a simple amino sugar called N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) were found in the bloodstream of people with progressive forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) and correlated with greater disease severity and disability, a study reported.

These findings support GlcNAc as a potential biomarker for more severe forms of MS.

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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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

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