MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: Brain Atrophy, CD25, Neurodynamic Therapy, Anxiety

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by Ed Tobias |

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Fatigue Severity in MS Predicted by Shrinkage of Certain Brain Regions

For several years, I’ve been a believer, along with many neurologists, in the theory that it’s best to treat MS as quickly and effectively as possible. Though directed at only fatigue indicators, this research looking at brain atrophy would seem to support that philosophy of hitting MS hard and fast.

Lower-than-normal volumes of certain brain regions at disease onset — indicating shrinkage, or atrophy, in those regions — are significantly associated with current and future fatigue severity in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), a study in Germany shows.

Some of these regions also were found to be central brain network hubs in MS patients with progressive fatigue, suggesting a potential early role in fatigue evolution in this patient population.

These findings point to early, specific brain atrophy as a predictive biomarker of fatigue worsening and support the implementation of fatigue-targeting strategies from disease onset in patients at higher risk, the researchers noted.

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‘Cellular Big Bang’ Reveals Immune Driver in Study of Twins

What creates the cells in our immune system that attack our central nervous system (CNS), resulting in our MS systems? These Swiss scientists think it may be protein labeled CD25. Previous studies have linked CD25 to T-cells and CNS damage, but this one compares twins to control for a genetic predisposition.

An increased production of CD25 – an immune receptor that regulates T-cell proliferation and activation – is the most noticeable blood cell immune alteration in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) compared with their unaffected identical twins, a study discovered.

The increased CD25 levels, which correlated with disease severity, were observed on a subset of precursor cells that originate in the inflammatory T-cells that contribute to damage in the brain and spinal cord in MS.

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Neurodynamic Therapy Found to Reduce Pain, Improve Dexterity in Trial

This study treated a small group of people with MS who reported having paresthesia, or burning or tingling sensations, in their arms or hands. Half of the group received standard therapy consisting of strength exercises, tissue mobilization, and muscle and tendon stretching. The other half also received neurodynamic treatment, which involves manual gliding movements targeting the nerves in the arms and hands.

Neurodynamic therapy resulted in greater reductions in overall pain and less sensitivity to touch as well as better scores on the nine-hole peg test.

The addition of neurodynamic therapy — a type of manual therapy targeting the nerves — to a standard treatment regimen using several different approaches reduced pain sensitivity and improved dexterity in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to data from a clinical trial.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first clinical trial to examine the effects of adding neurodynamic mobilizations to a multimodal treatment approach on sensory and motor changes in individuals with MS,” the research team wrote.

This “approach resulted in reduction of pressure sensitivity, greater reduction in pain and improvement in sensitivity to light touch and manual dexterity in MS,” they wrote.

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Physical Activity, Coping Skills Can Help to Ease Anxiety With MS

Every once in a while, I run across a study that leaves me wondering why time, effort, and money were spent researching the topic. This is one of those studies. Does anyone doubt that exercising and having coping mechanisms will help people deal with anxiety in life in general, not to mention with MS or any other illness? Just wondering.

Getting more physical activity and having effective ways of coping with multiple sclerosis (MS) could help to ease anxiety in patients, a review study suggests.

“The findings of this review highlight links between anxiety in MS and a number of diverse factors, all of which are amenable to change,” its researchers wrote. “We argue that further research is needed to develop interventions that can target these modifiable factors in order to reduce the experience of anxiety in those with MS.”

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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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