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Unemployment Risk Factors in MS Vary with Age, Study Suggests

Physical symptoms and poorer coping mechanisms are major risk factors for unemployment in younger and older people with multiple sclerosis (MS), while psychological problems have the greatest impact in middle-aged patients’ unemployment, a study suggests. These findings highlight that unemployment risk factors vary with age and call for interventions…

Am I Too Old for Aggressive MS Treatment?

A question raised by neurologist Gavin Giovannoni on the Barts-MS blog lit up my radar recently. Dr. G asked whether “elderly” people with MS should be treated differently than those who are younger. The question arises because a case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a serious brain disease,…

Higher Intellectual Ability, Early-life Physical Activity May Protect Against Cognitive Impairment in MS, Study Suggests

Higher intellectual ability and physical activity during childhood and adolescence may help protect against the development of cognitive impairment in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), an Italian study suggests. These findings, though preliminary, suggest that intellectual enrichment and early-life physical activity may reduce the likelihood of developing cognitive deficits…

Each Major Risk Factor (Like Genes, Smoking and Obesity) Can Affect Disease Course, Study Finds

Risk factors often associated with multiple sclerosis (MS), such as genetic background, obesity and smoking, contribute independently to the disease’s variability and may be an early influence on progression, a study reported. The retrospective study, “Multiple sclerosis risk factors contribute to onset heterogeneity,” was published in the journal …

Deregulated RNA Molecules May Contribute to RRMS, Study Finds

The levels of three small, regulatory RNA molecules — long non-coding RNAs — are deregulated in blood samples of patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), a study reports. The long non-coding RNAs are involved in the regulation of the natural immune response and DNA-damage response, supporting the theory that these…

#EAN2018 – Mavenclad Greatly Reduces Risk of RRMS Relapse, Analysis Finds

New retrospective analysis of the Phase 3 CLARITY study (NCT00213135) shows that treatment with Mavenclad (cladribine tablets) improved annualized relapse rate and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) outcomes in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), regardless of their age. Moreover, the effectiveness of Mavenclad was comparable to five standard therapies…

Cognitive Impairment Worse Among PPMS Than RRMS Patients, German Study Finds

Patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis have more severe cognitive impairment than those with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, according to a German study that analyzed published data on the topic. PPMS patients did especially poorly on verbal learning and verbal memory tests, said the study, which suggested that PPMS patients need disease management that specifically focuses on their cognitive difficulties, which do not necessarily correlate with the degree of overall disability. The study gathered data from 47 previously published studies in an attempt to analyze potential differences in cognitive performance between patients with RRMS and PPMS. These studies included 4,460 patients — 3,456 with RRMS and 1,004 with PPMS — and plenty of information about patient and disease features. This allowed researchers to perform a meta-analysis of pooled data from various studies, that is considered the highest level of scientific evidence. Researchers noted that PPMS patients performed worse on cognitive tests, both when considering global scores and tests of specific cognitive domains. Yet both groups scored similarly in levels of anxiety, depression and fatigue. Using statistical analyses, the research team found that differences in sex, education, disease duration, manual dexterity and fatigue could not explain the poorer test results among PPMS patients. On the other hand, PPMS patients were, on average, older than those with relapsing disease, and the team found that this difference accounted for poorer test results in cognitive tests of processing speed and working memory. Yet differences in other cognitive aspects also remained when researchers took age into account. Differences in disability, measured by the Expanded Disability Status Scale, could also not explain why PPMS patients performed worse on the cognitive tests. A detailed look revealed that the largest differences between RRMS and PPMS patients were in verbal learning and verbal memory, along with the age-associated difference in processing speed. Depression and anxiety also brought down processing speed, researchers said, even though the two groups did not differ in their levels of anxiety and depression. The data shows that cognitive impairment in MS is not directly related to the course of the disease. Research may explain differences in other factors including genetics, the degree of brain tissue loss and medications.

Beating the MS Clock

I’m 68 years old.  I’ve had multiple sclerosis since I was 32. I’m not sure where I expected this disease would take me when I was diagnosed 36 years ago, but I hoped that MS wouldn’t steal too much of my life from me.  I certainly never thought of…

Gilenya Seen as Most Effective in Younger and Previously Untreated Patients with Relapsing MS

A study analyzing results from three Phase 3 clinical trials shows that Gilenya (fingolimod) effectively prevents relapses in different types of relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, with the therapy being most efficient in younger patients and those without previous treatment. The findings highlight the importance of starting treatment early, and not…