Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Yale Researchers Find New Trigger For Autoimmune Diseases

Yale Researchers Find New Trigger For Autoimmune Diseases
Medical News Today Tue, 29 Jul 2008 3:11 AM PDT
Yale University researchers have discovered a new way that autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS) can be triggered, they reported Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Scientists have long known the molecule TGF-Beta (transforming growth factor Beta) plays a pivotal role in preventing T cells from launching an attack on the body's own tissues.

Successes, failures shape a candidate
Columbia Daily Tribune - Columbia,MO,USA
He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2003 and eventually saw his deductible on his prescriptions jump precipitously. He noted a similar program in ...
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The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Multiple Sclerosis
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from Julie Stachowiak, Ph.D.
I kind of feel like this newsletter is a little more "instructive" and maybe not as supportive as I would like to be. However, I had these specific things on my mind and thought some of this information might come in handy - especially after talking to a friend that just found out about a "blessed surprise" (aka unplanned pregnancy), due to taking antibiotics while she was relying on birth control pills. It's very important for those of us on certain meds to plan our pregnancies in a way that does not expose our babies to medications that might be dangerous to them.
On a different note, I also hope to give some of you a measure of comfort with my relapse checklist, and also give you my sympathies (and encouragement) if your friends are letting you know how poorly you seem to be doing in the heat. Take care of yourselves.

Some Medications Interfere with Birth Control

It is especially important to carefully research every drug, herbal supplement and over-the-counter medication that you might take if you are using hormonally based contraception. While your first thoughts may be about the birth control pill, this also includes patches, rings, implants, injections and intrauterine devices (IUDs). As it turns out, many drugs make these contraception methods less effective, which could lead to unwanted pregnancies. Read the full article: Some Medications Interfere with Birth Control

How Do I Know If I'm Having a Relapse?

With all of the MS-related heat intolerance that we are all suffering through, it is pretty hard to tell if we are in the middle of a relapse, or just out of whack because of the weather. Hopefully, this list will help you figure out what is going on. Of course, the only way to really know is to get an MRI... Read the full article: How Do I Know If I'm Having a Relapse?

Ask Your Friends

It is never really pleasant when somebody mentions that you seem "off" in some way. There are some people that bring it up out of genuine concern, while others seem to get a teeny bit of pleasure when they point out your trembling hands, word-finding difficulties or slow movements.

Whatever the intention or delivery, it is important to know what is going on with our symptoms. Because we may be so busy trying to carry on "business as usual" we may not realize that we have gotten worse in some way. Encourage those around you to be honest, even if it is not what you want to hear. It may be something as easily solved as moving inside to cooler temperatures or taking a nap.

Read the full article: Ask Your Friends

Acorda Therapeutics Presents Positive Data from Preclinical ...
MarketWatch - USA
Acorda's lead clinical product, Fampridine-SR, recently completed a second Phase 3 clinical trial to evaluate its safety and efficacy in improving walking ...
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The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.


Dr. Murray

Professor Emeritus of Medicine (Neurology)
View BIO

Q :
While I was trying to connect to the internet through the MSN site, there was a headline showing the top 10 most dangerous drugs in the states printed by the FDA. Interferon beta was #8 on that list. Is this really true?

A :
It would be surprising to see interferon beta on a list of dangerous drugs as it has been remarkably safe in the many years since its introduction to the therapy of MS, with hundreds of thousands of patients treated long term.
To those who made such a list I would immediately require an answer to the question, "What dangers, and what serious or fatal reactions have occurred?" There should be some documentation to such a statement, especially as it might cause some patients who would benefit from this very safe medication to avoid taking it when they would benefit in the short and long term for their disease. It wouldn't be a big concern if it was just an erroneous statement, which it is, but it has the potential to harm patients, so it is irresponsible.
In the reports on interferon beta, whether the carefully followed thousands of patients in clinical trials, or the hundreds of thousands of patients who have been on the drugs for years, there is only one that I know of that raised concerns for liver involvement and that was controversial as the patient was taking other drugs at the same time that were known to affect the liver. What other cases could they be referring to?
It would be interesting to know the website carrying this list as it deserves a response, in the interest of good patient care.
7/30/2008 8:56:42 AM
More answers from Dr. Jock Murray
More answers in the category: Treatment

Biogen hopes to hit $4 billion revenue mark for 2008
Pharma Times (subscription) - London,UK
Biogen Idec has posted a strong set of financials for the second quarter which saw sales of the multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri soar. ...
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Elan shares fall over Alzheimer's drug results
The Associated Press -
But the company said last week it is within a year of returning to profit thanks to the success of Tysabri, an MS drug developed in alliance with US ...
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Wheel to Walk group on quest to repair spinal cord injuries
Elliot Lake Standard - Elliot Lake,Ontario,Canada
Two researchers at McMaster University, doctors Michel Rathbone and Shucui Jiang head up the team. While some researchers in other countries were looking ...
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Researchers herald breakthrough data on Alzheimer's

By John Carroll

TauRx Therapeutics captured the center ring of attention at an international Alzheimer's meeting with new data for remberTM that demonstrates a dramatic ability to slow cognitive decline. Researchers say that remberTM slowed cognitive decline in 81 percent of the patients taking the drug, the first therapy to target the tau protein. And scientists at Aberdeen University in Scotland say that remberTM may well slow the brain's deterioration.

"This is an unprecedented result in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease," said Professor Claude Wischik. "We have demonstrated for the first time that it may be possible to arrest progression of the disease by targeting the tangles which are highly correlated with the disease."

Alzheimer's has proven to be one of the toughest diseases for developers to crack. On Monday Myriad Genetics announced that it would give up on Flurizan after it failed in a late-stage trial. Myriad spent $60 million on its effort to find a new therapy to treat Alzheimer's and will shell out an additional $8 million just shutting the program down. Flurizan was designed to reduce plaque, but patients in the trial did not demonstrate any improvement in cognition or daily activities when compared to a group taking a placebo.

- check out the release
- read the article from the Guardian
- for more on Myriad read this story from Forbes

ALSO: Elan and Wyeth, meanwhile, presented a full set of mid-stage data for their amyloid-clearing therapy bapineuzumab , saying that the data justified their decision to pursue advanced studies. But the Wall Street Journal says that experts may be underwhelmed by the data displayed at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Chicago. Shares of Elan slid on the news. Release | Report

Related Articles:
Alzheimer's vax eliminated plaque, not dementia
Big pharma sees big payback for Alzheimer's research
Genetic engineering ‘vacuums' Alzheimer plaque
Alzheimer's drug results boost Elan, Wyeth

Read more about: Alzheimer's, TauRx Therapeutics, RemberTM

Aging Hinders Memory Storage During Sleep Study in rats suggests brain needs 'experience replay' during slumber

By Robert Preidt
Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.TUESDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) -- Aging hinders the consolidation of memories during sleep, a process that's crucial for the conversion of fresh memories into long-term ones, say University of Arizona researchers.

The researchers recorded activity in the hippocampus -- a brain region involved in learning and memory -- in 11 young and 11 old rats as they navigated mazes for food rewards. The rats' hippocampal activity was recorded again when they slept.

In the young rats, the sequence of neural activity recorded while they navigated the mazes was repeated while they slept. This was not the case in most of the older rats.

The researchers also found that among both young and old rats, those with the best sleep replay performed the best in their age groups on spatial memory tasks.

"This is the first study to suggest that an animal's ability to perform a spatial memory task may be related to the brain's ability to perform memory consolidation during sleep," study author Carol Barnes said in a Society for Neuroscience news release.

The study is in the July 30 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

"These findings suggest that some of the memory impairment experienced during aging could involve a reduction in the automatic process of experience replay," Michael Hasselmo, of Boston University, said in a Society for Neuroscience news release.

Identifying the specific memory deficit in the brains of older adults may be the first step to preventing age-related memory loss, he said.

"This study's findings could inspire the development and testing of pharmacological agents designed to enhance memory replay phenomena," Hasselmo said.

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