MS news notes: Vaccinations, sex coping strategies, myelin repair

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

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by Ed Tobias |

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Welcome to “MS News Notes,” a Monday morning column where I comment on multiple sclerosis (MS) news stories that caught my eye last week. Here’s a look at what’s been happening:

MS experts offer more than 50 vaccine guidelines

I know there are different opinions about vaccines, and I’ve read comments to an earlier column of mine from people who say their MS was exacerbated or caused by a vaccine. That’s why it’s important to read the MS News Today story “Regular vaccinations for most MS patients recommended by experts.”

This story reports on more than 50 guidelines drawn up by MS experts in Europe for people with MS to use vaccines safely and effectively. It notes that “vaccines are not linked to an increased relapse or disability progression risk in MS patients, regardless of DMT [disease-modifying therapy] use, and ‘the benefit of immunization greatly outweighs any potential risks.'” That’s my nonexpert opinion as well.

The guidelines also cover important information about live-attenuated vaccines and certain DMTs. All of this is helpful for MS patients to be better informed and make good decisions regarding vaccinations.

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Coping strategies for sex for women with MS

Obviously, as a guy I have no personal experience here, but based on the comments from women on the MS News Today Facebook page, the information in the story “For women with MS, finding coping strategies for sex is more satisfying” may be quite useful.

The story reports on a study in Iran that shows sexual satisfaction was higher among women who used problem-focused coping strategies to address challenges with sexuality than it was among women whose coping strategies were based solely on managing their emotions.

“Using problem-focused coping strategies, having more frequent sexual intercourse, and being married for less time were linked to higher sexual satisfaction. Relying less on managing emotions and having more frequent sexual intercourse were linked to higher sexual intimacy,” the story notes.

More hope for myelin repair

It seems like almost every week there is news about research into myelin repair. In the story “Pregnancy hormone estriol promotes myelin repair in MS mice,” we learn about another one of these encouraging studies.

Although it’s a mouse study, researchers say it’s the first to identify a potential treatment to repair myelin in the brain’s cortex.

“Treatment with estriol, a hormone that’s produced during pregnancy, reduced disease severity and promoted myelin repair in the cortex,” the story says.

It also notes that estriol has been used for decades to help women manage the symptoms of menopause, so it has a good safety profile.

The research was conducted only on female mice because “estriol treatment may lead to unwanted side-effects in male patients.”

Nevertheless, this is encouraging news and something to keep an eye on.

Did you read an interesting MS news story recently? Please share in the comments below. 

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.


Paula mieczkowski avatar

Paula mieczkowski

Oh Ed, please don’t get me started! Lmao. If any woman in America has sexual issues, please feel free to pass along my email. At 71, I’m probably somewhat of an expert. Not professionally but as a red blooded woman who has been married, had kids etc.

Diane Randall avatar

Diane Randall

Hilarious to me! "Relying less on managing emotions and having more frequent sexual intercourse were linked to higher sexual intimacy..." Wow! No wonder I did so well with (undiagnosed since age 14) MS in my 20's (single) 30's (married) & 40's (single and married again)! Because I managed my emotions very well, i.e., just wanted to have fun. and lots of sex. Diagnosed at the lonely age of 48, I'm 66 now. I did have some "emotional" (I thought!) sex in my 50's, but very difficult due to dryness and MS progression (couldn't show off anymore!). Now I don't even want sex or a relationship unless it comes from Divine Intervention (I mean that, not an LOL comment). I live with my daughter 45y.o., happier (less healthy but) happier than ever. I've grown up, and with counseling, released my "relationship" addictions.

Ed Tobias avatar

Ed Tobias

Hi Paula,

I don't know about passing your email to others but I'll keep it handy. I'm getting ready to start a second edition of my book "The Multiple Sclerosis Toolbox" and this old man could certainly use more female input when I update the "Relationships and Sex" chapter. Seriously!



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