Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Party In My Brain May Be Serving Different Drinks Than Yours...

As promised, I mentioned back in a previous post some fascinating research that is currently being conducted about possible differences in Multiple Sclerosis lesion formations...or I suppose I should qualify, at least it's fascinating to ME! I brought this up on the heels of the article I posted regarding the recent genetic findings in MS. And I think I mis-spoke and said I thought the lead researcher was from Harvard...well, SHE is not! (Sorry Ivy Leaguer's!)

I've finally had a moment's peace this Sunday to peruse through some of my bookmarked readings on the Internet and dig up the articles I was referencing. As always, I will continue to plagiarize copyright materials...even from my jail cell! But here are the links to the full articles should you be interested in reading them: and . The second article is a link to the NMSS Summer 2006 newsletter and restates some of the first article, but with some added and updated information.

Anywhozit...there IS some fascinating research going on via the MS Lesion Project, which is a grant-funded project via the National MS Society (about $1.8 million dollars...nice to see my yearly contributions are going to something I'm interested in!). The lead researcher, Dr. Lucchinette, the assistant professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic (not even close to Harvard!) is reporting the following:

"Among the 83 cases studied so far, we found 4 distinct types of lesions," Dr. Lucchinetti said. "The lesions differed in the pattern of myelin loss and in the activity of immune cells and proteins. For each individual, all her/his lesions were the same, but types of lesions differed from person to person. Our findings suggest that there may be several types of MS, and that these types may have different immune-related causes. MS may prove to be a `syndrome' of several diseases."

The researchers hope they can answer this question:

If we can determine the biological nature of the differences among people with MS--and possibly identify different causes of the disease--we could diagnose, treat, and make prognoses based on those differences.

And just in case you choose NOT to click the first link above, I feel compelled to cut and past the first few paragraphs here so you can get a clearer idea of what this research may mean for you and I who deal with MS on a daily basis:

People with MS have known it all along--there is wide variety in this disease. Sitting in a support group, you may find that the man on your left has a tremor and the woman on your right has slurred speech. Meanwhile, you have not responded at all to a particular medication, and sitting across from you is a person who has responded wonderfully to the same drug.
"Much emphasis is placed on finding one cause for MS, which would allow us to develop one medicine that treats all patients," said Dr. Claudia Lucchinetti, assistant professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic and the lead investigator for a broad new research initiative called The MS Lesion Project. She continued, "however, the course of disease, response to medications, and even brain MRI findings vary greatly among people with MS."

What this "could" mean for you and I (MSers, that is...the rest of you loyal readers...all TWO of you...just play along!) is, if one of these FOUR, distinct types of lesion formations can be identified in an individual, a specific drug "cocktail" could potentially be made that would target the exact type of MS the person has. This certainly lends credence to the idea those of us with MS have ALWAYS known: We are ALL very different in how the disease manifests itself and this is why we ALL choose different drug therapies, natural remedies, exercises, etc. It is exciting to think the medical profession may now recognize the fact MSers HAVE known what we were talking about all along! LOL...


harkoo said...

Something that has always baffled me is that my mom's MS was totally different in all ways from my MS. We were exposed to the same environmental factors and I inherited half of her DNA. Her identical twin has had perfect health her whole life. At the time of my mom's diagnosis, the scientists took blood samples from both of them for several years but then they no longer contacted them. They told them they were more interested in the twin that stayed healthy--they wanted to know Why. But this was the state of MS Research 20 years ago when she was ill. I wish my mom was still alive so we could participate in the new research studies going on now as it sounds really interesting.

Merelyme said...

i agree. i think there are multiple causes of MS. why else would the same treatment work for one person and not for another? i am hoping that the research leads somewhere. we are living in exciting times.

Peej said...

Wow..... so common sense finally shows it's face in this battle for the cure. How refreshing. :)

Thanks for the links! For the first time I actually have hope.

pb said...

By George they are, indeed, getting it!

After my diagnosis,I was urged to attend support groups, but after informal investigation, I decided that no one had MY MS...

It has been one of the most frustrating aspects of living through this: we are not exactly on our own, but, frankly, no one else can help us through our particular version of the disorder!

Have myelin? said...

My BF of 25 years was diagnosed with MS a few months after me. Our MS is not the same. Yet I'm her patient zero. LOL.

I don't know if like the idea of calling it a "syndrome" (makes it sound like a "cold") but I can buy the multiple causes theory.

I think.



Yes, I imagine there WERE very interested in your mom's twin...lot's of studies have been done about twins and's too bad they didn't stay in contact with you, however. I think researchers are finally figuring some of this crap out, but not soon enough!




We are living in exciting times...with MS. I'm going to be watching for any information about this study's findings as I really think they may be on to something important here.




Yes, it does feel hopeful...someday. The speed at which this type of research goes, however, is nothing short of a snail's pace. We'll see...




You are absolutely right! I have always thought that about MY MS, too...or, I've quietly thought I must just be somatic because no one ELSE reported this or that!




As long as it doesn't get labeled a "DISORDER"...that smells too much of psychiatric influence! LOL