MS Treatment - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Friday, May 21, 2004

MS Treatment

Blurry vision, you lose your balance, your ability to walk is impaired - all symptoms of MS. Multiple sclerosis 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, Mayo Clinic researchers are testing a new drug to see if it prevents these symptoms from developing in many patients.

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"ON YOUR MARK. GET SET. GO!"

FOR MELISSA BIGLAY AND HER HUSBAND JESSE, AN EMPTY PARKING LOT MAKES AN AWESOME REMOTE CONTROL CAR SPEEDWAY.

"I'VE ALWAYS BEEN INTO CARS."

BUT WHEN MELISSA, WHO'S 22, GETS A FLARE UP OF MS, SHE CAN'T CONTROL HER CAR.

"I'D ALWAYS OVER THROTTLE AND RUN INTO WALLS AND THINGS."

MS MAKES HER UNABLE TO CONTROL HER BODY.

"MY LEFT HAND WOULD BE NUMB."

AND HER "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.

BUT DR. DEAN WINGERCHUK SAYS WHILE IT'S STILL TOO EARLY TO KNOW FOR SURE, A NEW DRUG MAY STOP THE DAMAGE FROM PROGRESSING. THE THEORY IS...

"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."

(SOUND) AND 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, (SOUND) 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 IV all in one week. It's repeated once a year for two or three years. Again, this drug is still being tested. But Dr. Wingerchuk says if it proves to be effective, it could change how MS is treated for many patients. For more information, log onto http://www.medicaledge.org/2004apr.html#4

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