CategoryCauses

#BlackSwan: anecdotal evidence we can’t ignore

Barts-MS rose-tinted-odometer: ★★★★★ What is a black swan event?  “The black swan theory or theory of black swan events is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalised after the fact with the benefit of hindsight”. (Source Wikipedia) The case study below is another example of a mounting number of case studies of...

Plot thickens: MS versus other antibody disorders

The MSVirtual2020 late breaking news was announced this weekend. Despite a diagnostic biomarker for neuromyelitis optica (the Aquaporin 4 antibody), it remains difficult differentiate NMO from MS clinically. Dr David Leppert from Basel, Switzerland presented their findings on biomarkers of the innate immune system, focusing on neutrophil activity markers (a type of immune cell) in the...

T cells bite the dust

An interesting presentation from this years MSVirtual2020 was presentation by Dr Beatrice Wasser on ‘GlcNac signalling to reduce T cell pathogenicity in MS’. Abstract Background: Both adaptive and innate immune cells infiltrate the CNS during multiple sclerosis (MS) and in its animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Pathogenic T cells are known as key drivers of...

A false sense of security?

Just catching up with my reading. Whilst I was away on holiday the ASCLEPIOS I and II trials was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  There is little doubt that ofatumumab is superior to teriflunomide when it comes to suppressing focal inflammation, i.e. relapses, MRI activity and peripheral blood neurofilament levels. However, ofatumumab’s effectiveness against teriflunomide on the...

EBV or not

The umpteenth study on causality means very little if it is not scientifically plausible. This is core science, and it’s what real scientists work on. EBV infection has long been strong contender for the development of MS. But, how strong is this link? What does having had EBV as a teenager do to your biological makeup (i.e. endophenotype)? In a first study of its kind the Swedish group...

Not COVID-19: obesity and MS

Are you sick and tired of hearing about COVID-19 and MS? How about something completely different; the destigmatization of obesity?  Finally, the medical community or at least a part of it are making amends for the half-century or more of treating obesity as a disorder of self-control. The joint internal consensus statement for ending the stigma of obesity is long overdue (see article and...

Age is a compelling causal argument for MS

Fact – autoimmune disorders affect the young. Fact – the immune system ages with you as does rest of the body. Fact – MS is an autoimmune disorder. This week we find yet another study re-iterating the point that the evolution of MS lesions is an age-dependent phenomenon. This time using MRI head scans, in what is arguably one of the largest series published on the topic...

The genetic code

I like to think that we’re all more than some of our parts. But, our genetic code has us all fooled. Each and every cell has a genetic code that come to think of it probably has a lot more to say about our lives before, now and after than we’d truly like. We don’t debate that genetics have a role to play in the development of cancer, but MS has always proven to have a complex...

The COVID19 brain

Letter by British Rhinological Society and Ear, Nose & Throat UK Although severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has been the hallmark of severe COVID19 infection, anosmia (lack of smell) and hypogeusia (the reduced ability to taste), headaches/dizziness have also been reported. Is COVID19 neurotropic? We don’t have hard data to support/refute this beyond history from those so far...

HSCT is shifting the Bell curve

Barts-MS rose-tinted-odometer  ★ ★ ★ The good news is that the use of autologous HSCT to treat autoimmune diseases rose (by 19%) in the European Bone Marrow Transplant registry in 2018. Importantly, this rise was predominantly due to HSCT treatment for multiple sclerosis. This would indicate that at least at the very right of the bell curve there is increasing use of a more aggressive...

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