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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Autumn 2020

A fresh look for NDIS support We’re all in this together – a message from our CEO Myth busting the stigma of attending counselling Food matters

RESEARCH RESEARCH ROUND

RESEARCH RESEARCH ROUND UP SUE SHAPLAND RN, BN, MSCN GENERAL MANAGER STRATEGIC SUPPORTS AND RESIDENTIAL OPTIONS FROM MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS NEWS TODAY Read more at: multiplesclerosis newstoday.com/news-post Timing Speed of Eye-to-Brain Signals May Be Way of Measuring Myelin Changes, Ian Duncan et al; PNAS December 26, 2019 116 (52) 27074-27083 Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison demonstrated that remyelination could be assessed using a well-known noninvasive test called visual evoked potential (VEP). Their study in cats suggests that measuring the speed of signals sent to the brain by nerves in the eye could help assess if remyelination is taking place. Duncan noted that latency does not fully recover, because the myelin newly formed is thinner than it was prior to being damaged. But “thin myelin is enough to restore function and sufficient to protect nerve fibers in the long run,” he said. The group stated that they have confirmed that VEP latencies reflect the myelin status of the optic nerve and will provide a surrogate marker in future remyelination clinical trials. Cognitive Decline in MS May Not Be Inevitable or Progressive, Marina Katsari et al; Journal of Neurology (2020). Progressive cognitive decline in patients with MS may not be as inevitable as previously thought. 59 patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) or relapsing– remitting (RR) MS were evaluated, over a 10-year course, using repeatable Neuropsychological Tests at baseline and follow-up. The proportion of MS patients with overall cognitive impairment was increased by 10% within the 10-year period. When grouped based on impairment in specific cognitive domains at baseline, patients originally impaired showed improvement at follow-up, while the opposite trend was observed for patients non-impaired at first assessment. A detailed case-by-case investigation revealed mixed patterns; several patients fail in fewer domains at follow-up compared to baseline or failing at different domains at follow-up compared to baseline. This study suggests a more fluid picture for the evolution of cognitive function in a subgroup of MS patients and contradicts the concept of an inevitable, progressively evolving cognitive decline. Road proximity, air pollution, noise, green space and neurologic disease incidence: a populationbased cohort study; Weiran Yuchi, et al. Environmental Health Emerging evidence links road proximity and air pollution with cognitive impairment. This study investigated associations between road proximity and exposures to air pollution, and joint effects of noise and greenness, on non-Alzheimer’s dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis within a population-based cohort. The group assembled health database cohorts of 678,000 45–84 year old residents of Metro Vancouver, Canada. Results: Road proximity was associated with all outcomes. Air pollutants were associated with incidence of Parkinson’s disease and non-Alzheimer’s dementia. Noise was not associated with any outcomes while associations with greenness suggested protective effects for Parkinson’s disease and non-Alzheimer’s dementia. 8

HERE WE PROVIDE SOME SUMMARIES OF RESEARCH SOURCED FROM WEBSITES IN AUSTRALIA AND AROUND THE WORLD; WE HOPE IT’S OF INTEREST TO YOU. WE HAVE INCLUDED BOTH MS SPECIFIC AND OTHER NEUROLOGICAL RESEARCH UPDATES. READ MORE AT MSWA.ORG.AU/RESEARCHUPDATE Inflammasome Pathway Linked to MS and Diseases of Aging Has an ‘Off’ Switch. Danica Chen et al. An early study suggests that immune cells have an inflammation ‘switch’ that involves the NLRP3 inflammasome pathway, and targeting it may prevent or even reverse chronic inflammation seen in diseases like MS and in conditions associated with ageing. The inflammation marking MS has been linked to NLRP3 inflammasome activation. The study, “An Acetylation Switch of the NLRP3 Inflammasome Regulates Aging-Associated Chronic Inflammation and Insulin Resistance,” was published in the journal Cell Metabolism. Chronic inflammation, resulting from an overactive immune response, can intensify with age and lead to a variety of illnesses, from Alzheimer’s and MS to cancer and diabetes. The molecular triggers responsible for provoking the immune system, however, are not clear. A team, led by researchers at the University Of California (UC), Berkeley, discovered a molecular “switch” that controls chronic inflammation in the body. The scientists used mouse models of aging and developed a cell-based system that models aging-associated inflammation. It simulates the effects of inflammation over metabolism — including for insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition marked by cells that no longer respond well to insulin. “My lab is very interested in understanding the reversibility of aging,” said Danica Chen, Professor at UC Berkeley. This suggests that targeting NLRP3 acetylation might actually reverse inflammatory conditions. “These results establish the dysregulation of the acetylation switch of the NLRP3 inflammasome as an origin of aging-associated chronic inflammation and highlight the reversibility of aging-associated chronic inflammation and insulin resistance,” researchers wrote. “I think this finding has very important implications in treating major human chronic diseases,” Chen said. “I think it’s more urgent than ever to understand the reversibility of aging-related conditions and use that knowledge to aid a drug development for aging-related diseases.” FROM THE MS TRUST Read more at: mstrust.org.uk 20% rise in the estimated number of people living with MS in the UK. New data from Public Health England and the MS Society reveals that the number of people living with MS in the UK has risen to over 130,000 – approximately 1 in every 500 people. The new UK MS prevalence figure is over 20% more than previously thought, rising from 109,000 people. The latest research also shows an increase in the incidence of MS, i.e. the number of newly diagnosed each year. The number of diagnoses has risen from an estimated 5,000 in 2017 to 6,700. The number of people living with MS in all four of the UK nations has also increased; with an estimated 15,750 in Scotland, 5,600 in Wales, 105,450 in England and 4,830 in Northern Ireland. The new figures don’t mean the risk of developing MS has increased. The increase could be related to improved survival in people with MS over the past 30 years. Another reason could be changes to diagnostic criteria resulting in people being diagnosed with MS earlier in life. STROKE RESEARCH UPDATE From Science Daily. Read more at: sciencedaily.com Genetic Liability to Insomnia and Cardiovascular Disease Risk. Circulation, 2019; Susanna C. Larsson, Hugh S. Markus. Data from more than a million people found that genetic liability to insomnia may increase the risk of coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke. Among types of ischemic stroke, genetic liability to insomnia was primarily associated with an increased risk of large artery stroke. "It's important to identify the underlying reason for insomnia and treat it," Larsson said. "Sleep is a behavior that can be changed by new habits and stress management." 9

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