Straight from Philly: American Academy of Neurology Meeting News
American Academy of Neurology meeting in Philadelphia just wrapped up. Here’s some new information presented at the meeting.
1. Estriol, a pregnancy hormone, was studied in addition to Copaxone. During the last trimester of pregnancy, estriol levels increase and relapses decrease. In a double-blind trial of 164 multiple sclerosis patients, relapses decreased 47% over one year on estriol and Copaxone compared to placebo and Copaxone (p=0.0326). However, relapses dropped only 32% at 2 years which was not statistically significant (p=0.015). No significant impact on MRI imaging was seen at 2 years.
2. Alfacalcidol, synthetic compound with similarities to Vitamin D, reduced fatigue compared to placebo in a study of 158 MS patients. More patients on Alfacalcidol remained relapse-free.
3. B cells are a type of lymphocyte (white blood cell) that play a role in MS disease. Data was presented on ofatumumab injected under the skin. This antibody therapy knocks out B cells by attached to a B-cell marker CD20. Significant impacts were seen on MRI activity based on doses studied. Risks included injection-related reactions, low potassium and one patient had a cytokine release syndrome.
4. The gut plays an important role in the body’s immune system. Researchers found that MS patients have a higher levels of methnobrevibacter in stool samples. This bowel bug is not a bacteria, but considered an archaea. Methane breathing test might eventually be useful in multiple sclerosis.
5. Melatonin can help with sleep, but what about a role in MS? High relapse rates are associated with low melatonin levels in urine. Melatonin may have positive effects on immune cells (IL-17 cells) by making them less inflammatory.
6. Men with MS: How’s your testosterone level? 40% of men are deficient in a study of multiple sclerosis patients, early in the disease course.
BY: Barry Singer, MD DATE: May 7, 2014 TOPIC: MS Research News