MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: MS Diet, Early Symptoms, Kesimpta, Spinal Fluid Test

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by Ed Tobias |

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MIND Diet May Protect Brain Tissue in MS

The Mediterranean Diet is one of several diets that proponents believe slow their MS progression and in some cases help to improve some symptoms. However, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society says that “evidence of effectiveness [of any MS diet] is very limited. Most of these proposed diets have not been subjected to rigorous, controlled studies, and the few that have been evaluated have produced mixed results.” So, it’s good to see even a small study like this on the impact of diet on MS. I’d like to see more.

A higher adherence to the MIND diet – short for Mediterranean-Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension Intervention (DASH) for Neurodegenerative Delay – may protect brain tissue from further damage in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), new research suggests.

In particular, consuming more high-fat dairy products was associated with a lower volume of brain lesions in patients, while omega 3 from fish was found to preserve the integrity of white matter — the region of the brain that is mostly affected by MS.

The study, “Dietary Factors and MRI Metrics in Early Multiple Sclerosis,” was published in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

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MS Symptoms Often Apparent Years Before Diagnosis

When I ask people how long they’ve lived with MS, they’ll frequently tell me the year they were diagnosed and add something like, “But I started having symptoms several years earlier.” Most neurologists would agree that the earlier MS treatment begins, the better the outcome. Fortunately, over the past few years, the trend seems to have been toward that goal of earlier diagnosis and treatment. Hopefully, studies like this will encourage healthcare professionals — particularly those who are not MS specialists — to consider MS as a diagnosis much earlier than they may have considered it in the past.

Many people with multiple sclerosis (MS) start experiencing symptoms of the disease several years before being diagnosed, a new study suggests.

While it has long been known that people with MS tend to seek medical attention more frequently in the years before diagnosis than those without the disease, there has been debate as to whether this is a result of MS itself, or a prodromal phase of the disease. Prodromal refers to a distinct period of unspecific and mild symptoms seen prior to the onset of actual MS.

In the new study, a team of researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) analyzed insurance data in an effort to address this question. Their findings were published in the journal Neurology, in the study, “Systematic Assessment of Medical Diagnoses Preceding the First Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.”

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High Free Light Chains Levels May Indicate Sooner Second Relapse

This study reports on a spinal fluid test that may help determine which patients with MS-like symptoms are most likely to progress to full-blown MS, and therefore, would benefit the most from early MS treatment. In fact, the researchers say this test might one day be able to replace other indexes for diagnosing MS.

High levels of kappa-free light chains, or kappa-FLC, in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) — the liquid surrounding the brain and spinal cord — may help identify people with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) who will progress sooner to multiple sclerosis (MS), a study reports.

Overall, those with a high kappa-FLC index — a ratio of CSF to blood levels — were twice as likely to experience a second relapse and progress to overt MS within 12 months than patients with a low index.

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Long-term Kesimpta Use Not Seen in Trial to Depress Antibody Levels

One of the concerns of people using disease-modifying therapies (DMT) that target immune cells is that the treatments will harm their immune system’s ability to fight infections. This concern has become even greater when people with MS consider whether (and when) to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Kesimpta is one of those DMTs that target certain infection-fighting B-cells. I’d like to see similar studies for all of the other DMTs that modify our immune systems as they attack our MS.

Long-term use of Kesimpta (ofatumumab) among people with multiple sclerosis (MS) did not substantially lower their antibody levels, allowing them to retain an ability to fight infections, new data from a Phase 3 clinical trial indicate.

“These long-term results continue to support Kesimpta as a high-efficacy, first-choice treatment with a favorable safety profile for people living with [relapsing MS],” Marcia Kayath, global head of medical affairs at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, which markets Kesimpta, said in a press release.

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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.


Tom Anderson avatar

Tom Anderson

Hello Ed- The thing that troubles me about MS Diets, is that folk new to MS, who really don't want the disease or its treatments, will just change their diet, rebound from their current MS situation and think they have got it fixed. All the while, permanent damage that could be avoided short and long term (by using a DMT) will occur. I did the "Swank Diet" early on and still follow much of it, but I credit my "not severe" case of MS to 25 years of shots every two days (Betaseron). And early treatment is not a new idea.

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Tom,

I absolutely agree with you. Eating healthy is eating healthy and a treatment is a treatment. They're not exclusive of each other and shouldn't be. The same goes for exercise. Do what you can with whatever tools are available to hold MS at bay.



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