Welcome! This blog contains research, information on lifestyle, nutrition, dietary supplements and health for those with MS, as well as continuing information on the understanding of CCSVI and cerebral hypoperfusion. This blog is informative only--all medical decisions should be discussed with your own physicians.

The posts are searchable---simply type in your topic of interest in the search box at the top left.

Almost all of MS research is initiated and funded by pharmaceutical companies. This maintains the EAE mouse model and the immune paradigm of MS, and continues the 15 billion dollar a year MS treatment industry. But as we learn more about slowed blood flow, gray matter atrophy, and environmental links to MS progression and disability--all things the current drugs do not address--we're discovering more about how to help those with MS.

To learn how this journey began, read my first post from August, 2009. Be well! Joan

Saturday, September 13, 2014

ECTRIMS 2014--$20 Billion reasons

If you ever want to understand why there is no research into the cause, or "disease etiology" of MS, all you need to know is contained in this story from the business news in Boston.

The are $20 billion reasons why research has abandoned ship.

More than 8,000 people are expected to attend MSBoston2014, opening Wednesday at the John Hynes Convention Center. The event, considered the premier international MS gathering this year, is hosted jointly by the American and European Committees for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, which alternate meetings between Europe and North America (ECTRIMS)

“Things have gotten dramatically better,” said Lori Espino, president of the Greater New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “There are so many options out there for patients, and they slow the progression of the disease. It’s all about creating hope for people.”

Worldwide sales of MS drugs totaled more than $16 billion last year and are projected to top $20 billion within the next two to three years, with MS pills accounting for about half of the sales, said Eric Schmidt, biotech analyst at investment bank Cowen & Co. in New York.
“MS is one of our core areas,” said EMD Serono’s chief medical officer Thorsten Eickenhorst. “We have research activities ongoing and products in our clinical pipeline.”

Dear ECTRIMS participants----

Many of us have already abandoned the Good Ship Lollypop (sponsored by Biogen!), and have decided to find our own answers, outside of the theory of EAE/autoimmunity which has never been proven. According to independent university and governmental agency research--your treatments may modulate immune response, but they don't stop MS disease progression. 

Here is neurologist Dr. George Ebers discussing long term outcomes with MS medications.  None of the drugs are proven to alter progression.  He would say that you are not telling the truth to people with MS.

That is why we are charting our own course.  We are looking at the evidence given to us by stroke, vascular and imaging experts, like members of the ISNVD--those who are finding connections to cerebral blood flow, perfusion, gray matter atrophy, and neuronal loss.  
We are listening to doctors who actually have MS--like Dr. Terry Wahls and Dr. George Jelinek--groups who are funding real research and have found solutions in nutrition, lifestyle modification, exercise and UV therapy.  We are finding relief in dealing with slowed venous return; through venoplasty, chiropractic care and endothelial health.
You can have the high seas of "anxious hope" and 20 billion dollar sales----we prefer to walk, with our feet firmly planted in reality.  We're hoping to find others to join us.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

MS "breakthrough" research--On/Off Switch!!!

I am sick and tired of reading news stories about some "new MS breakthrough" which uses the EAE mouse model of MS and describes MS as an autoimmune disease.  It is as though the immunology research community believes that if they just keep acting like they are busy discovering things (where they have been looking for 70 years and finding nothing about disease etiology) they can keep getting funding for their labs, and keep people with MS thinking there is momentum.

The latest in a sea of sameness is the Bristol University crap about an "on/off switch" for the immune response to MS.

Here's the full paper, published in Nature---for those who like to read published research, rather than press releases full of hyperbole and BS.


In reading the paper, we learn that this new "breakthrough" is remarkebly reminiscent of Copaxone treatment, in which killer T cells are said to be modulated to helpful T cells by means of exposing them to an antigen (in Copaxone's case, that's a mimic of the proteins found in myelin basic protein---glatiramer acetate.)  This particular "new breakthrough hope"  therapy is going after CD4+ T cells, using injected peptide epitopes, rather than intact antigens--which are said to be "more effective."

Again, all of the testing was done on the mouse model, EAE.  Not humans with MS.

As reviewed elsewhere23, 45, peptide epitopes targeting ​CD4+ T cells have distinct advantages over intact antigens, and yet the mechanism by which peptide therapy prevents and treats ongoing autoimmune and allergic diseases is poorly defined. Mucosal routes of administration have proven safe and effective in animal models of allergy and autoimmunity, but have not translated well to the clinic. Here we demonstrate that the s.c. route of administration is more effective than the i.n. route, with a 1,000-fold lower dose of antigen being effective for anergy induction when compared with previous studies17, 18. As noted17, the efficacy of tolerance induction and disease prevention depends on signal strength. In this study, all aspects of inflammatory T-cell function, including proliferation, inflammatory cytokine secretion and encephalitogenicity were suppressed, whereas the ability of cells to secrete ​IL-10 and suppress EAE increased in a dose-dependent manner. ​IL-10 clearly serves as a promising mediator of effective antigen-specific immunotherapy1, 12.

But muting or changing the inflammatory response of CD4 + T Cells isn't really explaining why they are there in the first place, or how come this exact same cellular response shows up in ischemic stroke, slowed cerebral blood flow and reperfusion injury in humans.

That's right!!  CD4+ T cells show up after stroke, ischemia, and reperfusion injury.  These cells are responding to slowed blood flow in the brain, or hypoperfusion.

Here are stroke and vascular researchers discussing CD4+ T cells and the immune reaction to stroke and vascular issues in published research.  Perhaps we should let them know that stroke or reperfusion injury is an autoimmune disease that can be turned on or off!

For instance, lymphocytes from stroke survivors show more activity against myelin than the lymphocytes from patients with multiple sclerosis. In addition, myelin-reactive T cells are found in higher numbers among patients with cerebrovascular disease. These data thus provide evidence that a cellular immune response to brain antigens occurs following stroke.

These findings indicate that CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, but not B lymphocytes, contribute to the inflammatory and thrombogenic responses, brain injury, and neurological deficit associated with experimental stroke

These findings implicate a CD4+ subset of T lymphocytes as key mediators of early inflammatory responses after renal  ischemic reperfusion  injury. 


I have a novel suggestion for researchers---why not look at the connection of MS to stroke, the vascular endothelium, CCSVI and reperfusion injury?  Why not understand this cellular response in non "auto-immune" diseases?

Now that would be a REAL breakthrough,

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Understanding Endothelial Dysfunction--learning from Ebola crisis

The horrific outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa is causing researchers and physicians around the globe to ask what can be done to slow the death rates in this vulnerable population.

A recent piece in the New York Times, titled "Can Statins Help Treat Ebola?"  is authored by Dr. David S. Fedson, a retired professor of medicine at the University of Virginia.  Dr. Fedson writes about the current crisis of the Ebola epidemic and the short supply of life-saving drugs.  He suggests that there are other treatments, aside from experimental and expensive drugs, that have already been tested in humans, are readily available and can modify the body's response to the virus.

How would these drugs help?  They target endothelial dysfunction.

More than a decade ago, clinicians noted striking similarities between patients with Ebola and those with bacterial sepsis. Both diseases involve severe dysfunction of the endothelial cells that line blood vessels throughout the body. This dysfunction in turn precipitates major abnormalities in blood coagulation. Both can eventually lead to the failure of internal organs, primarily the liver and kidneys, and organ failure often leads to death. 

Researchers have since discovered that abnormalities of endothelial function and coagulation can be modified or reversed by treatment with drugs such as statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs), which were developed to treat patients with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. 

Dr. Fedson suggests that strengthening the endothelium with cardiovascular drugs may be the key to stopping organ failure and saving lives in the Ebola outbreak.

These very same statins have been suggested as a treatment for secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, as they reduced brain atrophy (from 0.6% to 0.3% per year) in pwMS when compared to placebo.  MS doctors are more accepting of a pill, rather than life-style modification, when treating disease, as a pill can be placebo-controlled and trialled.  And they most certainly never explain why cardiovascular treatments might slow brain atrophy.  But as we have all learned, it's because of blood flow to the brain.

In fact, all of the above mentioned cardiovascular drug treatments are now being tested in people with MS, to slow down neurodegeneration and brain atrophy; death of brain tissue due to endothelial dysfunction.  These drugs are not immune modulating---rather, they address blood flow, endothelial function and coagulation.  Here's more on the new medications being tested in MS.

What can those with a chronic and progressive disease like MS take away from this deadly Ebola outbreak?   There is a vascular connection to this terrible disease, as there is a vascular connection to MS.  A strong endothelium is the body's best defense.  Keeping the blood vessel lining healthy and impermeable is the surest way to maintain cerebral circulation for those with MS.   Endothelial health will slow brain atrophy and may even reverse it.

But you don't need a statin.  There is much that can be done with lifestyle, nutrition, and exercise.

Here's to more healing ahead!