MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: MRSI, Acthar Gel, Tecfidera vs. Gilenya, Exergames

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by Ed Tobias |

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Imaging Brain Metabolites May Help Diagnose, Monitor MS

Have you ever heard of magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, or MRSI? I hadn’t until I read this story. It’s a technique that in concept allows a radiologist to see metabolites in the brain. Metabolites are small molecules that are produced during cellular activities. Using an MRSI might allow for the detection of changes in the brains of  MS patients that can’t be seen with conventional magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI.

A new imaging technique called magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging, or MRSI, could be useful for diagnosing and monitoring multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a small study.

“If confirmed in longitudinal clinical studies, this new neuroimaging technique could become a standard imaging tool for initial diagnosis, for disease progression and therapy monitoring of multiple sclerosis patients and, in concert with established MRI, might contribute to neurologists’ treatment strategies,” Wolfgang Bogner, PhD, a senior author of the study from the Medical University of Vienna, in Austria, said in a press release.

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Acthar Gel May Help RRMS Patients Who Fail Corticosteroids

This is a very small study of only 35 participants that lasted only two months and was paid for by Acthar Gel’s manufacturer. The study reports that slightly more than 60% of its participants had an improvement in their Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) after 42 days compared with just under 12% of those on a placebo. So, I think it’s worth a read.

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Acthar Gel (repository corticotropin injection) may be useful for managing disease relapses in people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) who fail to respond to treatment with corticosteroids, according to results from a small clinical trial.

The study, “Results from a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of repository corticotropin injection for multiple sclerosis relapse that did not adequately respond to corticosteroids,” was published in CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics. It was funded by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, which sells Acthar Gel.

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Real-World Data Shows Tecfidera Comparable to Gilenya at Preventing Relapses

This study reviewed data from Multiple Sclerosis Partners Advancing Technology and Health Solutions (MS PATHS), a Biogen-sponsored network of healthcare institutions in the U.S. and Europe. It looked at 702 patients using Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) and 600 using Gilenya (fingolimod). It confirmed previous studies that showed similar results, but with a large, real-world database.

Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) appears to have similar benefits to Gilenya (fingolimod) in preventing relapses and the loss of motor function and cognition in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), a study with real-world data found.

The two medications also led to similar findings on MRI scans, including in brain volume loss and number of lesions, and on the levels of serum neurofilament light chain (sNfL), a biomarker of nerve cell damage.

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Exergames May Improve Balance Better Than Standard Rehab

I believe that exercise helps some of my MS symptoms. So, it’s no wonder that this item caught my eye. I’ve tried working out at the gym and in the pool, and even doing horse therapy, but I haven’t tried video games. It makes sense that they might help improve my balance. I’m afraid, however, that I’d trip as much trying to play video tennis as I would on a real tennis court.

Exergames — playing video games that involve physical exercise — may be more effective at improving balance in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) than conventional rehabilitation, a review of current studies suggested.

The study, “Efficacy of Virtual Reality and Exergaming in Improving Balance in Patients With Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” was published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology.

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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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