AuthorIde Smets

Ibudilast in Progressive MS: Hope with the size of a peanut

Neuroprotection has been a tough nut to crack in MS, and essentially we are still eagerly waiting for the first drug that improves neuronal survival without impacting on inflammation (such as our beloved CD20 antibodies or siponimod). Ibudilast is one of the latest molecules that has tried to influence progression in pwMS… In the 2018, Ibudilast (n=129) was compared with placebo (n=126) in...

What Einstein forgot: Multiple Sclerosis curbs “spacetime”

We all know that time is relentless and cruel. However, do you believe it ticks at the same imperturbable pace for all of Earth’s inhabitants?  This has been a controversial topic among scientists, and one of Einsteins biggest mindboggles. Newton believed time was absolute “true time”. If the universe was to be frozen, time would tick on regardless (lockdown has taught us this is definitely...

Holiday aspirations COVID-19 style: The Mediterranean Diet

Do you need another alibi to daydream about travelling to Italy? Pompura et al. have given you the perfect ammunition. In short, they demonstrated that eating more olive oil might have a restorative effect on a crucial immune cell type in MS.   In the immune system, there are several types of T cells. One subtype that is potentially important in MS pathophysiology are the regulatory T cells also...

COVID-19 and CD20: The Wizard of Odds!

Source: Our Italian colleagues (definitely not wearing the kind of suit depicted above) were able to gather the troops, and publish their data on COVID-19 severity and the use of different disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) in people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS). They collected data on 844 pwMS on variable DMTs. After putting all the potential risk factors for a worse COVID-19 disease course...

The solution for fatigue: getting tired (both of us!)

Nourbakhsh et al. have the honour of publishing the first article of 2021 that will change my practice. As bright and shiny as all the monoclonal antibodies on our treatment shelf are compared to the dusty and lacklustre drugs used to treat the symptoms of MS. However, the symptomatic treatments determine day-to-day life for many pwMS: fatigue, spasms, neuropathic pain, etc. For fatigue, the most...

Don’t “Boris” your treatment!

Many of you have been caught by surprise by the Prime Minister’s latest announcement: London and Southern England moved into the unexplored Tier 4, and no ‘Jingle Mingle’ of households on Christmas. This last-minute and – honestly profane – cancellation of Christmas plans has been a hard nut to crack for many of us. So much the more the prospect of a vaccine is the equivalent of...

Vaccines and Ocrelizumab (VELOCE): Old swords, new swords, and how to avoid stab wounds!

As approximately 70% of our newly diagnosed people with MS go onto ocrelizumab (a CD20 and thus B cell-depleting monoclonal antibody), a study that helps us understand how ocrelizumab affects the potential to mount (protective) antibody responses to vaccines and new antigens is more than welcome. Especially, as we are all hoping for the COVID-19 vaccine to be under the Christmas tree.  B...

Virtual MS clinics: The perks of being a digital nomad!

Neurology clinics anno 2020. Source: As you might have experienced yourself when contacting your GP or consultant, the only tide that unfortunately has been turned so far is the NHS going fully digital. This means that I and all other Bart-MS consultants have been relying heavily – as in 99% of our clinic encounters – on virtual clinics to reach out to our MS patients since March 2020...

Confessions of an ECTRIMS fellow: what I really learned during my BartsMS fellowship

As you might have captured in one of my preceding blog posts, I’m relatively new to the MS research blog. There is a logical explanation for this: I only started to work at BartsMS in November 2019. With the purpose of converting me in an MS-ologist, I was one of the fortunate people to receive a clinical fellowship grant from the European MS association ‘ECTRIMS’.   The preceding ten...

Neurofilaments: from a two towards a three-layered cake!

We are happy to announce that our new paper on how to use cerebrospinal fluid neurofilament light chain (CSF NfL) in daily clinical practice has appeared online (open access) in the journal of Neurology Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation.  In this paper, we have documented how the BartsMS team is already using for more than four years NfL values obtained with a lumbar puncture to advise...

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