MS News That Caught My Eye Last Week: Gut Bacteria, Strength Training, Robots, Gilenya Patent

Columnist Ed Tobias comments on the week's top MS news

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by Ed Tobias |

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Gut Bacteria Are Altered in MS, Linked to Disease Progression

Several studies have indicated that the composition of gut bacteria in people with MS is different from that of healthy people. But earlier studies didn’t take into account environmental factors, such as where the study subjects lived or what they ate. In this study, researchers hoped to improve the accuracy of their study by limiting subjects to the same household. They identified 16 species of bacteria present at significantly higher amounts in MS patients compared with control subjects, and seven species at lower levels.

The composition of bacteria in the gut is altered in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients compared with healthy people in the same household, a new study reports.

That bacterial composition is affected by disease-modifying therapies and seems to be associated with disease severity. These findings could aid in developing new therapies to regulate the MS gut microbiome.

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Lower Limb Resistance Training Leads to Upper Limb Strength Gains

Why would exercising lower limbs improve upper limb strength? These researchers think it might be related to changes in brain signaling and nerve cell communication that have a broader influence on muscle function, rather than simply affecting one area of muscles. Whatever the reason, it’s another sign that exercise can help people with MS. That has certainly been my experience.

Ten weeks of lower limb fast-velocity concentric resistance training (FVCRT) led to muscle strength gains in both the upper and lower limbs in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a recent study.

This form of resistance training, which requires muscles to be maximally contracted as quickly as possible when using conventional weight machines, also increased walking speed and endurance and was associated with feeling less overwhelming pain and fatigue.

Robot-assisted Training for Arms Well-received by MS Patients

This study involved people with MS who had a high Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score of 6.5. That indicates a significant level of disability. But the robot-assisted training in this research is only designed to improve upper limb function. My EDSS score is 6.5, but most of my disability is below the waist. I’d like to see this type of training applied to more than just the arms.

A robot-assisted training program that uses game-like activities to improve upper limb function was met with high satisfaction and enjoyment by people with multiple sclerosis (MS), a small study has found.

Most of the participants reported the intervention improved their ability to do day-to-day activities, such as using a computer, eating, or playing piano.

Novartis to Petition U.S. Supreme Court to Uphold Gilenya Patent

This seems to be bad news for people who had hoped to see a generic version of Gilenya on the market soon. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already approved several generic versions of Gilenya, but they couldn’t be marketed until Novartis’ patent expires in five years. Lower courts had ruled in favor of challenges to that patent, but now at least one of those challenges is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. It could take months for that appeal to be heard, so it appears that we’ll be waiting at least that long for a Gilenya generic to appear.

Novartis said it will petition the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a patent that protects the dosing regimen of Gilenya (fingolimod) that’s approved for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

The original patent was not set to expire until the end of 2027, which meant generic versions wouldn’t be able to reach the market until that date. But a recent court ruling deemed the patent invalid, which would allow generics to be immediately launched.


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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