If you have multiple sclerosis, then you understand how difficult it can be to deal with the symptoms. Your current treatments might not be giving you the relief and results you hope for. There is good news, however. Advancements in multiple sclerosis treatments can make dealing with the disease a little easier.
What is Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a disease of the central nervous system. It can act in unpredictable ways. It disrupts the flow of information that comes from the brain to the body and within the brain itself. While the cause of MS is still unknown, it is believed that it is triggered by an environmental factor in those who are already genetically predisposed to respond to this factor.
Types of Multiple Sclerosis
There are four different types of MS, each of which varies in the way it affects those with the disease:
- Relapsing Remitting MS is the most common form of the disease. Roughly 85% of those diagnosed will have this type of MS. This form of MS is accompanied by flare-ups and relapses when new symptoms present themselves. People with this form of MS will eventually see their disease progress to secondary progressive MS after a period of 10 to 20 years.
- Secondary Progressive MS is a form of the disease in which symptoms worsen steadily over time, regardless of whether or not there are periods of remission and relapse. Worsening symptoms vary from person to person, but they respond to treatment. However, a person may not physically function as well as the once did, even with treatment.
- Primary Progressive MS accounts for only 10% of the cases of MS diagnosed. With primary progressive MS, a person experiences symptoms that gradually worsen over time with no periods of remission or relapse.
- Progressive Relapsing MS is the rarest form of MS with only 5% being diagnosed with this type. Symptoms include a steady worsening of the disease from the very beginning with no remissions, just acute relapses.
Multiple Sclerosis News: Treatments and Drugs Making Great Strides
The good news is that a lot of progress has been made with regard to multiple sclerosis treatment options. A new multiple sclerosis drug called Ocrelizumab has been tested and seems to offer promising results to patients. The drug, which is going through an approval process for use in the U.S. and Europe, seems to slow down the damage that MS causes to the brain in at least in two types of MS: the primary progressive and relapsing-remitting forms.
The drug destroys B cells, which are part of the immune system. These B cells attack the myelin sheath or protective coating that is wrapped around the nerves. Those patients in the study on the drug had less brain loss and it took them less time to walk 25 feet. While the drug is still undergoing an approval process for the European Medicines Agency and the USFDA, doctors caution that there is always a risk of side effects, including a weakened immune system which increases risk of infection and cancer. there are side-effects that one needs to be aware of
This drug isn’t the only new hope for MS patients, as there have been several major recent milestones in the treatment of MS including:
- A pill for epilepsy that may slow down the accumulation of disability in MS patients
- A study that is researching the role of MS progression and gut bacteria
- Studies using bone marrow-derived stem cells to fight relapsing and aggressive forms of MS
- New studies on how a person’s genes can make some people more susceptible to developing MS
- Studies looking to dietary approaches to help treat multiple sclerosis symptoms.
While new treatments and a cure can’t come fast enough for those who suffer from MS, there are new options and studies on the horizon that will help improve a patient’s quality of life and that’s a good start.
What are your thoughts on the latest advancements in MS? Let us know in the comments below.