April 29th, 2014
10:00 AM ET
Multiple sclerosis sufferers may benefit from taking medical marijuana, according to a new study in the journal Neurology.
MS patients who used marijuana either as a pill or as an oral spray found relief from a number of symptoms, according to the study. The findings were released Monday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).
"Medical marijuana can be considered to relieve particular symptoms of MS, including spasticity, pain related to spasms, or central pain from MS lesions," says Dr. Barbara Koppel, main author of the research analysis.
Koppel, a neurologist at New York Medical College in New York, says medical marijuana did not help MS patients who had tremors, nor did it relieve abnormal involuntary movements in late-stage Parkinson's disease. Researchers also didn't find enough evidence to recommend the treatment for other conditions they looked at, including epilepsy, she says. FULL POST
January 30th, 2013
04:01 PM ET
Obese girls are at greater risk of developing multiple sclerosis or MS-like illness, according to a new study published Wednesday in the online journal Neurology.
Researchers looked at body mass index (BMI) data from more than 900,000 children from the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Children's health study. Seventy-five of those children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 18 were diagnosed with pediatric MS. More than 50% of them were overweight or obese, and the majority were girls.
According to the study, the MS risk was more than one and a half times higher for overweight girls, almost two times higher in moderately obese girls and almost four times higher in extremely obese girls.
September 19th, 2012
05:38 PM ET
A chemical that can be used as a food additive, caused serious skin infections after people sat on sofas treated with it and was approved as a psoriasis treatment in Germany 15 years ago, may prove to be a viable treatment option for people with the relapsing-remitting form of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Dimethyl fumarate - also known so far as BG-12 - could be another weapon in a neurologist's arsenal to treat the disease, if the drug is approved. Based on the results of two large studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine, experts believe this is likely.
More than 2 million people around the world live with MS, a disease where the body's immune system attacks the patient's central nervous system and destroys the myelin, or sheath, protecting nerve cells. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and more women than men are affected, according to the National MS Society. As the disease progresses, it can become quite debilitating, leading to numbness and difficulty walking and seeing among many other symptoms. FULL POST
April 17th, 2012
05:43 AM ET
Editor's note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed. This week Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces us to Noah “40” Shebib, a music producer who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his early 20s.
Q: What was it like to receive that diagnosis as such a young man?
A: It started with sensory issues. I woke up one day and all the temperature in my body was distorted. My sense of hot and cold and what that meant to my brain was very confusing. Any time something like that happens to your body - which is very difficult to explain when you have MS - is that your brain is tricked, so your nerves are telling you something that's not true. Any time your brain is telling you something that's not true, there's a little bit of trauma for your body in general to understand what's going on, so you're a little bit in shock.
I went to the hospital very quickly after that and was diagnosed within a couple of weeks. It continued to escalate to a much worse place in a month, and I spent the next two years of my life getting back on my feet.
January 20th, 2012
06:44 PM ET
Health agencies on both sides of the Atlantic are investigating reports of 11 deaths in multiple sclerosis patients taking Gilenya, the first multiple sclerosis drug approved in pill form.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed Friday that it is studying data on Gilenya (fingolimod). "We will notify the public once our review is complete to communicate any recommendations or possible label changes," the FDA said in a statement to CNN.
October 28th, 2011
12:25 PM ET
Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Wednesdays, it's Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.
Asked by Kayla in North Carolina:
Hi, I got multiple sclerosis about a year ago, and I'm very young. I was curious if there has been any further information about a possible cure or not. I know that people have been searching for a cure, but I'm curious as to how close they really are.
September 22nd, 2010
09:19 AM ET
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first oral drug for treating relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), the most common form of the disease.
Unlike current MS drugs, which are given by injections or infusion, this new drug, called Gilenya or fingolimod, comes in a capsule which is taken once a day. Taking a pill is much less painful than having to stick a needle in your body on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, which is what many MS patients have to do now.
August 30th, 2010
05:01 PM ET
In the spring and summer months, some people with multiple sclerosis are at a two to three times greater risk for disease activity, according to research published Monday in the journal Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
The study, led by Dominik Meier, Ph.D. of Brigham and Women's Hospital, examined MRI screenings and other data taken from 1991 to 1993. This was before the availability of current traditional therapies to modify the course of the disease. 44 people aged 25 to 52 living in Boston participated in the study. They had MRIs weekly to monthly over the course of a year. The researchers also included weather information in their study. MRIs are the primary tools used to monitor the disease progress, as they show the scarring, also called lesions.
June 21st, 2010
02:15 PM ET
By Elizabeth Landau
A medication called Sativex has become the first drug fully approved for multiple sclerosis that is made from natural cannabis.
The United Kingdom's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved the drug, an oral spray, on Friday, and it went on sale in the country on Monday. The drug has been available in Canada on a limited basis since 2005 for the relief of neuropathic pain and advanced cancer pain, and also to a small number of patients in Spain. It is expected to be approved more broadly in Spain later this year.
Sativex is approved by prescription only for multiple sclerosis patients in the U.K. It targets the effects of spasticity, a symptom of multiple sclerosis caused by damage to nerves in the central nervous system. Loss of mobility and painful spasms may result from this involuntary stiffening of muscles.
The drug is sprayed into the mouth on the inside of the cheek or under the tongue, said Bayer Schering Pharma, the pharmaceutical company launching the product. Cannabis plants grown in a controlled environment give rise to the extracts that are the active ingredients of the drug.
The Multiple Sclerosis Trust, a U.K. charity, supported the launch of this medication.
June 11th, 2010
02:23 PM ET
By Georgiann Caruso
An FDA advisory committee on Thursday recommended approval of the first oral treatment for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.
The decision paves the way for final FDA approval of FTY720 or fingolimod before the end of September as a first-line choice for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.