MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: COVID-19 Vaccines, Bladder and Bowel Problems, Rim Lesions

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by Ed Tobias |

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Patients on Anti-CD20 Therapies Urged to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

Some people being treated with disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) that reduce their CD20 B-cells have been concerned that their DMTs also reduce the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. According to this study, those DMTs, such as Ocrevus, Kesimpta, and Rituxan, do that. But after time, the B-cells repopulate. This research shows that a type of T-cell that can kill virus-infected cells, such as those infected by SARS-CoV-2, may actually get a boost from anti-CD20 therapies. The bottom line: Get a jab.

While people with multiple sclerosis (MS) taking anti-CD20 therapies do not mount a robust antibody response after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, the vaccines do strongly activate other parts of the immune system that are likely to be helpful in fighting the virus, a new study shows.

“The message from this study is clear — it is worthwhile for patients with MS receiving [anti-CD20] treatment to get a COVID-19 vaccine, which will prevent severe illness,” E. John Wherry, PhD, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and one of the senior authors of the study, said in a press release.

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

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Be Proactive in Managing Bladder, Bowel Problems, Nurses Advise

Like me, do you have bladder control problems? Most people with MS do. I’ve tried medications over the years, but the results have been mixed. To a lesser extent, I’ve also had bowel problems. In this story, a pair of nurses suggests that healthcare providers need to be more proactive about detecting these problems, and patients need to be less shy about reporting them. Doctors and patients need to work together to find the combination of medications, diet, and lifestyle changes that improves things.

Bladder and bowel problems, which affect more than half of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, should be assessed and monitored regularly to better adapt treatment plans and ultimately improve patients’ quality of life.

That is among recommendations of Jane Young and Joan Bradley, two nurses with experience in MS care and working at NHS Foundation Trust hospitals, in the U.K.

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Rim Lesions, Suggesting Chronic Inflammation, May Be Common

Over the past few years, rim lesions have been mentioned in many studies as being a possible guide to an MS diagnosis and prognosis. Yet, as this meta-analysis reports, there are no clear guidelines that standardize how these lesions should be assessed. That seems to be the next step that needs to be taken to make the study of rim lesions a useful tool for neurologists treating people with MS.

An imaging feature called a rim lesion is found in about 4 out of every 10 people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a review study.

These rims, thought to represent areas of chronic brain inflammation in which myelin is being progressively damaged, may serve as alternate biomarkers of disease progression and likely patient outcomes.

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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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