MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: Mono and MS, Cold and Inflammation, Mesenchymal Stem Cells, MS Smartwatch

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by Ed Tobias |

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Mono as Child or Teenager Tied to Risk of MS as Adult in Large Study

There’s been a lot of buzz about this study, but I don’t think anyone should be surprised about its results. For years, researchers have suspected a link between the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) — the virus that causes mononucleosis — and MS. As I’ve asked before, can MS be cured by curing EBV? I know some neurologists who think it can.

People who contract infectious mononucleosis — colloquially known as “mono” — during childhood or adolescence are at a roughly two to three times greater risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) as adults, a large population-based study suggests.

Notably, the study points to mono itself — independent of other factors that may influence the disease’s development — as an MS risk factor.

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Researchers Lower the Temperature to Try to Reduce MS Inflammation

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Cold Eases Inflammation, Disease Severity in MS Mouse Model

Many people with MS feel better when it’s cold than when it’s hot. This study offers a theory about why that’s the case. It has to do with cold temperatures diverting body energy away from cells that are attacking the myelin coating of the nerves of people with MS.

Colder ambient temperatures may ease the inflammation that drives multiple sclerosis (MS), early research in a mouse model suggests.

Animals whose environment for two weeks was set at 10 C (about 50 F) had a “pronounced attenuation” of disease severity and other benefits compared with those kept at a warmer room temperature, the researchers wrote.

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Stem Cells (MSCs) Fail to Reduce Brain Inflammation in Active MS

When discussing stem cell treatments for people with MS, we’re usually talking about hematopoietic stem cell transplant, which uses a patient’s own stem cells, usually from the bone narrow, to try to reboot the immune system. This study, however, involves a different kind of cell, the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC), which produces cells that help other stem cells function properly. According to the study, the prospects for MSCs are not as promising.

Into-the-vein treatment with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) failed to significantly reduce brain inflammation or improve clinical conditions among adults with active multiple sclerosis (MS) in an international Phase 2 clinical trial, according to final study data.

The trial, which used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to assess the therapy’s efficacy, found the intravenous treatment was well-tolerated, but did not show any of the “demonstrated neuroprotective and ‘tissue healing’ properties [seen] in other studies,” the researchers said in a press release.

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Owlytics’ MS Smartwatch Goes Through First Validation Stage

I’ve written a few columns in recent years about using smartwatches and wearable monitors to track things such as pulse rate, steps, and even mood. Some also alert medical providers if a person wearing the device falls. Owlytics Healthcare says its smartwatch, which is still in the testing stage, aims to do most of that and more. The smartwatch will track self-reported MS symptoms when its wearer taps buttons reading “fatigue,” “spasticity,” and other self-selected symptoms. All of this will then be analyzed by the system. Does this sound like a watch you’d wear?

Owlytics Healthcare, in partnership with Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel, has taken its smartwatch — designed to monitor symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) from afar — through a first stage of validation.

The smartwatch, worn on the wrist, collects a continuous stream of personal health data that are sent to cloud-based, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered software via a cellular phone network. The AI software then analyzes the data to potentially identify trends in MS progression and provide preventive solutions in real time.

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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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