MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: Epstein-Barr, Aqua Exercise, Diagnosing SPMS, Myelin Repair

The week's top MS news includes a study looking at infectious mononucleosis and MS, writes Ed Tobias

Ed Tobias avatar

by Ed Tobias |

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Epstein-Barr Virus and MS Risk: New Link to Mono Found in Study

Add this study to the mounting evidence that there’s some type of association between the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) — the virus associated with mononucleosis — and multiple sclerosis. I’ve never had mono, but several people with MS who post on our MS News Today Facebook page say they have.

People who had infectious mononucleosis — a contagious disease for which the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the leading cause — had a higher incidence of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the 10 years following diagnosis compared with individuals not diagnosed with the virus, a study found.

This link was particularly strong for patients diagnosed with infectious mononucleosis, commonly known as mono, between the ages of 14 and 20.

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Aquatic Exercise Found to Ease Fatigue, Improve Balance in MS

I agree — my overall health is better when I swim or walk in the pool a few times a week. For me, any kind of regular exercise helps ease a number of my symptoms.

Aquatic exercise therapy can help to ease fatigue and improve balance in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), without notable side effects, according to a review of published studies.

These findings have important implications for MS patients, as fatigue is among the main symptoms of the disease and can severely impact quality of life.


Algorithm May Help Define SPMS; ‘Gold Standard’ Still Neurologist

If your diagnosis is secondary progressive MS, I’ll bet you can’t say with any precision when you progressed to it from relapsing-remitting MS. I know I can’t. There is no test for this. Maybe this algorithm will help make that determination. But what’s in a name anyway? Does anyone — other than insurance companies, perhaps — care what your MS is called?

A data-driven algorithm may be useful for defining the sometimes unclear transition from relapsing-remitting (RRMS) to secondary progressive (SPMS) forms of multiple sclerosis, a study found.

The study, “Towards a validated definition of the clinical transition to secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: A study from the Italian MS Register,” was published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal. 


MS Spasticity Therapy Baclofen Helps to Repair Myelin: Study

Repair of the myelin coating of our nerves, which when damaged is partially responsible for MS symptoms, is a researcher’s holy grail. How nice it would be if something as readily available and inexpensive as baclofen could accomplish this. But this was just a mouse study, and researchers say other studies are needed to see whether actual people with MS show evidence of enhanced remyelination.

Baclofen, an approved therapy for spasticity in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, promoted the repair of myelin — the protective sheath around nerve fibers that’s progressively lost in MS — in a mouse model of the disease, a study showed.

These findings suggest baclofen — sold as oral tablets, oral solution, and injectable formulations — may be a potential therapeutic approach to stimulate myelin repair in people with MS, the researchers noted.

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Fisch Romain avatar

Fisch Romain

Hi Ed,
following MS-News for a couple of years, I suggest you to pay some attention about a new ALS-therapy. I read in article about in the German newspaper DER SPIEGEL ( behind paywal).

The drug is called ION363 or JaciFUSen seems to work on a well particular gene (called FUS-Gene) and shall be able to rebuild the terminating nerves and Myelin.

Best regards and greetings from Luxembourg (the tiny little country between Germany, France an Belgium


Susana avatar


Hi Thank you Romain for the information. It sounds groundbreaking although not sure how long will have to wait. Every second counts because its constant inflammation. This disease does not shut its eyes when we go to sleep. Thank you

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Fisch,

Thanks for passing along the info about ION363. I'll see if I can find some info about it that's in English and not behind a paywall.

BTW, I know where Luxembourg is. I'm a ham radio operator so I have a pretty good sense of world geography. I've not had the opportunity to visit, I'm sorry to say, even though I've been to Belgium, France and Germany. But I'm not yet done maybe someday.


Jen avatar


Ed, you don't have to have had mono/glandular fever. 95% of the population have the antibodies -- it might have been asymptomatic. What they're saying is that you can't get MS without having the antibodies and an EBV vaccine would spell the end of MS in the future.

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Jen - You're right, of course. I'm sorry I wasn't clear about that when I mentioned I never had mono. Thanks for the catch.



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