Basic MSExplorer Blog

New Compound May Ease Trigeminal Neuralgia Pain, Limit Side Effects - 05/23/17 03:05:30pm

Treatment with a compound called BIIB074 shows promise in reducing pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia — a  condition that occasionally affects multiple sclerosis (MS) patients — with few side effects, a new clinical trial finds.

The Swiss study, “Safety and efficacy of a Nav1.7 selective sodium channel blocker in Trigeminal neuralgia: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized withdrawal phase 2a trial,” appeared in the journal The Lancet Neurology.

Trigeminal neuralgia refers to sharp, acute pain in the teeth or face. It is caused by irritation of the trigeminal nerve, which stimulates the face, parts of the scalp and the oral cavity. Simple stimuli can irritate nerves, like touch, applying makeup, showering, talking, or even feeling a gust of wind.

Current treatment includes blockers of sodium channels such as carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine, but these drugs inhibit the channels whether they are active and causing pain or not, and for this reason have unwanted side effects.

The Phase 2a trial, conducted by the Center of Dental Medicine at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, involved 67 adults with trigeminal neuralgia. Researchers investigated the efficacy and safety of BIIB074, a blocker of sodium channels known to be responsible for pain and intensity.

Patients were initially assigned to receive oral BIIB074 (150 mg) three times a day for 21 days. Responsive patients were then randomly assigned to receive BIIB074 or placebo for up to 28 days in a second phase. The study’s endpoint was the difference between groups in the number of patients classified as treatment failures during the second phase.

Of the initial 67 patients, 29 entered the study’s second phase; 15 received BIIB074 treatment and 14 received a placebo. Five patients in the BIIB074 group and nine in the placebo group were classified as treatment failures.

The patients tolerated BIIB074 without severe or serious adverse events. Reported side effects occurring in the study’s first part included headache and dizziness, whereas in the second part, the most common side effects were headache, fever, nasopharyngitis, sleep disorder and tremor.

“Unlike conventional drugs, which often cause tiredness and concentration problems, BIIB074 was not only effective, but also very well tolerated,” Dominik Ettlin, one of the study’s authors, said in a news release. “We will now test the new substance in a lot more subjects during the next study phase, which will reveal whether the new hope for more effective pain relief is justified.”

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Multiple Sclerosis Friendly Recipes - 05/23/17 03:05:39pm

As is customary, every Friday we will provide you with 3 easy to prepare MS friendly recipes to try this coming week.

Winter Beet Salad

Beets are a delicious and often overlooked addition to a salad. They also liven your dish up a bit, by bringing a bit of color to the table. We think you’ll enjoy this salad. Give it a go.

See recipe here.

Paleo Sloppy Joes

This is the perfect quick weeknight meal. Serve it with a side of steamed vegetables or a salad and you have the perfect meal. Whether you use ground beef or turkey it’s sure to become a family favorite.  Use a paleo friendly tomato sauce or make your own. Make it as spicy as you like with the cayenne and red pepper flake.

See recipe here.

Almond & Coconut Macaroons

Macaroons are almost Paleo to start with: egg whites, almond paste, and coconut flakes are all perfectly healthy. With these macaroons, you’ll really be able to enjoy the nutty, almond-coconut flavors and the more subtle sweetness the vanilla extract, not just a huge blast of sugar.

See recipe here. 


Men Living with MS - 05/16/17 03:05:05pm

MS LifeLines Ambassador Ric S. helps run an MS support group for men near his home in California. While he believes that coed support groups can be very beneficial, he says that sometimes spending time with just the guys can offer unique benefits. “If anything, I think it’s a comfort thing for the guys who come. Sometimes you just need to take a breath,” he says.


Dr Rick Munschauer, a neurologist with EMD Serono, agrees that if a man is more comfortable speaking his mind with the guys, that’s great. The important thing is to communicate. Some men may feel isolated if they’re no longer able to do their usual activities, like playing sports. Self-esteem can also take a hit if MS affects employment status. He says, “Although MS is less common in men than in women, it tends to be more aggressive.” So this is not a time to tough it out.


“Men tend to minimize their symptoms, which can make it harder for the physician to assess what’s going on,” adds Dr Munschauer. So be open and direct with your healthcare provider about the full range of ways MS impacts your life—and tell your family, too. “A lot of times, I’ll hear from a spouse, ‘I just don’t know what’s going on with him.’ I think men have to learn to be more expressive about the impact MS has on their life.” Fortunately, there are a lot of people like Ric who are ready to listen.

Tips for men:

·         Talk about what you’re feeling! Don’t try to be a tough guy

·         Share what you’re going through with your healthcare provider and your family

·         Look for a local men’s MS support group if you feel like talking to guys who can relate.

Via MS Life Lines


Study Says Ampyra Aided Walking in PPMS and RMS Patients - 04/11/17 03:05:09pm

Ampyra (dalfampridine) shows long-term efficacy in improving walking ability in people with multiple sclerosis, according to a study evaluating the treatment’s use in progressive and relapsing MS patients over two years.

The study, “Monitoring long-term efficacy of fampridine in gait-impaired patients with multiple sclerosis,” was published in the journal Neurology. Ampyra is currently the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve walking in adults with MS, a function severely impaired in about 75 percent of these patients.

Of 55 patients who completed FAMPKIN, 53 enrolled in the two-year Ampyra extension trial. Investigators used several functional tests, including the Timed 25-Foot Walk (T25FW), 6-Minute Walk Test (6MWT), and 12-item MS Walking Scale (MSWS-12) to determine patient outcomes.

Results confirmed the good tolerability of prolonged-release Ampyra in as a long-term MS treatment, and a positive impact on walking speed and endurance.

“[W]e found a significant correlation between functional improvements in the clinical gait tests … and the self-perceived walking ability,” Dr. Linard Filli, the published study’s lead author and a researcher with the FAMPKIN trial, said in an interview with Multiple Sclerosis News Today.

MS manifests in different forms, and the trial included patients with relapsing-remitting, primary progressive, and secondary progressive MS. In the interview, Multiple Sclerosis News Today asked Dr. Filli if his team saw differences in patient outcomes and response to Ampyra according to MS type, and whether particular subgroups seemed to benefit most.

“We did not find a valid correlation between patient’s responsiveness and their specific type of MS in our study. We found both well responding patients and non-responders in each of the different MS subtypes,” Filli said. “Importantly, the results of our study and previous trials demonstrate that Ampyra also exerts significant positive effects in patients with chronic progressive MS, where alternative treatment options to improve walking function are virtually absent.

“We are currently screening for demographic and clinical factors that might be used as predictors of patients’ (short- and long-term) responsiveness to Ampyra,” he said.




Multiple Sclerosis Friendly Recipes - 04/07/17 03:05:52pm

As is customary, every Friday we will provide you with 3 easy to prepare MS friendly recipes to try this coming week.

Korean Short Ribs

This deeply flavorful, Asian-inspired dish has long been a fan favorite, but it turns out that my Korean Short Ribs are even simpler to prepare in the Instant Pot—and just as deliciously satisfying to eat. 

See recipe here. 

Frozen Easter Eggs

Want something cute and colorful to go with your Easter grass, but not so thrilled with cheapo drugstore candy? Try these easy frozen treats instead: they’re creamy, fruity, and delicious, perfect for celebrating the season without a pile of sugar.

See recipe here. 

Turnip, Potato & Pear Soup

It’s not exactly a typical combination, but try it out and you might be surprised! The potatoes (use white or sweet) give you a solid, comforting base, the turnips add a little sharpness, and the pears take the whole mix in a slightly sweeter direction without getting into the realm of dessert soup.

See recipe here. 

Possible New Target for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis Found by Researchers - 04/06/17 03:05:22pm

In the relentless battle against multiple sclerosis (MS), University of Alberta researchers recently discovered an entirely new cellular mechanism—an underlying defect in brain cells—that may be to blame for the disease, and a potential hallmark that may be a target for future treatment.

The finding opens the door to a brand new avenue of study in the battle against the cryptic autoimmune disorder that strikes more Canadians than any other nationality worldwide, said U of A neurologist Fabrizio Giuliani, medical director of the Northern Alberta MS Clinic and co-author of the study, recently published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.

“Scientists have been pointing to the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell, as a possible link to MS but have not been able to decipher how they malfunction. Ours is the first study that combines clinical and lab experiments to explain how mitochondria become defective in MS patients,” said Thomas Simmen, a cell biology researcher and co-author on the study.

Using human brain tissue samples, post-doctoral fellow Yohannes Haile discovered how two sub-components within a cell are miscommunicating in patients with MS, and identified how at least one protein, Rab32, is swooping in to trigger the dangerous dysfunction.

“A part of the cell that stores calcium (endoplasmic reticulum or ER) gets too close to the part of the cell that creates energy (mitochondria) when massive amounts of Rab32 are present in the brain of MS patients. The resulting miscommunication with the calcium supply triggers the mitochondria to misbehave, ultimately causing toxicity for brain cells in MS patients,” explained Simmen.

In healthy brain tissue samples, there’s virtually no Rab32 present, he added.  Researchers don’t know what causes an unwelcome influx of Rab32 but they theorize the defect could originate at the base of the ER.

With this finding in hand, scientists can now search for effective treatments that target Rab32 and embark on determining whether there are other proteins that may be at play, added Simmen.

“Rab32 is just one of the proteins that is having the effect of drawing the ER and mitochondria too close. There are dozens of other possibilities,” he said. This discovery may give hope to the 100,000 Canadians living with MS who have had to rely on treatments that have proven only partially effective.

Via Univ of Alberta

Bryan Bickell Plays First NHL Game Since MS Diagnosis - 04/05/17 03:05:50pm