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ECTRIMS 2013: The Meeting That Can End MS

Posted on: October 4th, 2013 by Kristin Zimmermann
Category: Health News, MS Silver Linings

profile of head with brain illuminated in blueThe European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) is holding its 29th annual congress NOW in Copenhagen, Denmark. Some of the greatest minds in medicine are gathered there to talk about the latest findings in MS research and possible clues to a cure. Here’s a very brief overview of some of the topics that are being discussed.

Vitamin D and MS
The consensus is that vitamin-D deficiency, from lack of sun exposure and/or dietary shortcomings, is a possible cause of MS. The idea of mass supplementation was discussed with some doctors stating that it’s perfectly safe to take up to 4,000 IU per day and it should be encouraged. Some doctors argued that there is not enough evidence to support the benefit of supplementation. There are already two vitamin-D clinical trials underway, but the studies are said to be hard to control due to participants consuming, or being inadvertently exposed to (via sunlight), vitamin D outside of the study. You can read more about this discussion here.

MS After Menopause
Evidence from a small study of female MS sufferers suggests that MS symptoms become more severe after menopause. It was emphasized that more research in this area is necessary before any firm answers are found, and there are several other, related factors to consider, including hormonal changes, age, and the natural progression of MS. You can read more about this discussion here.

MS Vision Problems More Apparent in Blacks
A four-year, US study produced evidence that retinal damage and visual impairment is worse in African American MS patients than in Caucasion-American patients. It is not clear whether this is due to genetic or environmental factors, but vision is now one of several MS symptoms that seem to be worse in African-American sufferers. Read more about this discussion here.

MS and a High-Sodium Diet
It has been reported in recent months that a high-salt diet may trigger the onset of autoimmune diseases including MS. Now, new evidence in an animal-model study suggests a high intake of salt may increase disease activity in those who are already diagnosed. You can read more about that here.

Early, Consistent Treatment Slows Disease Progression
It appears that patients who are treated with disease-modifying drugs at the first signs of MS, when it is still considered CIS (clinically isolated syndrome), have less disability than those whose treatment was delayed. Find more information about that here.

Are you following the news coming out of the ECTRIMS meeting? Please share your thoughts!

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