Current Treatments
BETASERON® (interferon beta-1b) is indicated for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis to reduce the frequency of clinical exacerbations. Patients with multiple sclerosis in whom efficacy has been demonstrated include patients who have experienced a first clinical episode and have MRI features consistent with multiple sclerosis

AVONEX® (Interferon beta-1a) is a 166 amino acid glycoprotein with a predicted molecular weight of approximately 22,500 daltons. It is produced by recombinant DNA technology using genetically engineered Chinese Hamster Ovary cells into which the human interferon beta gene has been introduced. The amino acid sequence of AVONEX® is identical to that of natural human interferon beta.

COPAXONE is the brand name for glatiramer acetate (formerly known as copolymer-1). Glatiramer acetate, the active ingredient of COPAXONE, consists of the acetate salts of synthetic polypeptides, containing four naturally occurring amino acids: L-glutamic acid, L-alanine, L-tyrosine, and L-lysine with an average molar fraction of 0.141, 0.427, 0.095, and 0.338, respectively. The average molecular weight of glatiramer acetate is 5,000 – 9,000 daltons. Glatiramer acetate is identified by specific antibodies.

Rebif® (interferon beta-1a) is a purified 166 amino acid glycoprotein with a molecular weight of approximately 22,500 daltons. It is produced by recombinant DNA technology using genetically engineered Chinese Hamster Ovary cells into which the human interferon beta gene has been introduced. The amino acid sequence of Rebif® is identical to that of natural fibroblast derived human interferon beta. Natural interferon beta and interferon beta-1a (Rebif®) are glycosylated with each containing a single N-linked complex carbohydrate moiety.

Tysabri is a monoclonal antibody that affects the actions of the body's immune system. Monoclonal antibodies are made to target and destroy only certain cells in the body. This may help to protect healthy cells from damage. Tysabri is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.
Gilenya™ is a new class of medication called a phingosine 1-phosphate receptormodulator, which is thought to act by retaining certain white blood cells (lympohcytes) in the lymph nodes, thereby preventing those cells from crossing the blood-brain barrier into the central nervous system (CNS). Preventing the entry of these cells into the CNS reduces inflammatory damage to nerve cells.

Early Symptoms
The most common early symptoms of MS include:
* Tingling * Numbness
* Loss of balance
* Weakness in one or more limbs
* Blurred or double vision

Less common symptoms of MS may include
* Slurred speech
* Sudden onset of paralysis
* Lack of coordination
* Cognitive difficulties
Listed above, the early symptoms. I tend to be a poster child for these. The symptoms that occur later on are too numerous just to list. There will be a link included that will get you to a site where these symptoms are listed and explained. Keep in mind that someone may have some of these or many of these, there is no way to tell.
Multiple sclerosis statistics show that approximately 250,000 to 350,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with this disease. The life expectancy for people with multiple sclerosis is nearly the same as for those without MS. Because of this, multiple sclerosis statistics place the annual cost of MS in the United States in the billions of dollars. MS is five times more prevalent in temperate climates -- such as those found in the northern United States, Canada, and Europe -- than in tropical regions. Furthermore, the age of 15 seems to be significant in terms of risk for developing the disease. Some studies indicate that a person moving from a high-risk (temperate) to a low-risk (tropical) area before the age of 15 tends to adopt the risk (in this case, low) of the new area and vice versa. Other studies suggest that people moving after age 15 maintain the risk of the area where they grew up.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Federal Focus-September 2013

Urge Your Members of Congress to Attend a Briefing on Medical Research and Progressive MS
Next Thursday, September 12, the National MS Society in partnership with the Congressional MS Caucus is hosting a briefing on Capitol Hill to educate members of Congress and their staff about why more medical research is needed—especially for progressive MS. Email your members of Congress today to urge them or their staff to attend this important briefing!
Research is moving us closer to a world free of MS. In the past 20 years, the first drugs to slow the progression of some types of MS were brought to market. However, the most progressive forms of the disease have no approved treatments and there is still no cure for any course of the disease. Speakers will discuss how the Society often acts as a co-financer of important National Institutes of Health research initiatives, promising research happening now and the need for maintained research funding to help those with progressive MS and one day, deliver a cure.
In an era of tough budget times, it’s vital that members of Congress know that continued research funding is incredibly important to people affected by MS. Click here to email your members of Congress and urge them or their staff to attend this educational briefing.
Educate Yourself About Health Care Options
Starting in October, most people who do not already have health insurance will be able to sign up for coverage that takes effect in January 2014. People who already have health coverage can keep what they have. To learn about your options, we urge you to read information posted here.
There are fact sheets for people in different situations—for instance, those who have job-based coverage, who rely on Medicare, or buy their own coverage. Another fact sheet in the series is “Help for People with High Medical Expenses.” There are several exciting changes that the Society advocated for through health care reform including tax credits for some individuals, families and small businesses to make coverage more affordable. Also, insurers will no longer be able to deny coverage or charge more because of a pre-existing condition like MS.
Information is power and we urge you to start educating yourself to learn how health care reform will impact you. If you have questions, a 24 hour toll free phone line and online chat support are available now.
Society Submits Testimony to the Long-term Care Commission
Several months ago, Congress established a bipartisan Long-term Care Commission that is supposed to develop policy recommendations to strengthen long-term services and supports (LTSS) in our country. The Commission held four public meetings to hear how LTSS are currently provided through public programs like Medicaid and Medicare and through private long-term care insurance, about the different populations who need LTSS and issues to consider when trying to strengthen the LTSS workforce.
To help educate the Long-term Care Commission about the LTSS needs of people with MS, the Society submitted this testimony. Approximately 20-25% of individuals with MS need long-term care (LTC) services and approximately 5-10% will require residential care. The testimony discusses how MS impacts the whole family; supports helpful to keep people at home for as long as possible including support for family caregivers and adult day centers that specialize in the MS population; and the need for more nursing homes that can support a younger disabled population.
The Long-term Care Commission is expected to finish its report for Congress in mid-September. It is unclear at this point what next steps will be, but the Society will continue to advocate for more flexible, affordable LTSS options for people with MS. Many of you have signed a petition that we’ve been promoting. Once we reach 10,000 signatures, we will deliver the petition to Congress to urge them to reform LTSS in our country. If you haven’t already, sign the petition today!

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About Me

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North Grafton, Massachusetts, United States
Well-educated, disabled at this point with Multiple Sclerosis. I am very glad that I was able to do the things that I have been able to do over the years. had to change the picture, this one's more realistic.