Stay Positive

"In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." - Alert Camus

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Andean Flamingos versus ABT Dancers







Who's your favorite in our Audubon vs.
Andean Flamingos or dancers? 






Monday, June 27, 2016

The Impoverishment of Attention




“While the link between attention and excellence remains hidden most of the time, it ripples through almost everything we seek to accomplish.”
***
Focus matters enormously for success in life and yet we seem to give it little attention.
Daniel Goleman‘s book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, explores the power of attention. “Attention works much like a muscle,” he writes, “use it poorly and it can wither; work it well and it grows.”
To get the results we want in life, Goleman argues we need three kinds of focus: inner, other, and outer.
Inner focus attunes us to our intuitions, guiding values, and better decisions. Other focus smooths our connections to the people in our lives. And outer focus lets us navigate in the larger world. A (person) tuned out of his internal world will be rudderless; one blind to the world of others will be clueless; those indifferent to the larger systems within which they operate will be blindsided.
How we deploy attention shapes what we see. Or as Yoda says, “Your focus is your reality.”
Goleman argues that, despite the advantages of everything being only a click away, our attention span is suffering.
An eighth-grade teacher tells me that for many years she has had successive classes of students read the same book, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. Her students have loved it— until five years or so ago. “I started to see kids not so excited— even high-achieving groups could not get engaged with it,” she told me. “They say the reading is too hard; the sentences are too complicated; it takes a long time to read a page.”
She wonders if perhaps her students’ ability to read has been somehow compromised by the short, choppy messages they get in texts. One student confessed he’d spent two thousand hours in the last year playing video games. She adds, “It’s hard to teach comma rules when you are competing with World of War Craft.”
Here is a telling story. I was in a coffee shop just the other day and I noticed that when two people were having a conversation they couldn’t go more than a few minutes without picking up their phone. Our inability to resist checking email, Facebook, and Twitter rather than focus on the here and now leads to a real life out-of-office. Sociologist Erving Goffman, calls this “away,” which tells other people “I’m not interested” in you right now.
We continually fight distractions. From televisions on during supper, text messages, emails, phone calls … you get the picture. This is one reason I’ve changed my media consumption habits.
It feels like we’re going through life in a state of “continuous partial attention.” We’re there but not really there. Unaware of where we place our attention. Unconscious about how we live.
I once worked with the CEO of a private organization. We often discussed board meetings, agendas, and other areas of time allocation. I sensed a disconnect between where he wanted to spend his time and what he actually spent time on.
To verify, I went back over the last year of board meetings and categorized each scheduled agenda item. I found a substantial mismatch; he was spending a great deal of time on issues he thought were not important. In fact, the ‘scheduled time’ was almost the complete inverse of what he wanted to focus on.
Goleman also points to some of the implications of our modern world.
The onslaught of incoming data leads to sloppy shortcuts, like triaging email by heading, skipping much of voice mails, skimming messages and memos. It’s not just that we’ve developed habits of attention that make us less effective, but that the weight of messages leaves us too little time simply to reflect on what they really mean.
In 1977, foreseeing what was going to happen, the Nobel-winning economist Herbert Simon wrote:
What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.
William James, a pioneer of modern psychology, defined attention as “the sudden taking possession by the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one of what seems several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought.”
We naturally focus when we’re lost. Imagine for a second the last time you were driving in your car without your GPS and you got lost. Think back to the first thing you did in response. I bet you turned off the radio so you could increase your focus.
Goleman, paraphrasing research, argues there are two main varieties of distractions: sensory and emotional.
The sensory distractors are easy: as you read these words you’re tuning out (our sponsor and all of the text on the right). Or notice for a moment the feeling of your tongue against your upper palate—just one of an endless wave of incoming stimuli your brain weeds out from the continuous wash of background sounds, shapes and colors, tastes, smells, sensations, and on and on.
More daunting is the second variety of lures: emotionally loaded signals. While you might find it easy to concentrate on answering your email in the hubbub of your local coffee shop, if you should overhear someone mention your name (potent emotional bait, that) it’s almost impossible to tune out the voice that carries it— your attention reflexively alerts to hear what’s being said about you. Forget that email. The dividing line between fruitless rumination and productive reflection lies in whether or not we come up with some tentative solution or insight and then can let those distressing thoughts go—or if, on the other hand, we just keep obsessing over the same loop of worry.
The more our focus gets disrupted, the worse we do.
To focus we must tune out emotional distractions. But not at all costs. The power to disengage focus is also important.
That means those who focus best are relatively immune to emotional turbulence, more able to stay unflappable in a crisis and to keep on an even keel despite life’s emotional waves.
Failure to drop one focus and move on to others can, for example, leave the mind lost in repeating loops of chronic anxiety. At clinical extremes it means being lost in helplessness, hopelessness, and self-pity in depression; or panic and catastrophizing in anxiety disorders; or countless repetitions of ritualistic thoughts or acts (touch the door fifty times before leaving) in obsessive-compulsive disorder. The power to disengage our attention from one thing and move it to another is essential for well-being.
We’ve all seen what a strong selective focus looks like. It’s the couple in the coffee shop mentioned above, eyes locked, who fail to realize they are not alone.
It should come as no surprise that we learn best with focused attention.
As we focus on what we are learning, the brain maps that information on what we already know, making new neural connections. If you and a small toddler share attention toward something as you name it, the toddler learns that name; if her focus wanders as you say it, she won’t.
When our mind wanders off, our brain activates a host of brain circuits that chatter about things that have nothing to do with what we’re trying to learn. Lacking focus, we store no crisp memory of what we’re learning.
Goleman goes on to discuss how we connect what we read to our mental models, which is the heart of learning.
As we read a book, a blog, or any narrative, our mind constructs a mental model that lets us make sense of what we are reading and connects it to the universe of such models we already hold that bear on the same topic.
If we can’t focus we’ll have more holes in our understanding. (To find holes in your understanding, try the Feynman Technique, which was actually an invention of George Eliot’s but I’ll save that for another day.)
When we read a book, our brain constructs a network of pathways that embodies that set of ideas and experiences. Contrast that deep comprehension with the interruptions and distractions that typify the ever-seductive Internet.
The continuous onslaught of texts, meetings, videos, music, email, Twitter, Facebook, and more is the enemy of understanding. The key, argues Nicolas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, is “deep reading.” And the internet is making this nearly impossible.
There is, however, perhaps no skill better than deep and focused thought. The more information that’s out there,” says Tyler Cowen, author of Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation, “the greater the returns to just being willing to sit down and apply yourself. Information isn’t what’s scarce; it’s the willingness to do something with it.”
Deep thought must be learned. In order to do that, however, we must tune out most of the distractions and focus.
Goleman reminds us that some of this too was foreseen.
Way back in the 1950s the philosopher Martin Heidegger warned against a looming “tide of technological revolution” that might “so captivate, bewitch, dazzle, and beguile man that calculative thinking may someday come to be … the only way of thinking.” That would come at the loss of “meditative thinking,” a mode of reflection he saw as the essence of our humanity.
I hear Heidegger’s warning in terms of the erosion of an ability at the core of reflection, the capacity to sustain attention to an ongoing narrative. Deep thinking demands sustaining a focused mind. The more distracted we are, the more shallow our reflections; likewise, the shorter our reflections, the more trivial they are likely to be. Heidegger, were he alive today, would be horrified if asked to tweet.
The rest of Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence goes on to narrow in on “the elusive and under-appreciated mental faculty in the mind’s operations” known as attention and its role in living “a fulfilling life.”

Link: https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2014/01/the-impoverishment-of-attention/


 
    
 


Columbia River M21-12 Carson Design Combo Edge 3" Blade Aluminum

 
  Columbia River M21-12 Carson Design Combo Edge 3 inch Blade Aluminum

Columbia River M21-12 Carson Design Combo Edge 3" Blade Aluminum

Customer Reviews 4.500 Read 2 reviewsWrite a Review
Part Number: CRM2112
Manufacturer: Columbia River (CRKT)



These new swedged and recurved blade are ground to a spear point shape, using premium AUS 8 stainless steel in non-reflective frost finish to offer superior edge retention. The grind incorporates a false top edge and deep belly, yet retains a full width central spine for most of its width for maximum strength.
Teflon bearings at the blade pivot assure velvety smooth one hand opening and closing, using Kit Carson's trademark dual checkered thumb studs which also act as a blade stop.
The M21 feature the very popular "Carson Flipper" blade extension, which aids opening and acts as an additional blade guard.
Kit Carson's open build uses contoured handles of 6061 T6 aluminum, hard anodized charcoal gray. They are CNC machined with a perimeter radius for a comfortable grip with or without work gloves, skeletonized to reduce weight. There is a single stainless steel locking liner with friction grooves for positive locking.
Columbia River has also incorporated the patented Lake And Walker Knife Safety (LAWKS®) into the M21 models, which converts them into virtual fixed blades when engaged.
Every model features a removable Teflon plated stainless steel pocket clip.
Carson M21
M2112: Combined Razor-Sharp & Triple-Point Serrated Cutting Edge
Blade: Overall length: 3.12" (7.9 cm)
Cutting edge: 3.00" (7.6 cm)
Thickness: 0.12" (0.30 cm)
Steel: AUS 8, 57-58 HRC
Handle: Closed length: 4.25" (10.8 cm)
Weight: 3.3 oz. (94 g)







Friday, June 24, 2016

Practical Neurology

Current issue

June 2016
Volume 16
Issue 3
The essential point of Practical Neurology is that it is practical in the sense of being useful for everyone who sees neurological patients and who wants to keep up to date, and safe, in managing them. In other words this is a journal for jobbing neurologists who plough through the tension headaches and funny turns week in and week out.

Practical Neurology is included as part of a subscription to JNNP and provided in print to all members of the Association of British Neurologists


 Link: http://pn.bmj.com/


 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Pamela Anderson



 








Vitamin D and remyelination in multiple sclerosis.



Vitamin D and remyelination in multiple sclerosis.

Matías-Guíu J, et al. Neurologia. 2016.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Several studies have found an association between multiple sclerosis and vitamin D (VD) deficiency, which suggests that VD may play a role in the immune response. However, few studies have addressed its role in remyelination.

DEVELOPMENT: The VD receptor and the enzymes transforming VD into metabolites which activate the VD receptor are expressed in central nervous system (CNS) cells, which suggests a potential effect of VD on the CNS. 

Both in vitro and animal model studies have shown that VD may play a role in myelination by acting on factors that influence the microenvironment which promotes both proliferation and differentiation of neural stem cells into oligodendrocyte progenitor cells and oligodendrocytes. 

It remains unknown whether the mechanisms of internalisation of VD in the CNS are synergistic with or antagonistic to the mechanisms that facilitate the entry of VD metabolites into immune cells.

CONCLUSIONS: VD seems to play a role in the CNS and our hypothesis is that VD is involved in remyelination. 

Understanding the basic mechanisms of VD in myelination is necessary to manage multiple sclerosis patients with VD deficiency.




Copyright © 2016 Sociedad Española de Neurología. Published by Elsevier España, S.L.U. All rights reserved.

PMID

27321170 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Full text



Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/27321170/?i=3&from=multiple%20sclerosis#fft



Time Matters In Multiple Sclerosis


Jun 3
Download the report referenced in the 'Concept of NEDA' symposium at :



015



Photo published for Pledge your support for the MS Brain Health campaign






Name Your M.S.


Jun 18

PPMS & SPMS are believed by some neurologists to be same thing.
We're just bad at spotting inflammation.


Dr Melanie Hopper

@MellyHopper

Scientist, blogger, MSer, with interests in disability rights, scientific advances and lifestyle interventions - mindfulness, diet & exercise




@PracticalNeurol
Practical Neurology - For the inquisitive neurologist. Published by the BMJ group and owned by the ABN.


Amy Bowen

@amy_mstrust

Director of Service Development at the MS Trust. Nurse by background.
Joined August 2014

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation for Chronic pain - Part 1 of 5


 






Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation for Chronic pain - Part 1 of 5


8,759 views



Published on Oct 3, 2013
This
webinar series will provide an introduction to Mindfulness Based Stress
Reduction (MBSR) practice and it's influence on chronic pain.

Part
1 of the course will provide an overview of the research related to
chronic pain and mindfulness training. The following sessions will
introduce you to simple exercises that you can practice to positively
impact your pain experience. You will also be provided with audio
recordings of mindfulness meditations you can practice in between
sessions.

The full MBSR training is an eight week course
developed at the University of Massachusetts that teaches participants
to become fully aware of the moment to moment events in their lives .
Through the practice of awareness participants learn to identify
thoughts and feelings that arise in response to chronic pain. This
expanded awareness provides greater options for appraisal and response
to the experience of chronic pain.

Recent research on MBSR and
chronic pain has shown changes to the pain transmission pathway in only
an 8-week period of practice for 30 minutes a day.

Linda Turner
has 15 years of experience teaching MBSR, and her background as a nurse
led her to see the profound difference that MBSR training can have for
people with chronic pain.

Each session will take place at 11am PDT, 2pm EDT.
Register for Each Webinar Session


October 8, 2013 Part 2 -- Practicing Awareness: Where does your Mind Go? https://painbc.webex.com/painbc/onsta...


October 15, 2013 Part 3 - Noticing the Pleasant and the Unpleasant https://painbc.webex.com/painbc/onsta...



October 22, 2013 Part 4 - Mindfulness Meditation and Stress https://painbc.webex.com/painbc/onsta...


October 29, 2013 Part 5 - The Importance of Communication https://painbc.webex.com/painbc/onsta...


Practice Audio Downloads

Body Scan Meditation http://www.cirpd.org/SiteCollectionDo...
Sitting/Standing Meditation http://www.cirpd.org/SiteCollectionDo...
Mindful Yoga Part I http://www.cirpd.org/SiteCollectionDo...
MIndful Yoga Part II http://www.cirpd.org/SiteCollectionDo...

To
save the MP3 files below, simply right-click (PC users) or Ctrl-Click
or right-click (Mac users) the links below and chose "Save as Source" or
"Save Link as". This will allow you to download the audio file to be
used on any MP3 player.

Download Session PowerPoints

Part 1 - Mindfulness Meditation and Pain: An Overview http://www.cirpd.org/SiteCollectionDo...

This
series is only meant to be an introduction to MBSR for chronic pain. In
order to learn the practice fully, we encourage interested participants
to take an 8 week, in-person course in their area.




Linda Turner, RN, PhD
Linda
is the Program Manager of Health and Human Services at Langara College
in the Continuing Studies department. She studied with Jon Kabat-Zinn to
learn how to teach Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). She
received her MBSR Teacher Certificate from the University of
Massachusetts Medical School, Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health
Care and Society. She has taught the eight week MBSR program over the
past 10 years to patients in pain and members of the general public.
This course is offered through Langara Continuing Studies at least twice
per year.







 

 

Mindfulness 101: Introduction to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)











Mindfulness 101: Introduction to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)



Published on Sep 25, 2014
Ruth
Lerman, M.D., is a certified teacher of Mindfulness Based Stress
Reduction (MBSR). She teaches to Beaumont Health System employees, women
who are cancer survivors and to the general public. This video shows
her teaching an engaging, live introduction to MBSR including two
mindfulness practices and questions and answers with the audience.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Ludwig van Beethoven: Ode an die Freude/Ode to Joy 1






Uploaded on Sep 14, 2007
Ludwig van Beethoven:

Ode an die Freude/Ode to Joy


Der bekannte Ausschnitt aus Beethovens 9. Symphonie

The famous part of Beethoven's 9th Symphonie




  
  • Category

  • License

    • Standard YouTube License
  • Music

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Debt Buyers (HBO)


Published on Jun 5, 2016
Companies that purchase debt cheaply then collect it aggressively are shockingly easy to start. We can prove it! 


Connect with Last Week Tonight online...
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to the Last Week Tonight YouTube channel for more almost news as it
almost happens: www.youtube.com/user/LastWeekTonight

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http://Twitter.com/LastWeekTonight

Visit our official site for all that other stuff at once:
http://www.hbo.com/lastweektonight

Howlin Wolf Smokestack Lightning - Live (1964)



Published on Sep 17, 2013

Appearing on the American Folk Blues Festival, a music festival that introduced audiences in Europe, including the UK, to leading blues performers of the day such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Sonny Boy Williamson, most of whom had never previously performed outside the US. The tours attracted substantial media coverage, including TV shows, and contributed to the growth of the audience for blues music in Europe. (via Wikipedia)
  • Category Education

  • License - Standard YouTube License


"Smokestack Lightning" (or "Smoke Stack Lightning" as listed on the original single, but "Smokestack Lightnin'" on re-releases) is a classic of the blues. Howlin' Wolf recorded it in 1956, and it became one of his most popular and influential songs. It is based on earlier blues songs, and numerous artists later interpreted it.

 Wolf had performed "Smokestack Lightning" in one form or another at least by the early 1930s,[1] when he was performing with Charley Patton in small Delta communities.[1] The song, called "a hypnotic one-chord drone piece",[2] draws on earlier blues, such as Tommy Johnson's "Big Road Blues" (1928, Victor 21279), the Mississippi Sheiks' "Stop and Listen Blues" (1930, OKeh 8807), and Charley Patton's "Moon Going Down" (1930, Paramount 13014).[3] Wolf said the song was inspired by watching trains in the night: "We used to sit out in the country and see the trains go by, watch the sparks come out of the smokestack. That was smokestack lightning."[4] In 1951, he recorded the song as "Crying at Daybreak" (RPM 340). It contains the line "O-oh smokestack lightnin', shinin', just like gold, oh don't you hear me cryin'", similar to the Mississippi Sheiks' lyric "A-ah, smokestack lightnin', that bell shine just like gold, now don't you hear me talkin'".

Link:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smokestack_Lightning



Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Brexit Anthem


 


Sunday, June 19, 2016

New MS treatment shows promise, but experts urge caution



Tweaking an existing treatment for multiple sclerosis by suppressing and then restarting the immune system has produced positive results but also carries risks, according to research published in The Lancet.
 
The treatment involves taking stem cells from bone marrow and reintroducing them into the blood stream to "restart" the immune system.


New MS treatment shows promise, but experts urge caution

Published: Friday 10 June 2016
 
 
The new way of combining chemotherapy with stem cell transplantation has prevented brain lesion relapses in over 95 percent of study participants. 

The results of a phase II clinical trial show that 8 out of the 23 patients who were treated successfully continued to do well 7 ½ years after treatment.

No previous treatment has managed to control the progress of multiple sclerosis (MS) to this extent, but researchers warn that the intervention may be too risky for widespread use.

Around 2 million people worldwide live with MS, a long-term, inflammatory, auto-immune disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS).

Some specialist treatment centers offer autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (aHSCT) for patients with MS. Stem cells are taken from the patient's bone marrow, while chemotherapy is used to suppress the immune system. 

The stem cells are then put back into the blood stream, theoretically "resetting" the immune system and stopping it from attacking the body. 

However, relapse is common, so researchers are looking for more effective and reliable methods.

Killing the immune response to improve outcomes

Dr. Harold Atkins and colleagues from The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa, in Canada, wanted to see what would happen if they totally destroyed, rather than just suppressing, the immune system during stem cell treatment.
  They hypothesized that this might lead to a lower relapse rate and a greater chance of long-term remission.

The 24 patients were aged 18-50 years and were attending three Canadian hospitals for treatment for MS. They all had a poor prognosis.

Participants' scores on the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) showed that their levels of disability varied from moderate to needing a walking aid to walk 100 meters.

All had received standard immunosuppressive therapy previously but with limited success. Patients were experiencing an average of 1.2 relapses per year. The 24 MRI scans taken at the start of the current study revealed a total of 93 brain lesions.

In the new approach, the scientists did not suppress the immune system before transplanting the stem cells; they totally destroyed it.

They removed immune cells from the stem cells that were to be reintroduced to the body by giving the patients a stronger chemotherapy regime than usual.

The treatment contained cyclophosphamide, busulfan, and rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin.
"The chemotherapy we use is very effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier, and this could help eliminate the damaging immune cells from the central nervous system."
Dr. Harold L. Atkins
They assessed for:
  • Relapses of MS symptoms
  • New brain lesions
  • Sustained progression of EDSS scores.
The team was looking for participants to survive and to be free of MS activity after 3 years.

A treatment both hazardous and impressive

One participant did not survive, due to liver failure and sepsis following the chemotherapy.

Results showed no relapses in the remaining 23 patients over the next 4 to 13 years. No detectable new disease activity appeared on MRI images after the treatment, and only one of the 327 MRI scans taken in the follow-up period showed a new lesion.
 
MS involves a gradual deterioration of the brain function, but in nine of the participants, the deterioration slowed to a normal pace of aging.

Eight patients had EDSS scores that continued to improve 7 ½ years after treatment.

After 3 years, six patients were able to decrease or stop receiving disability payments, and they returned to work or education. 

Eight patients experienced a moderately toxic effect, and 14 patients had a mildly toxic effect, following transplantation.

Aggressive therapy may not benefit all patients

Limitations include the small sample size and the lack of a control group.

The authors stress the need for caution, for larger clinical trials to confirm the results, and for more research to reduce the risks.

Further studies should also establish which patients are most likely to benefit from this type of treatment.

They also warn that this is an aggressive treatment and urge people to weigh up not just the possible benefits, but also the risk of severe complications. 

They also note that such treatment should only be available in centers that specialize in both MS treatment and stem cell therapy, or else within the bounds of a clinical trial.

In a linked Comment, Dr. Jan Dörr, from the Neuro Cure Clinical Research Center in Berlin, Germany, describes the results as "impressive," and says they seem to "outbalance any other available treatment for multiple sclerosis." He notes, however, that aHSCT has "a poor safety profile" regarding treatment-related mortality.

Dr. Dörr does not believe this study will change approaches to MS treatment immediately because of the risks involved.

However, given an "increasing popularity of using early aggressive treatment," he suggests that if safety can be assured, it could eventually become a general treatment option.


Read about research suggesting a hereditary link for some types of MS.
 


Immunoablation and autologous haemopoietic stem-cell transplantation for aggressive multiple sclerosis: a multicentre single-group phase 2 trial, Harold L Atkins et al., The Lancet, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S0140-6736(16)30169-6 , published 9 June 2016, abstract.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Multiple sclerosis frequently asked questions, accessed 10 June 2015.
The Lancet news release, accessed 10 June 2016.


MLA
Brazier, Yvette. "New MS treatment shows promise, but experts urge caution." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 10 Jun. 2016. Web.
18 Jun. 2016.

APA
Brazier, Y. (2016, June 10). "New MS treatment shows promise, but experts urge caution." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
.

Visit our Multiple Sclerosis category page for the latest news on this subject, or sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest updates on Multiple Sclerosis.



************************************

Fast facts about MS
  • The exact number of cases of MS in the United States is unknown
  • Symptoms include fatigue, visual problems, altered sensation and reduced mobility
  • 2 in 3 people with MS remain mobile, albeit with a walking aid.
Learn more about MS
 









Wednesday, June 15, 2016

BC Scientists find genetic cause of Multiple Sclerosis

Study


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Some forms of multiple sclerosis are hereditary after all. After many years of saying that MS is not passed down the generations, new research now says the opposite.

Although past studies have suggested that genetic risk factors could increase the risk of developing the disease, up until now, there has been no evidence that the disease is directly inherited.
 
 Researchers from the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health, in Canada, led by Prof. Carles Vilariño-Güell, report that they have proven that multiple sclerosis can result from a single genetic mutation on a gene called NR1H3. This, they say, produces a protein that acts as an “on-off switch” for other genes.

In the study’s results1, published in the journal Neuron, the researchers explain that some of the other genes either work to stop myelin-damaging inflammation or create new myelin to repair the damage.

Myelin, often described as the protective layer that protects nerve tissues, is the fatty material that surrounds neurons and helps send electrical signals. When myelin is damaged, it disrupts the communication between the brain and the rest of the body, producing well-known MS symptoms including vision problems, muscle weakness, balance issues, and cognitive impairments.

MS hereditary gene mutation is key

The researchers say their findings could help develop therapies that either target the NR1H3 gene or that neutralize the mutation’s effects.

Just 1 in 1,000 people with MS have this specific mutation, according to the researchers. However, the finding uncovers the biological pathway that leads to the rapidly progressive form of MS, which accounts for 15% of people with the disease.

Prof. Vilariño-Güell said: “This mutation puts these people at the edge of a cliff but something has to give them the push to set the disease process in motion.”

The team believes that its discovery could improve understanding of the more common relapsing remitting MS. This is because it typically develops into the secondary progressive type.

Following on from the study, the researchers say that screening for this particular mutation in individuals at risk for MS could make it easier to diagnose it earlier and begin treatment before the onset of symptoms. For example, if individuals with a family history of the disease carry the mutation, they could opt to increase their vitamin D intake; low levels of the vitamin have been linked to MS.

1 To arrive at their findings, the researchers used blood samples taken from 4,400 people with MS and 8,600 blood relatives as part of a 20-year project funded by the MS Society of Canada and the Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation.

They found the mutation in two Canadian families in which several members had a rapidly progressive type of the disease. In these families, two-thirds of the people with the genetic mutation developed MS.
http://news.ubc.ca/2016/06/01/ubc-vancouver-coastal-health-scientists-find-genetic-cause-of-multiple-sclerosis/

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this blog article are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Multiple Sclerosis.




Ian Franks enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media; during which he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain and uses his skills to write his own flourishing specialist Health and Disability blog at www.50shadesofsun.com. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.



  Link: http://biotechnologyfocus.ca/scientists-find-genetic-cause-multiple-sclerosis/