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: Testing a new MRI contrast agent. One concern that some people with MS have when getting an MRI is that a contrast agent called gadolinium may be used to highlight lesions in the brain. Gadolinium, a chemical element, was the object of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety advisory in late 2017 related to potential kidney problems in some people. Although the advisory noted that the FDA wasn't concerned about people with normal kidney function and that gadolinium's benefits outweighed its risks, it did raise some concerns. But now, as reported in the MS News Today story "Potentially safer MRI gadolinium-based contrast agent to enter testing," a Phase 3 clinical trial will study a gadolinium-based product dose that's about 60% lower than other gadolinium-based contrast agents. If this new agent — gadoquatrane — is effective, it could ease concerns. That's important because an MRI is an essential tool for diagnosing MS, and using a contrast agent allows doctors to see lesions that might otherwise go undetected. Does myelin always protect nerves? It's been believed for a long time that the fatty myelin that surrounds our nerves is always a protective coating. But the story "Myelin may promote nerve cell damage in early immune attacks" reports on research showing the opposite may be true in some cases. In other words, myelin-coated nerves may be more vulnerable to inflammatory damage than uncoated ones. If true, these scientists say, this concept might open new avenues for MS treatment by focusing on regenerating functional myelin rather than preserving myelin that's been damaged. Study recommends hitting MS hard from the start. My first disease-modifying therapy (DMT) back in 1996 was Avonex (interferon beta-1a). It seemed to reduce my relapses a bit. But my disease continued to progress. In 2008, I switched to Tysabri (natalizumab), a higher-efficacy medication, which helped slow my progression. Eight years later, Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) continued to pump the brakes on my MS. I believe the study covered in the story "Outcomes better for RRMS patients who start on higher efficacy DMTs" is accurate and relevant. To me, it provides more evidence that starting treatment right away with the most effective DMT possible is the best treatment course for people newly diagnosed with MS. Interestingly, this study also reports that the reason many people with MS stop using their DMTs is because they're not effective enough. So why do many neurologists still insist on prescribing less-effective DMTs as first-line treatments? Why not at least offer patients the option of hitting their MS hard and fast? Did you read an interesting MS news story this week? 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.