neurodegeneration

Stem Cells from MS, Parkinson’s Patients Voyaging to Space Station to Study Disease Impact on Brain in Microgravity

Stem cells from patients with Parkinson’s disease and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) are soon to voyage into space, and be brought aboard the International Space Station so cell-to-cell interactions in these neurodegenerative diseases can be studied without gravitational forces acting on them. This research project, proposed to launch in May…

Cell-free Mitochondrial DNA in Cerebrospinal Fluid of Progressive MS Patients May Point to Neurodegeneration

Cerebrospinal fluid of progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) patients may carry lower levels of cell-free mitochondrial DNA, according to a team of researchers who say this may be a sign of neurodegeneration among these patients. The study “Cell-free mitochondrial DNA in progressive multiple sclerosis” was published in the journal Mitochondrion.

Advances in MRI Readings

My neurologist orders an annual MRI to see if any major changes have occurred, and last year my imaging included NeuroQuant software. NeuroQuant is still relatively unknown in the multiple sclerosis patient community. It is a measuring software that gives us real numbers we can comprehend instead of subjective…

Problems with Sense of Smell Are Worse in Primary Progressive MS Than Relapsing-Remitting Form, Study Reports

Problems with sense of smell are more frequent and severe in patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) than in those with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), a study reports. The research, “Olfactory dysfunction in patients with primary progressive MS,” was published in the journal Neurology: Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation. A distinguishing feature of RRMS, the most common form of the disease, is attacks of new or increasing neurologic symptoms, such as movement disorders, and then recovery periods. About 15 percent of patients have the primary progressive form, or PPMS. Its main feature is gradually increasing neurologic disability without recovery periods. Some scientists believe PPMS is a less inflammatory course of MS. The differences in the processes that underlie each form are not well understood, however. Several researchers think that studying differences in the two groups' ability to smell — or olfactory dysfunction — could shed light on these underlying processes. Autopsies of MS patients in one study showed that 71 percent had experienced demyelination, or loss of neurons, in the brain's olfactory pathway. The processes that led to this dysfunction were unclear, however. Researchers decided to test the hypothesis that olfactory impairment is more pronounced in patients with PPMS than RRMS. The team examined 32 patients with PPMS, 32 with RRMS, and 32 healthy controls. The yardstick they used to evaluate sense of smell was the olfactory Threshold Discrimination Identification (TDI) Test. It involves patients smelling 48 sniffin' sticks. In addition to an overall TDI, there were subscores on olfactory threshold, odor identification and odor discrimination. Olfactory threshold refers to the lowest concentration of an odor that a person can detect. Researchers found olfactory dysfunction in 27, or 84 percent, of the PPMS patients; 10, or 31 percent, of the RRMS patients; and 1, or 3 percent, of the healthy controls. The TDI score and all subscores were significantly worse in patients with PPMS than in the controls, when considering patients of similar age and the same sex. The TDI score was also worse in PPMS patients than in the RRMS group, after adjusting for age, sex, MS disability level, the length of time patients had the disease, and patients' ability to identify and discriminate among odors. Researchers acknowledged limitations to the study. One was the small size of the groups in the research. Another was not using magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, to measure olfactory pathway deterioration. Comparing the brain's olfactory pathway region with other brain regions in both the RRMS and PPMS groups could have shed light on the processes underlying the olfactory dysfunction differences between the two, researchers said. “The findings suggest that olfactory dysfunction might be a surrogate of neurodegeneration in these patients," the researchers wrote. "Studies correlating olfactory function with radiologic and clinical markers of disease progression would be of interest.”

Astrocytes Can Turn Aggressive and Kill Neurons, Potentially Groundbreaking Study Says

In what may be one of the most significant discoveries in neurodegenerative disease, researchers have found that brain cells, called astrocytes, contribute to killing neurons and myelin-forming oligodendrocyte cells, which may drive neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Experiments indicate an aggressive astrocyte type kills cells by secreting a yet-unidentified…

#ECTRIMS2016 – Eye Imaging Tools May Help Predict 5- or 10-Year MS Disability

Two presentations at the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) 2016 Congress, now underway in London, underscored the value of measures of neurodegeneration in the eye in predicting a patient’s future disability. Peter Calabresi with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine opened the session with the presentation, “Tools for…

MS Progression May Be Tied to Workings of Immune Complement System in Brain Lesions

The complement system, a part of our non-adaptable (innate) immune defenses, is activated in lesions inside the brain’s gray matter and may well contribute to the relentless progression of multiple sclerosis (MS), researchers report. The findings offer new insights into mechanisms driving the development of this disease — particularly its primary progressive forms.

GeneFo Partners with MitoQ to Offer Energy Supplement at Discount to MS Community

GeneFo, a social-medical community that connects patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and offers free in-house medical consulting, recently announced a partnership with MitoQ, a New Zealand-based company focused on mitochondrial health. MitoQ is a mitochondria-targeted antioxidant supplement that may help to alleviate common symptoms in MS. MS, a chronic disease of the central…

CONy16: Should RRMS Disease-Modifying Drugs Be Used to Treat Secondary Progressive MS?

A major dilemma facing clinicians is whether to continue treatment with disease-modifying drugs, effective in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), as the disease progresses to secondary progressive MS (SPMS). In SPMS,  these treatments seem to lose their benefits and — as they are often associated with severe side effects and high costs — clinicians…

Effects of Specific Antibodies on MS Neurodegeneration to Be Presented at ACTRIMS Forum

Researchers from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center plan to present the results of a study investigating the contribution of specific antibodies to the neurodegeneration and neuronal dysfunction observed in multiple sclerosis (MS). The study’s results are to be reported today, Feb. 18, at the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research…