Thursday, April 03, 2008

Acorda Therapeutics Names John Librie Senior Vice President, Sales ...
Business Wire (press release) - San Francisco,CA,USA

-SR is a sustained-release tablet being studied to evaluate its safety and efficacy in improving walking ability in people with multiple sclerosis ...
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Director calls "4Chosen" a human interest drama
Asbury Park Press - Asbury Park,NJ,USA
Williams is promoting the film to raise money for the foundation he heads researching multiple sclerosis; Williams suffers from the disease. ...
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'Sharing Miracles' Television Program to Feature Emmy Award ...
PR Newswire (press release) - New York,NY,USA
... syndicated television talk show host Montel Williams, who suffers from multiple sclerosis; cancer survivor and mountain climber Sean Swarner; ...
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Integrating risk factors: HLA-DRB1*1501 and Epstein-Barr virus in multiple sclerosis.

This study focused on the relationship between two risk factors associated with the development of MS, namely antibodies against Epstein-Barr virus and a specific genetic pattern. The authors found that the level of antibody was an independent risk factor for MS even after accounting for any association with genetic pattern, but when the two factors occurred together, the risk of developing MS increased further.

authors: De Jager PL, Simon KC, Munger KL, Rioux JD, Hafler DA, Ascherio A.

source: Neurology. 2008 Mar 25;70(13 Pt 2):1113-8. Epub 2008 Feb 13

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Evidence of thalamic gray matter loss in pediatric multiple sclerosis.

The authors, using a new imaging technique, studied grey matter involvement in children with MS. They found that, in contrast to the adult form, the only affected area of grey matter was the thalamus, a deep region of the brain. They thought that this damage could be a consequence of lesions occurring in the connecting white matter.

authors: Mesaros S, Rocca MA, Absinta M, Ghezzi A, Milani N, Moiola L, Veggiotti P, Comi G, Filippi M.

source: Neurology. 2008 Mar 25;70(13 Pt 2):1107-12

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A longitudinal study of variations in and predictors of fatigue in multiple sclerosis.

The authors examined the different factors that could influence levels of fatigue in people with MS over a period of two years. They found that depressive symptoms, not working and living with a partner were associated with development of increased levels of fatigue over time.

authors: Johansson S, Ytterberg C, Hillert J, Widén Holmqvist L, von Koch L.

source: J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2008 Apr;79(4):454-7.

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US: NMSS Bike MS Ride 2008

Established as one ride in 1980 in Minnesota, the National MS Society’s (NMSS) Bike MS Rides are now the country's largest organised charity bicycling event series. In 2007, more than 100,000 cyclists participated in 100 rides throughout the United States, raising more than $77 million.

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Saudi Arabia: Saudi MS Forum meeting

An MS Awareness Meeting for people newly diagnosed with MS and their families is being held in the western region of Saudi Arabia.

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Profile of the Month: April 2008

Christo Balabanov

Country: Bulgaria
Age: 49
Profession: Mechanical engineer
Type of MS: Secondary progressive
Year of diagnosis: 1991

How Multiple Sclerosis changed my life
(What I gained and lost from MS)

My name is Christo Balabanov. I am 49 years old and a mechanical engineer. I work for the biggest Ford dealership in Bulgaria.

Everything connected to this incurable and unpredictable disease started in 1991. I used to play sports all of the time and was surprised to find that I got tired quickly and began to fall when I was skiing. I decided I wasn’t in good shape and began to train more intensively with more jogging and bodybuilding exercises. To my surprise, everything worsened and I lost 100 percent of the sight in my right eye. It was then that I decided to see a doctor.

At that time there was no MRI in Bulgaria so they carried out a lumbar puncture. The diagnosis was multiple sclerosis (MS).

After taking a short course of corticosteroid treatment, I fully recovered my sight and was able to walk again; I also regained the strength in my arms and legs. I told myself, with a smile, that it wasn’t so bad and I was determined not to give up. I had a family and I couldn’t imagine myself lying ill in bed. It was the thought of giving up that drove me crazy, rather than the MS.

1991 was also the year that Bulgaria took its first steps towards a new style of government. International companies, mainly from Western Europe and the USA started to enter the Bulgarian market. The companies offered the country new possibilities; the way they worked was completely different to that which we were used to under the socialist government. Further opportunities were opened up to me when I obtained an English Language diploma from the Pitman Institute, Cambridge.

I applied for work in many companies and received a positive response from Moto-Pfohe GmbH, Bulgaria’s official Ford car importer. I began selling cars in June 1993. It was hard to start with but the team of people I worked with soon helped me to settle in and cope with the workload. Also, my diploma and ten years’ professional experience as a mechanical engineer added important aspects to my abilities and skills.

It was great to work for a team where the manager led by example, showing us how problems should be solved. I really enjoyed the daily contact I had with customers and it was a pleasure for me to send a satisfied customer on their way. Indeed the company’s motto became, ‘The customer is number one'. Since those early days the company has grown substantially and now there are more than 600 employees. To think we began seated at two desks!

During this time my MS, due to the chronic nature of the disease, did not stay away. In fact, it began to show itself more and more. I blocked it from my mind and my thoughts but it still affected my body. In 1995 I experienced almost constant relapses and the doctors advised me to start on interferon treatment. At the time this wasn’t a very popular treatment in Bulgaria and it was very expensive (1800 DM per month – approximately €1000). I couldn’t afford it so I sent a request to the company owner in Germany. I had almost forgotten about it when, two months later, the company manager called me into his office, apologised for the delay and pointed to a large thermos bag on his desk. The bag contained three months’ supply of interferon and was followed three months later by another. I started on a course of injections every second day and it was like a miracle, the relapses stopped and I recovered physically. However, after six months I had to stop the treatment as my body began to react badly to the interferon.

Although I had to stop selling cars, due to the difficulty I had in walking, I continued to work for the company in the warranties office. The fact that my company had not let me go due to my MS really motivated me. My disease developed slowly but I haven’t given up. My family, friends and work colleagues have made it possible for me to continue by forming a shield around me, a bit like an internet firewall, and I feel safe and protected.

In 1999, I started to attend and participate in conferences organised by the European MS Platform (EMSP). They provided me with information and support and I became one of the founders of the MS Society Bulgaria Foundation. In Bulgaria, people with MS are treated similarly to anyone with a disability. There are many problems with the National Health Insurance Fund and there is a lack of technical support, wheelchairs and walking aids.

Christo fireside

Although there is no support from the State, our Society has had its little successes. We have raised enough funds to have our own office in Sofia and run a telephone helpline for six hours each day. The Society continues to expand its network of local branches and, through our good relationship with the Bulgarian Health Insurance Fund, we are able to provide a number of free services for people with MS. The Society also works in partnership with the Dutch Embassy and the Open Society Foundation.

Despite the difficulties, my fight continues …2008 …2009 ….. who knows? One thing is for certain, I will not give up!

Last updated: Tue, 01 Apr 2008 11:54:03 GMT


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