MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: aHSCT, Cannabis, Smell Test, Telemedicine

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by Ed Tobias |

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Stem Cell Transplant Gaining Ground as MS Therapy Option

This comprehensive look at stem cell transplants by Multiple Sclerosis News Today writer Hawken Miller is one of the best overviews of the possible benefits and dangers and the current status of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (aHSCT) that I’ve read. It’s long, but if you’re interested in stem cell transplants, it’s worth your time.

Nothing was working for Jennifer Stansbury Koenig, who was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in 2010 the day before she learned she was pregnant.

The first disease-modifying therapy Koenig started in 2013, Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate), … made her symptoms worse, she said. … The second, Tysabri (natalizumab), … yielded the same results. … The third, Copaxone (glatiramer acetate injection), … seemed to make no difference at all.

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Scientists Review State of Cannabis Research in MS

This study looked at 28 cannabis research projects spanning 15 years. Half were conducted on mice and half on humans. Most of the human studies evaluated Sativex (nabiximols), an oral spray containing THC and CBD. It’s approved to treat MS-related spasticity in the EU, the U.K., and Canada, but not in the U.S. I believe it’s time to do two things: approve Sativex in the U.S., and move full speed ahead with robust marijuana research so that guidelines can be created for dosage, quality control, and other related matters.

Treatment with cannabis-based medications may ease muscle spasms, decrease pain, and aid in sleep for people with multiple sclerosis (MS), but more research is needed to evaluate the potential benefits of cannabis use.

That is the finding of a team of U.S. researchers who published a review paper, “Neurological Benefits, Clinical Challenges, and Neuropathologic Promise of Medical Marijuana: A Systematic Review of Cannabinoid Effects in Multiple Sclerosis and Experimental Models of Demyelination,” in the journal Biomedicines.

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Smell Test Might Help Predict if MS Treatments Are Working

These researchers say the sense of smell of a person with MS worsens when brain inflammation is active, but it’s generally not affected when MS is stable. So they think testing the sensitivity of a patient’s olfactory threshold could help to determine how well a treatment is working. But will it pass the smell test?

A measure of the nose’s sensitivity to smell could be used to detect whether treatments for relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) are working or not, a new study indicates.

The scientists noted that their results need to be validated through further study, but said the findings suggest that a smell test might be “a useful biomarker” for the efficacy of MS therapies.

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MS Patients Voice Satisfaction With Telehealth Use During COVID-19

Have you used telehealth in the past two years? My neurologist hasn’t been a fan of it for her patients, but my wife and I have used it for general medical issues, and we both believe it’s useful. I’d like to see a similar survey of neurologists. What has their experience been like? What has yours been like?

Telehealth services for physical and mental healthcare were used often by people with multiple sclerosis during the COVID-19 pandemic and most were satisfied or highly satisfied with such care, according to a study based on survey results.

“The findings suggest that telehealth services were well liked during the pandemic,” Michelle Chen, PhD, the study’s lead author and a core member of Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, in New Jersey, said in a press release.

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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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