'Blinking Guy' Channels Meme Fame Into Multiple Sclerosis Fundraiser - NPR

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'Blinking Guy' Channels Meme Fame Into Multiple Sclerosis Fundraiser

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If you've been on social media in the past two years, you've probably seen Drew Scanlon's face as the "blinking white guy" gif. He's now raising money for Multiple Sclerosis research.

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MS Walk fundraiser planned - Muskogee Daily Phoenix

Shelly Sheffield maintains an optimistic outlook on her life.

Not even Multiple Sclerosis has affected the Gore resident negatively after first she was diagnosed 30 years ago.    

"I'm in contact with a lot people who have MS, and it can be a very lonely disease because you see see other people doing things that you can't do or wish you could do," Sheffield said. "I have such a variety of family, friends and a support group that don't allow me ever to feel sorry for myself."

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.

Sheffield, one of six children, doesn't let MS slow her down. 

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St. Cloud therapist diagnosed with MS running across the state - St. Cloud Times

, St. Cloud Times Published 1:49 p.m. CT Sept. 21, 2019

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ST. CLOUD — A St. Cloud physical therapist who decided to run across the state after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis broke the 400-mile mark of his journey Friday.  

Chad Mickelson, 38, began his run Sept. 4 near New Albin, Iowa. Mickelson was diagnosed with MS in July and decided to run diagonally across the state — a distance of around 600 miles. 

"For me, personally, I want to feel like my body can do it," Mickelson, who lives in Richmond and works at the St. Cloud Hospital, said. 

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Man behind 'Blinking White Guy' GIF fundraising to help fight Multiple Sclerosis - WKYC.com

You've seen it. You may have shared it in your social media feeds. Now, the man you see blinking in a widely-used GIF used to express confusion or disbelief wants your help so he can help those fighting Multiple Sclerosis.

The famous blinking GIF is Drew Scanlon -- some have mistaken it for actors Cary Elwes or Michael C. Hall. KPIX reports the GIF was created when Scanlon was captured making the facial gesture in 2013 during a group chat on a video game stream. It would be four years before he went viral.

Scanlon is now using his fame to help fundraise for an upcoming two-day, 120-mile bike ride from San Francisco to wine country to help people with MS.

RELATED: Author JK Rowling makes huge gift for MS research

RELATED: 4 women in remission from MS thanks to experimental treatment

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Studies Report on Efforts to Optimize Rituximab in MS, NMOSD - The Center for Biosimilars

While rituximab does not carry indications for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or aquaporin-4-positive (AQP4) neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), the CD20-depleting therapy and its biosimilars are commonly used off-label, as the therapy has been demonstrated to be effective in reducing relapses in MS as well as in reducing the frequency and severity of attacks in NMOSD.

The availability of biosimilar rituximab—already a reality in Europe and soon to arrive in the United States—has the potential to increase patient access to anti-CD20 therapy, but despite the common use of the drug in neurology, there are few data that help guide individual patients’ treatment with rituximab. Important questions remain, such as how long a patient should ideally be treated with rituximab, on what schedule treatment should occur, or what therapies may be optimal after treatment with the product is discontinued.

During last week’s 35th Annual Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, which was held in Stockholm, Sweden, multiple teams presented findings on the use of rituximab in both of these challenging neurological disorders.

First, in a poster session, researchers from the Institute of Neuropathology and University Medical Center Göttingen, in Göttingen, Germany, presented findings on their study on the phenotype and function of B cells that reappear after treatment with rituximab.1

The researchers assessed peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 15 patients with relapsing MS prior to rituximab therapy and during B-cell repletion. They found that, while most B cells before rituximab treatment were mature memory B cells, the B cells that reappeared showed a naïve phenotype, and also manifested an accentuated activation profile and a more proinflammatory cytokine profile.

These findings suggest the need for further exploration of the phenotype of these repleting B cells to help guide therapeutic decisions, particularly with regard to maintenance therapies that may be initiated after treatment with anti-CD20 agents like rituximab.

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Man behind viral ‘blinking guy’ GIF backs multiple sclerosis fundraiser - WTKR News 3

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — For anyone who has ever tried to craft the perfect text with just the right GIF to convey a feeling of confusion, he is right there for the using. Now, he has a request for the world at large.

** Embargo San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA**
Drew Scanlon is hoping to raise money for the Waves to Wine bike ride for the national MS society.

“I wasn’t even the focus of the video, says internet staple Drew Scanlon. “He was playing a video game, and I was just kind of next to him.”

It was December of 2013 when Scanlon sat down to join a group commenting on a video game stream. The GIF of his puzzled reaction to a friend’s joke would not go viral for another four years.

“It was when people in our audience were saying, ‘My mom just sent me this GIF; she doesn’t even know who you are,’” Scanlon said of his viral emergence.

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MS Risk Nearly Doubles 15 Years Following Teen Concussion - Medscape

STOCKHOLM — People who experience a concussion during adolescence are at significantly elevated risk for multiple sclerosis (MS) later in life, especially 15 years or more following their head trauma, a large retrospective study suggests.

This risk for developing MS over time nearly doubled in this population compared with people without a history of concussion.

"We also found a significantly increased risk among males and not females" starting at about 8 years post-concussion in a secondary analysis, lead study author Christopher Povolo, BSc, of the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada, told Medscape Medical News.

The findings were presented during a poster session here at the 35th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) 2019.

Previously, other investigators linked head trauma, including concussion, with MS.

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Clinical Challenges: MS and Pregnancy | Medpage Today - MedPage Today

It wasn't so long ago that clinicians counseled patients with Multiple Sclerosis against pregnancy in the belief that it would make their MS worse.

That view has since proved demonstrably incorrect, thanks to studies such as one published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1998 showing that relapse rates actually decline during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, while increasing in the first three months postpartum and then returning to the pre-pregnancy level.

And this seems to have had an impact on birth rates among women with MS. According to a study last year in Neurology, pregnancy rates among women with MS increased from 7.91% in 2006 to 9.47% in 2014, while the rate among women without MS and with pregnancy decreased from 8.83% to 7.75%

There is even recent evidence that postpartum flareups in MS disease activity may not be as bad as previously thought.

Preliminary results from a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology earlier this year, using data from the Kaiser Permanente Southern and Northern California databases spanning 2008 to 2016, indicated that women with MS who became pregnant did not experience increased risk of relapse after pregnancy.

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#ECTRIMS2019 - Mayzent's Benefits for MS Patients a 'Key Question,' Says EXPAND's Principal Investigator - Multiple Sclerosis News Today

The most recent data continue to support Mayzent‘s (siponimod) benefits and provide more insights on how this therapy can make a difference for those with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) — in particular, data showing the therapy lowers the risk of becoming wheelchair-dependent.

New results from the pivotal Phase 3 EXPAND trial were presented at the 35th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS), held Sept. 11–13 in Stockholm.

Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March this year, Novartis‘ Mayzent is a new sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator, indicated for the treatment of people with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) and active secondary progressive MS (SPMS).

Data from the EXPAND study (NCT01665144) was one of the key pieces of evidence for Mayzent’s approval. Involving 1,651 patients with SPMS (both active and non-active), the study showed that taking 2 mg tablets of Mayzent once per day reduced the risk of disability progression at three months by 33% in those with active, relapsing disease, and by 13% in those with non-active SPMS.

The therapy also decreased the annualized relapse rate by 55%, reduced the progression of brain lesions, and lessened whole-brain volume loss (brain atrophy), measured in the overall population (active and non-active SPMS); a further analysis demonstrated an additional benefit for improving cognitive processing speed.

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MS in the Media - ECTRIMS 2019 - MS Trust

MS in the Media - ECTRIMS 2019  MS Trust

The ECTRIMS (European Committee for Treatment and Research In Multiple Sclerosis) is the largest annual international conference devoted to basic and ...

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VV EXCLUSIVE: Lawsuit could extend PMTA deadline beyond May 12, 2020

September 17, 2019

The deadline isn’t set in stone. The court-ordered deadline for vapor companies to submit premarket tobacco applications (PMTA) to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could be extended beyond the current May 12, 2020, deadline if a Motions to Intervene and Stay the court order succeeds while an appeal to the ruling makes its way through the courts.

Lawyers with the law office of Keller and Heckman (KH), a Washington DC law firm that represents the vapor industry, filed Motions to Intervene and Stay with the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland pending appeal of the July 12, 2019 Memorandum Opinion and Order (Remedies Order) on behalf of several vapor trade associations. The trade associations represent small U.S. businesses that manufacture, distribute and sell vapor products to adults. A Stay will temporarily suspend the District Court’s initial ruling which started the 10-month PMTA clock.

KH also filed a Notice of Appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on July 30, informing the appellate court of its intent to appeal the District Court’s order denying the trade associations initial attempt to intervene in the case on the remedies issue.

In its Motion to Stay, KH attorney Eric P. Gotting argued, among other things, that “the remedies issue – and in particular whether the Court properly set a PMTA deadline instead of remanding back to FDA for further consideration – turns on the appropriate application of the D.C. Circuit’s ‘extraordinary circumstances’ exception.” KH stated that it was “not aware of any case in which the Fourth Circuit has applied that principle” previously.

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Short-Duration Opioid Protocol Feasible for Tonsillectomy

NEW ORLEANS -- A brief but intense opioid protocol for post-tonsillectomy pain did not lead to opioid dependence within the first year after surgery, a retrospective analysis of active-duty military personnel showed.

Of almost 700 patients who received as much as a 15-day postoperative prescription of opioid-containing medication, none had a referral for treatment of opioid dependence over the next 12 months. On average, the patients received almost twice as many opioid tablets for post-tonsillectomy pain relief as otolaryngologists reported in a recent survey, and almost 40% of the patients received refills within 30 days of surgery.

Despite involving a patient population within a closed healthcare system with worldwide electronic health record (EHR) connectivity, the study demonstrated the feasibility and safety of a short-term, high-quantity opioid protocol for adults undergoing tonsillectomy, reported Christopher J. Hill, MD, of the Naval Medical Center-Portsmouth, Virginia, at the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation meeting.

"We report the highest-powered study to date assessing opioid prescriptions following adult tonsillectomy," Hill said. "At our institution, 93% of patients received between a 5- and 15-day course of opioids, depending on the frequency of administration, and 38% of patients received at least one refill within 30 days postoperatively. We found no referrals for opioid abuse or dependence in the year following surgery."

"With these data, we are not unequivocally endorsing a liberal dispensation of opioids following tonsillectomy, as there are still well demonstrated risks of chronic opioid abuse," he stated. "However, we believe that these findings are in line with previous studies demonstrating that the judicious use of short-term narcotic pain medication to appropriately manage pain in post-tonsillectomy patients can be done safely."

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PTAC OKs Model to Boost Stroke Care at Rural Hospitals

WASHINGTON -- A telemedicine-based payment model to improve care for patients experiencing stroke and other cerebral emergencies in rural, underserved communities won support from the Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee (PTAC).

PTAC voted 11-0 on Monday in favor of the ACCESS Telemedicine model. However, in accordance with a new voting protocol meant to further clarify the committee's wishes, the committee also voted 9-2 to recommend further development of the proposal in ways specified in their comments. Two members voted for implementation of the proposed model as is.

PTAC is an independent committee of health policy experts and clinicians established by Congress to advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on which alternative payment models (APMs) to test and to scale.

Submitted by the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNMHSC), the ACCESS model meets a significant need: Rural, underserved community hospitals can't afford to hire neurological specialists, and emergency department (ED) physicians at those same rural hospitals aren't comfortable diagnosing patients with cerebral-emergent problems, committee members agreed.

Because of these twin issues, patients are often transferred to tertiary hospitals, sometimes unnecessarily. The goal of ACCESS is to reduce unnecessary transfers to these tertiary hospitals for benign cases, while reducing the time to diagnosis and treatment for time-sensitive conditions, by leveraging telemedicine consults.

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'Social Jet Lag' May Contribute to Girls' Weight

Teenage girls' sleep patterns and bedtimes were associated with risk of obesity, a cross-sectional study found.

For girls, each hour of "social jet lag" -- difference between weekdays and weekends in sleep midpoint, measured by actigraphy -- was linked with 0.45 kg/m2 greater fat mass index as assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and a 1.19-cm larger waist circumference (P for interaction 0.01 and 0.21, respectively).

Greater evening preference -- based on preferred wake time, how easy it was to do so, and when they felt most energetic -- was linked with a 0.58-cm greater waist circumference and a 0.16 kg/m2 greater fat mass index among girls (P=0.04 and 0.03, respectively, for interaction).

None of the associations were significant among boys, although generally directionally the same as in girls, reported Elizabeth Feliciano, ScD, ScM, of Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues in JAMA Pediatrics.

"This study suggests that female adolescents may be more vulnerable to the obesogenic effects of circadian misalignment; obesity prevention efforts should consider regular sleep-wake patterns in addition to sleep extension and sleep quality improvement," they wrote.

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Euthanasia Doctor Acquitted; Pupils Predict Alzheimer’s; USPSTF on Cognitive Screening

A physician accused of unlawful euthanasia for administering a lethal injection to a patient with dementia was acquitted by a Netherlands court. (New York Times)

Donepezil (Aricept) was linked to a higher risk of hospitalization for rhabdomyolysis than other cholinesterase inhibitors used to manage Alzheimer's disease and dementia symptoms. (CMAJ)

Pupil response may improve early screening of people at increased genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease. (Neurobiology of Aging)

Phase III trials of the Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor evobrutinib for relapsing Multiple Sclerosis are starting, EMD Serono announced.

Pimavanserin (Nuplazid) met its primary endpoint in a phase III trial in dementia-related psychosis, Acadia Pharmaceuticals reported.

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Serum NfL Levels May Indicate MS Prodromal Phase

STOCKHOLM -- Levels of serum neurofilament light (NfL) increased 6 years before the clinical onset of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a case-control study of active-duty U.S. military personnel showed.

In serum samples drawn a median of 6 years before clinical onset of the disease, NfL levels were higher in people who eventually developed MS than in matched controls (median 16.7 pg/mL vs 15.2 pg/mL, P=0.04), reported Kjetil Bjornevik, MD, PhD, of Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, at the ECTRIMS congress. The findings were published simultaneously in JAMA Neurology.

"MS may have a pre-symptomatic or prodromal phase lasting several years, and neuroaxonal damage may occur already during this phase," Bjornevik stated.

disease processes in MS likely start before patients experience their first symptoms, but little is known about this phase, such as how long it is and what happens during it, Bjornevik explained. At disease onset, for example, patients often have central nervous system lesions in different stages of evolution, indicating that subclinical demyelinating events may have occurred in the past.

Incidental white matter lesions observed in radiologically isolated syndrome can occur years before MS onset, he added, and MS patients often report clinical symptoms and disturbances to their general practitioner up to 10 years before their MS diagnosis. But these are indirect markers, Bjornevik noted: it's not clear whether they truly represent a prodromal phase of MS.

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What causes numbness in the thigh?

Many factors can cause numbness in the thigh. These include keeping the legs crossed for too long, wearing tight clothing, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and lupus. Treatment options depend on what is causing the numbness.

From conditions affecting blood flow to damage to the nerves themselves, there are many potential causes of numbness in the thigh. Depending on the cause, there are also many treatments available.

This article will cover some common underlying causes of numbness in one or both thighs. We also discuss treatment options.

Meralgia paresthetica


There are a number of causes for numbness in the thigh.

Meralgia paresthetica is a neurological condition that causes numbness or tingling on the outer and front aspect of the thigh.

According to an article in the journal Pain Medicine, the condition is most common in people aged 30–40 years.

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Economic Factors Amplify Burden of Disease for Patients With Multiple Sclerosis

Sept 2019

While economic issues differ across countries and healthcare systems, a universal concern is that Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a costly disease that exerts a significant burden on patients, families, and society as a whole. 

Speaking at the ECTRIMS 2019 Congress in Stockholm, health economist Gisela Kobelt, PhD, MBA, described concepts associated with economic burden in MS. 

"disease burden for people with MS is related to reduced quality of life through physical suffering, limitations imposed on daily life, loss of work, and anxiety about the future." Economic factors may include loss of income for the patient, care-giving time for the family, and societal costs, which include burden on the healthcare system due to high healthcare utilization.
Not surprisingly, the evidence shows that the burden of disease in MS increases with a patient's level of disability. As the disease progresses, quality of life declines sharply, she explained, but costs increase. "Our aim, therefore, is to try to change the slope of this curve and delay the time it takes for patients to become severely disabled."
Dr. Kobelt presented observational data from the European Burden of Illness Study, a cross-sectional study involving 16,808 people with MS from 16 countries (mean age was 51.5 years, 52% had relapsing MS). Participants reported on their disease, its impact on health-related quality of life, and consumption of healthcare resources. The goal of the study, Dr. Kobelt said, was to assess whether MS management approaches provide value to society. Some of the findings:
Work capacity declined from 82% to 8%;Utility declined dramatically from normal levels to less than zero with advancing disease. (In health economics, utility is a quality of life measure in which 0 represents death and 1 represents perfect health);Fatigue was reported by 95% of participants and cognitive difficulties by 71%; both had a significant independent effect on utility;Costs increased by 6-fold for those with the highest level of disability compared with the lowest level.
Previous work by Dr. Kobelt showed that the greatest effects of MS on employment occur at relatively low levels of physical disability. This underscores the report’s recommendation of aiming to alter the disease course through lifestyle measures and early treatment with disease-modifying therapy. "The time to intervene is obviously at the beginning," Dr. Kobelt stressed. "We are not gaining much if we start when disease is advanced or the costs are already high. We really want to intervene early to achieve gains in quality of life and potential cost savings."

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Pilates and neurological disease - Idaho State Journal

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AJMC® in the Press, September 13, 2019 - AJMC.com Managed Markets Network

Coverage of our peer-reviewed research and news reporting in the healthcare and mainstream press.

A study published in this month’s issue ofThe American Journal of Managed Care®(AJMC®) evaluated the patterns of clinical service for long-term nursing home residents enrolled in UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Advantage Institutional Special Needs Plans. The study, “Managed Care for Long-Stay Nursing Home Residents: An Evaluation of Institutional Special Needs Plans,” was featured in an article inSkilled Nursing News.

The study “The Potential Impact of CAR T-Cell Treatment Delays on Society,” which was published in the August issue of AJMC®, was the focus of an article from Hematology Advisor. The study concluded that the social value of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is significantly limited by treatment delays and that efficient payment mechanisms, adequate capital, and payment policy reform are urgently needed to increase patient access and maximize the value of the treatment.

Mountain Grove News Journal’s article on the impact of depression referred to a 2014 study published in AJMC®, which examined health claims data to assess medication adherence rates and healthcare costs for psychiatric patients. The study, “Pharmacogenetic-Guided Psychiatric Intervention Associated With Increased Adherence and Cost Savings,” found that patients whose clinicians had access to pharmacogenetic test results had increased adherence and overall cost savings.

AJMC®’s video series “Identifying Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis” was highlighted by Multiple Sclerosis News Today. The video series, which features multiple key opinion leaders, includes discussions on the nature and cost of Multiple Sclerosis, debates on whether it is truly an autoimmune disease, and more.

Both EcoWatch and Xherald included an article from AJMC.com, the website of AJMC®, in their pieces on the impact of sugary drinks. The article, “Large European Study Links Soda Consumption to Greater Risk of Mortality, Including From Parkinson,” reported on study findings showing that soft drinks were linked to a greater risk of death, as well as a higher chance of dying from Parkinson disease.

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