All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for May 2004

Multiple Sclerosis Treatment

May 10, 2004
Ben Swann
KFOX Morning News

Blurry vision, balance problems, your ability to walk is impaired, all symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. MS is a disease that often strikes without warning. It's victims are usually young and active, in their 20's and 30's. While there's no cure, researchers are testing a new drug to see if it prevents these symptoms from developing in many patients.

For Melissa Biglay and her husband Jesse, an empty parking lot makes an awesome remote control car speedway.

Melissa Biglay-MS Patient: "I've always been into cars."

When Melissa, who is 22 years old, gets a flare up of MS, she can't control her car.

Melissa Biglay-MS Patient: "I'd always over throttle and run into walls."

MS makes her unable to control her body.

Melissa Biglay-MS Patient: "My left hand would be numb. My balance would be off. It would be really hard to walk."

But not today, Melissa's medication seems to be working. You see, MS affects Melissa's body the same way a frayed wire would affect her car. The broken wire prevents signals from being transmitted to the car parts to make them move. MS causes inflammation in your spinal cord and brain. The inflammation damages the nerve covering, called myelin, which insulates your nerves. Nerve impulses can no longer be transmitted. Dr. Dean Wingerchuk says while it's still too early to know for sure, a new drug may stop the damage from progressing, heres his theory.

Dr. Dean Wingerchuk-Neurologist: "If we treat very aggressively, early in the disease, and get rid of as much inflammation as possible, we will be able to delay or perhaps even in some people prevent the nerve degeneration, the progression that occurs down the road."

As Melissa looks down the road at her future, she sees, yes an occasional dented fender. But, she also sees opening up her life, full throttle, with the hope of this new medication.

Unlike many current MS medications that have to be injected one or more times per week on an on-going basis, the new treatment is given by I-V all in one week. It's repeated once a year for two or three years. Again, this drug is still being tested. Dr. Wingerchuk says if it proves to be effective, it could change how MS is treated for many patients.

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