MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: COVID-19 Vaccine and Relapse, Protective Parasite, Vibration Training, Infections

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by Ed Tobias |

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Risk of MS Relapse Not Increased by COVID-19 Vaccine, Study Finds

This new information about one of the COVID-19 vaccines supports what doctors have been saying all along. So, why do some people continue to believe the vaccines raise the risk of a relapse? In my personal, nonscientific opinion, it’s because the vaccines can cause a fever for a few days. We know that a fever can spark a pseudo-relapse, which is a brief flare in which symptoms reverse when the external cause, such as a fever or a hot day, disappears. So, perhaps people might believe they’ve had a relapse when they really haven’t. Am I right?

Getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 does not increase the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses in the two months following vaccination, according to a new study.

The results support recommending COVID-19 vaccines for people with MS, its researchers said.

“The incidence of relapses in the 2 months before and after vaccination was not statistically different,” the investigators wrote.

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patients on anti-CD20 therapies should get COVID-19 vaccine/Multiple Sclerosis News Today/cells illustration

COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Testing Extra Dose in MS, Other Diseases

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T. Gondii Parasite May Protect Against Developing MS

Here’s an interesting and perhaps distasteful concept: A worm called T. gondii might protect against MS. Infections with this parasite can occur from eating undercooked contaminated meat or being exposed to infected cat feces. T. gondii is generally harmless, and some research with animals has shown that it promotes anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive responses. The studies these researchers have reviewed support the idea that a T. gondii infection might help to protect against developing MS.

Toxoplasmosis, an infection by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, has a protective effect against the development of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a review study. Specifically, people who had been infected with the parasite were 32% less likely to develop MS than those who never had toxoplasmosis.

While these findings support T. gondii infection as a protective factor against MS, appropriately-designed studies are needed to confirm its protective effect, to assess whether it also lessens disease progression, and to better understand the mechanisms behind these associations.

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Vibration Training Also Seen to Aid Cognition and Life Quality in Study

This reminds me a little of when I was riding a horse, with the help of a therapist and instructor, to improve my balance and core strength. In the training mentioned in this story, a person with MS stands or sits on a platform that vibrates at certain frequencies and amplitudes. The vibration transmits energy throughout the body and forces muscles to contract and relax. It’s thought that this improves balance, mobility, strength, power, and cognition in older adults. It’s sort of like the benefits I received from riding a horse, right?

A six-week program, called vibration training — in which people stand on a vibrating platform for short periods of time — eased disability and improved cognitive abilities and quality of life in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), a small randomized study found.

The program was also well accepted and tolerated, suggesting it may provide an inexpensive treatment option for those living with the disease.

“Having a proven program to help manage MS-related disability and cognitive impairment is essential to optimize health-related QOL [quality of life] for people with MS,” the researchers wrote.

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Serious Infections in Adolescence Linked to Increased MS Risk

We’re talking here about infections serious enough to have been diagnosed in a hospital. And these infections are in addition to those already suspected to have links to MS, such as infectious mononucleosis, pneumonia, and central nervous system infections. These other infections may be bacterial or viral and involve the intestinal, urological, or respiratory systems, or even the skin.

Experiencing serious infections during adolescence is tied to an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) later in life, but those occurring in childhood don’t increase MS risk, according to a new Swedish study.

The study also found that certain types of infections, especially those that affect the central nervous system, or the brain and spinal cord, are most associated with MS risk.

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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.

Comments

Abbey Turner-Watson avatar

Abbey Turner-Watson

Aged 12, I'd been tested for Glandular Fever. Diag. with MS at 22yrs.
Please forgive me if I've confused you with someone else, but if WERE the person with an unhelpful waitress... I had wanted to suggest to you that she MIGHT have had a similar situation to yours, only to receive an angry response.
Just a thought..
And, yes, you DO. have the right to be grumpy - you've earned it.
Be well and keep-on keeping-on,
From Abbey (UK) - a big fan of yours.

Reply
Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Abbey,

Thanks for taking the time to comment. Yes, she may have previously had an angry response. I, however, think she just failed to see me and recognize that I couldn't just follow the leader to a table.

I'll keep on keeping on as long as you keep reading :-).

Ed

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Benjamin Wizel avatar

Benjamin Wizel

Toxoplasma gondii is not a “worm”. It is a protozoan parasite.

Reply
Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Benjamin,

I apologize for my worm reference.

Ed

Reply
Jim Brown avatar

Jim Brown

Absolutely correct. Calling it a "worm" diminishes the value of the article.

Reply
Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Jim,

I apologize for the worm reference.

Ed

Reply
Patricia Turgeon avatar

Patricia Turgeon

When I had the TDaP (Tetanus ,Diptheria, Polio) vaccine - no live agents - I was okay.
When I had the HPV (Human Papilloma) vaccine - live vaccine in 3 doses - my MS progressed.
Not sure what an RNA vaccine will do so I've been avoiding it.

Reply
Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Patricia,

People with MS are generally advised to avoid live vaccines, but the RNA vaccines are NOT live vaccines. Here's more from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html

I hope you decide to get the vaccine to help yourself and to help others.

Ed

Reply
PatriciaTurgeon avatar

PatriciaTurgeon

Thank you Ed, I followed the link and got a bit more educated. The site doesn't seem to mention anyone with Multiple Sclerosis though. I am not anti-vaccine, I believe anyone who can get it should, it's just not for me. When I had the HPV vaccine I was told it would be safe for me, the doctors would rather I get a short MS reaction than get cancer. I never bounced back afterwards, I just kept getting worse. I guess one of the things that would help change my mind about the MRNA vaccine is hearing from someone that has MS that has had a reaction from a live vaccine but not from an MRNA vaccine.

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