Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis

rsz_doctor_talking_to_female_patient (2)

Recently, new studies have begun to investigate a correlation between multiple sclerosis and Vitamin D. And, while it may be tempting to make changes to your daily routine based on the information presented in these studies, it is always important to discuss these changes with your neurologist first. As this information is passed throughout the MS community, it is important to be mindful of how your body absorbs Vitamin D.

One of the more natural ways the body absorbs Vitamin D is through the skin from sunlight. However, with the increase in cancerous skin diseases such as Melanoma, individuals are more vigilant regarding the exposure their skin receives and are using sunscreens to try and block some of the sun’s UV light. With this in mind, it may be important to talk to your doctor about other ways to increase the body’s exposure to Vitamin D. For many, taking supplements and being mindful to eat more foods enriched with Vitamin D assists in increasing the body’s Vitamin D levels.

Always consult with your doctor regarding the use of any supplements or in modifying your diet. Although you may find the foods and supplements to be helpful, they could also be harmful to individuals if not monitored closely.

 

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MSAA Attends 2014 Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers

Several members of the MSAA team traveled down to Dallas, Texas last week for the 2014 meeting of the Consortium of MS Centers (CMSC). The meeting had approximately 2,000 registered participants (the largest CMSC ever) ranging from doctors, nurses and researchers, to nonprofit organizations like MSAA. CMSC Booth

MSAA set up our booth and reached out to attendees to try and ensure that providers are aware of our services and can refer to them as needed.

Some of the partners MSAA works with were also in attendance, including the vendors who work with MSAA on our Cooling program:

Steele Booth

The annual CMSC meeting is one of the best opportunities for education, sharing, and collaboration for professionals who serve the MS community. MSAA staff attended a number of helpful classes, lectures, and interactive sessions on everything from research and study updates related to causes and treatments to efforts to improve quality of life and comprehensive MS care.

Stay tuned to MSAA for more information and knowledge learned at the 2014 CMSC.

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You Can Contribute to Finding the Cure for Multiple Sclerosis:

rsz_lab_scientists_looking_in_microscopes

If you are looking for a way to get involved or change the future of MS research, the Accelerated Cure Project and NARCOMS (North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis) are great places to get started!

I want to bring attention to these two organizations, which you may not be familiar with and encourage you to look into their websites if you are interested in learning more about what they do.

The Accelerated Cure Project maintains an MS-research repository and also will be launching an online patient powered research effort. They focus on making sure researchers have access to the biospecimens (for example blood, or CSF fluid) they need to conduct research, and then aggregate the results of all of the studies performed using these research samples.The sharing of research information and results helps to expedite the MS research process.

NARCOMS is a voluntary MS registry with over 37,000 registrants currently. They support the increase in collective knowledge of the MS experience through surveys and other activities in hopes that the collective knowledge gained about the MS experience will be helpful to researchers and will also promote a greater understanding of MS.

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Is There a Relationship Between MS, Allergies and Histamine?

By: Matt Cavallo 

Spring is in the air. So is pollen. With the pollen, my seasonal allergies are in full bloom. I am still sneezing from the last time I stopped to smell the roses. With my seasonal allergies at their peak, I wondered: is there a correlation between multiple sclerosis and allergies?

When I started my research, I was instantly disappointed. All of the initial research pointed to no correlation between MS and allergies. In fact, a 2011 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) titled, Association between allergies and multiple sclerosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis, concluded that there was no connection between allergic diseases and MS.

While the initial research suggested no direct correlation between MS and allergies, the deeper I dug, a relationship between histamine and multiple sclerosis started to evolve. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, histamine is a “biologically active substance found in a great variety of living organisms…In an allergic reaction—the immune system’s hypersensitivity reaction to usually harmless foreign substances (called antigens in this context) that enter the body—mast cells release histamine in inordinate amounts.” The definition goes on to explain that the antigens can cause inflammation. After reading this research, my questions became: Does the inflammation caused by these antigens contribute to MS symptoms? And is this partly why I feel worse when my allergies are at their peak?

My questions lead me to research more about histamine and MS. As it turns out there are research studies ongoing exploring the relationship between MS and histamine. A study of histamines and MS on Science Daily found an “unexpected connection between pathways involved in autoimmunity and allergy and suggests previously unrecognized connections between these very different types of immune responses.” The NCBI concluded in a 2013 study, Elevated CSF histamine levels in multiple sclerosis patients, that MS patients had higher histamine levels than the control group and that further exploration was needed.

I am not a scientist, nor am I a doctor. I’m just a guy with MS and bad seasonal allergies. I know that when I feel crummy due to my allergies, that my MS symptoms seem to flare. There are two sides to the argument: one suggests no relationship between MS and allergies, the other suggests that a key immune response to allergies, histamine, may play a role in multiple sclerosis. Until they are able to figure it out, I’m still not going to stop and smell the roses. Hopefully with science and research, one day I will be able to.

Resources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20456246
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/267004/histamine
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110131133317.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23659456

*Matt Cavallo was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2005. Matt is an MS blogger, author, patient advocate, and motivational speaker. Matt also has his Master’s degree in Public Health Administration. Matt is the proud father of his two sons, loving husband to his wife, Jocelyn, and best friend to his dog, Teddy. Originally from the Boston suburbs, Matt currently resides in Arizona with his family. To learn more about Matt, please visit him at : http://mattcavallo.com/blog/

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Comprehensive MS Research Update Now Available from MSAA

MS Research Update

The 2014 edition of MSAA’s MS Research Update is a comprehensive overview of the latest research findings on the FDA-approved disease-modifying therapies, as well as many e,perimental treatments. This update features ground-breaking studies not only with medications, but also in areas such as stem-cell research, therapies for myelin repair and protection, biomarkers, genetic studies, and more.

In addition to the e,citing research aimed at relapsing forms of MS, a number of studies are also looking into the treatment of progressive forms of MS. To assist individuals interested in learning more, studies involving progressive MS have been highlighted.

Read MSAA’s latest MS Research Update here.

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Highlights from the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting

The American Academy of Neurology’s (AAN) 65th Annual Meeting took place in San Diego, California in March. This large medical conference presents the latest findings in research and treatments for neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS). MSAA has compiled important highlights from the meeting in the following article on mymsaa.org: http://www.mymsaa.org/news-msaa/871-aan-highlights-2013

 

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MSAA’s MS Research Update

MSAA's Research Update 2013MSAA’s MS Research Update is a comprehensive overview of research findings on the FDA-approved disease-modifying therapies, as well as many experimental treatments.

This 2013 edition of MSAA’s MS Research Update is the first to be printed as a stand-alone issue, reflecting the diversity and scope of research progress in MS. This information is based on a wide range of sources, including the extensive journal literature on MS and its management, a review of ongoing clinical trials, and papers presented at major national and international conferences.

Read MSAA’s latest MS Research Update.

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Celebrate Scientists!

March is not only recognized as MS Awareness Month but is also celebrated as Women’s History Month. MSAA would like to thank and honor all of the women who have contributed to the advancement of medical and scientific research.

Female scientists, although sometimes lesser known, have contributed much in the past to initiate innovations in the medical field and advance research efforts. The following article (not published by the MSAA) celebrates female scientific innovators:   http://smithsonianscience.org/2013/03/five-pioneering-female-scientists-youve-probably-never-heard-of/.

MSAA would particularly like to honor all of those women who historically have worked and currently are working toward advancing research initiatives for MS.

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Read MSAA’s latest issue of The Motivator

Cover for Summer-Fall 2012 issue of The MotivatorThe latest issue of MSAA’s magazine, The Motivator, is out now – read it online, download a version to your computer, or order a copy today.

Included in the online issue:

* Cover Story – The Evolution of MS Diagnosis, Treatment, and Care

* Research News – Aubagio® approval and other research updates

* Health and Wellness – The benefits of aquatic therapy and exercise

…Plus, extra “Ask the Doctor” answers, not included in the printed magazine!

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The Evolution of MS Diagnosis, Treatment, and Care:

From the mid-1800s to the late 1900s, diagnostic criteria and therapies were fraught with uncertainty – and required more than a century of trial and error to reach today’s high level of success. Seventeen MS specialists are quoted, giving details about the most important contributions in MS history.

Read the full story

Research News:

Read about the recent FDA-approval of Aubagio® (teriflunomide), as well as updates on DMF (dimethyl fumarate) and Lemtrada™ (alemtuzumab), both submitted for FDA approval.

Read the full story

Health and Wellness:

Aquatic therapy and aquatic exercise are described, along with the benefits that they offer to individuals with MS.

Read the full story

The Motivator is MSAA’s award-winning magazine provided to the MS community and to our generous supporters.

Read the latest issue of The Motivator

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MS News Update – Highlights from CMSC 2012

Highlights from The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers’ Annual Meeting

MSAA has posted a new online article giving highlights from this year’s Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers’ Annual Meeting. MS experts from around the country attended this exciting conference, where the latest findings in MS research, treatments, symptom management, and patient care were presented.

Topics highlighted in this article include three new drugs presently under review by the FDA (teriflunomide, dimethyl fumarate, and alemtuzumab), while also giving the results of the Copaxone® study with lower-frequency dosing. The article explains the difficulties in understanding progressive forms of MS, presents the findings through different types of brain imaging, and provides information about a new study. Biomarkers, surrogates, and cognition are addressed in detail as well.

Read the full article on highlights from this year’s Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers’ Annual Meeting.

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