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    You are here : Home » MS Research News » Technology And MS

    Technology And MS

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    More news can be found in New Pathways Magazine, our bi-monthly publication, and also check daily at MSRC: Latest MS News.

    New eye scan found helpful in diagnosis of multiple sclerosis patients

    EyesA simple, non-invasive eye test could offer a way to measure how fast multiple sclerosis is progressing in a patient. The scan, known as Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), takes just a few minutes per eye and can be performed at a GPs surgery.

    Researchers from John Hopkins University performed scans on 164 M.S. patients, measuring the thickness of the lining at the back of the eye. It was determined that patients with thinning of the retina had both earlier and more active forms of the disease.

    Fifty-nine of the patients showed no symptoms. All patients received exams for six months for around 21 months. They also gave them MRI brain scans once a year.

    Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord, causing problems with muscle movement, balance and vision.

    Around eight out of 10 people with M.S. have a type known as relapsing remitting. People will have periods where symptoms are mild or disappear altogether followed by flare-ups with this version of the disease. After around 10 years, half of patients will develop secondary progressive disease where symptoms get worse, with little remission.

    Monitoring the disease is highly difficult because its course can be unpredictable. Scientists believe OCT could provide a good way to do this.

    "As more therapies are developed to slow the progression of MS, testing retinal thinning in the eyes may be helpful in evaluating how effective those therapies are," study author Dr Peter Calabresi says.

    The study found that people with MS relapses had 42 percent faster thinning than people with MS who had no relapses.

    In addition, the MRI scans revealed people with MS who had signs of active inflammation, such as gadolinium-enhancing lesions experienced 54 percent faster thinning.

    Patients, in the meantime whose level of disability worsened during the study experienced 37 percent more thinning than those who had no changes in their level of disability.

    The study was supported by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the National Eye Institute and Braxton Debbie Angela Dillon and Skip Donor Advisor Fund.

    Source: Catholic Online Copyright 2012 Catholic Online (27/12/12)

    FDA clears startup's virtual trial for drug against multiple sclerosis

    NeuronsTransparency Life Sciences picked up a win for its bet on open innovation in transforming drug development. The FDA cleared the developer's IND application to study a generic hypertension drug for a new potential use in patients with multiple sclerosis, after the startup tapped crowdsourced input from experts and patients on aspects of the clinical trial.

    The study not only used New York-based Transparency's web-based Protocol Builder software to gather ideas on the design of the Phase II effort, but the trial will also be partially virtual. After patients' initial visits to trial sites, the planned 12-month study is expected to use telemonitoring technology from Advanced Monitored Caregiving and other partners to track participants until their final checkups, COO Marc Foster explained to FierceBiotechIT.

    With these outside-the-box strategies, Transparency aims to drive down the cost of clinical trials by at least 50%. This is a big goal and one not easily achieved industry-wide, and at first blush, the startup's bold idea might draw some healthy skepticism. As published in a Nature Reviews Drug Discovery article in March, the number of FDA approvals per billion dollars in research money spent has been steadily declining over the past 60 years or so. The authors dubbed this "Eroom's Law," which is Moore's Law spelled backwards. Transparency's Foster believes there is hope for reversing the troubling trend.

    "I think it's doable. It takes a fresh approach. It takes a bold approach," Foster said in a phone interview. "Just tinkering with the status quo is not working, and it's really resulted in an unsustainable clinical development model that has translated into escalating costs."

    How does Transparency expect to drastically reduce the cost of clinical research? For starters, the company is crowdsourcing patients and healthcare experts to augment its reliance on internal thought leaders to design trial protocols. Its hope is to show that this is an efficient and effective approach to protocol design, which can take substantial time and money to complete

    In the MS study, the company wants to trial a new use of a widely prescribed generic heart drug in the ACE inhibitor lisinopril, which has a well-established safety profile that allows the startup to begin its program with a midstage study. (A company co-founder documented the generic drug's benefits for MS in animal studies, resulting in a new method of use patent filing.) Foster also aims to get discounted supplies of the drug from generics companies. Overall, he sees an opportunity to pick up drugs that are ready for Phase II from around the industry, using the company's open innovation approach to reduce development costs of the molecules, with plans to license successful candidates to partners after midstage studies. The partners would foot the hefty bills for Phase III trials.

    The company has found a lead investigator at Stanford who treats many MS patients, and Foster sees an opportunity to cut recruitment costs by enrolling all the estimated 150 to 180 study participants from the San Francisco Bay Area. Recruitment is notoriously expensive, and drawing from the investigator's large pool of patients for the study could significantly reduce that expense.

    The next bucket of savings is expected to come from reduced clinical monitoring costs because participants will self-report their status from their homes with mobile devices for most of the study, reducing the cost of traveling to clinics with high costs of doing business, Foster says. Transparency is considering a GPS-enabled system to provide remote monitoring of MS patients' movements, as their neurological disorder causes progressive disability.

    Transparency is taking a hybrid approach to virtual clinical development that might just work. We'll keep track of its progress.

    Source: FierceBiotechIT © 2012 FierceMarkets (20/12/12)

    Nanoparticles show potential for treating MS

    NanoparticlesResearchers say they've been able to use nanoparticles to stop multiple sclerosis (MS) in mice that are bred to have the disease.

    The particles are about 200 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair. They are made from the same material that's used to create dissolving stitches.

    When researchers attach specific proteins to the particles, they say they're able to teach the body not to attack its own tissues.

    If the approach succeeds in human studies, it may one day lead to more targeted treatments not only for multiple sclerosis but also for other kinds of autoimmune disorders, including type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

    The research is published in the journal Nature Biotechnology. The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Myelin Repair Foundation, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and the Australian government.

    Turning Down an Autoimmune Attack

    In multiple sclerosis, the body attacks its own myelin. Like the insulation around electric wires, myelin is a material that coats nerve fibers, allowing them to effectively carry signals that power the body.

    Over time, people with MS may develop a host of problems related to myelin damage, including trouble with muscle coordination, movement, numbness, pain, and vision problems. About 80% of people with MS have the relapsing-remitting form. The mice in this study were bred to have this type of MS.

    Researchers wondered if they could stop that process by making use of the body's "garbage disposal system." In addition to protecting the body from foreign invaders, an important role of the immune system is getting rid of dead cells.

    When dead or dying cells pass through the spleen, big white blood cells called macrophages gobble them up. As part of this process the macrophages send signals to other parts of the immune system, letting them know that the dying cells aren't dangerous, just routine bits of trash that need to go.

    Years ago, researcher Stephen D. Miller, PhD, an immunologist in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, figured that it might be possible to hijack this garbage removal system and get the body to recognize -- and then ignore -- proteins it was mistaking for threats.

    "What we've done is simply tap into a system that the immune system was smart enough to evolve millions of years ago to get rid of dead and dying cells," Miller says.

    He's already tried the approach in humans using white blood cells that were first collected and then killed. He then attached proteins to the dying cells and infused them into the body. In an early safety trial, Miller says that approach appeared to be well tolerated.

    "There [were no side effects], there was no re-triggering of disease, and we actually showed that immune responses in patients were decreased," Miller says.

    But other immune responses, such as protection against certain infections, remained strong. That suggests that patients treated this way wouldn't see the kind of general immune suppression that happens with current treatments for autoimmune diseases.

    Testing Nanoparticles

    The problem with using whole cells, however, is that it's time consuming and expensive.

    So Miller wondered if it might be possible to try the same thing with synthetic nanoparticles. First they tried tiny plastic beads. But since those don't break down in the body, he asked his Northwestern colleague Lonnie Shea, PhD, who is a biomedical engineer, for help finding another material that might be safer.

    They decided on poly(lactide-co-glycolide), or PLG. It's a material that's used to make sutures, grafts, and other things that are meant to slowly dissolve in the body. By first dissolving PLG and then spinning the watery solution very rapidly, they were able to make tiny particles that could carry myelin proteins.

    When they infused these protein-coated particles into the mice, they were able to both prevent the development of a mouse disease that mimics MS and to stop attacks in mice that already had the disease.

    "We think this is actually a simpler option. You don't have to manipulate cells and put an antigen on them. This way, you could have an off-the-shelf product," Shea says.

    What's more, the nanoparticles can be coated in many different kinds of proteins, which means they could one day treat other kinds of autoimmune diseases and even problems like food allergies.

    "There are just so many possible applications of this, it's fun to think about," says Shea.

    First, though, the technology has to be tested in humans. Before that can happen, Miller says they need to conduct more animal trials. If all goes well, he thinks the first human studies might be two years away.

    Source: WebMD ©2005-2012 WebMD, LLC. (19/11/12)

    Results for TMS for fatigue in MS trial released

    FatigueFurther to that stated in Brainsway's periodic report for 2011 regarding the double-blind clinical trial being conducted at the Charite Hospital in Berlin and at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Hamburg to assess the safety and efficacy of the Company's Deep TMS device for the treatment of fatigue and depression symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, the Company is pleased to announce the final results of the trial.

    The final results are in respect of 28 patients (out of 34 recruited into the trial originally). The trial subjects were divided into three groups: a sham-stimulation control group, a treatment group that received high-frequency (18 Hz) left prefrontal stimulation, and an additional treatment group that received low-frequency (5 Hz) motor cortex stimulation. Each subject received a series of treatments, three times a week over six weeks. The effects of the treatment were evaluated during the treatment period and over the course of the subsequent 6-week period.

    The effects of the treatment on subjects' fatigue levels were assessed using standard fatigue rating scales such as the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS), the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS); and its effects on subjects' depression levels were assessed using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS). The present study was primarily concerned with treating fatigue and depression, and did not examine the stimulation parameters for treating the motor symptoms of MS.

    Measures of Device Safety

    No serious side effects were reported in the study. Mild side effects were reported by some of the subjects in each group, but these resolved on their own within a few days.

    Efficacy of Deep TMS Device for Treatment of Depression and Fatigue Symptoms

    Measures of Fatigue - Analysis of fatigue rating scale scores revealed a statistically significant (p<0.05) improvement on all scales in the 5-Hz motor cortex stimulation treatment group, with onset of improvement on some of the scales occurring only after the conclusion of the treatment series. In contrast, the 18-Hz left prefrontal stimulation treatment group exhibited significant improvement (p<0.05) in scores only on the ESS and VAS, while the sham-stimulation control group improved significantly (p<0.05) only on the VAS.

    Measures of Depression - A significant improvement on the BDI and the PANAS was observed in the 5-Hz motor cortex stimulation group (p=0.001 and p=0.046, respectively), while the other groups' scores on these depression rating scales did not change significantly.

    According to the investigators, these results indicate that Deep TMS therapy with the Company's device is safe and effective for the treatment of fatigue and depression symptoms in MS patients. They also note that additional, more extensive studies should be performed to explore the effects of Deep TMS treatment.

    Source: Yahoo! Finance Copyright © 2012 GlobeNewswire (16/11/12)

    OCT scans use eye as 'window into the brain' for MS prognosis

    EyeThe connection is common. Eyes are like windows — they can reveal as much about a person as a bay casement can about the room it illuminates. And according to two studies recently released by Johns Hopkins University, that predominantly spiritual image may, now more firmly than ever, actually have a basis in scientific fact.

    Johns Hopkins researchers found that an inexpensive eye scan system has the ability to assess brain inflammation accurately in people with devastating autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis (MS). The tool, known as optical coherence tomography (OCT), surveys the nerves deep in the rear of the eye, evaluating previously immeasurable layers of light-sensitive retinal tissue. What’s more, an OCT costs one-tenth of an MRI; it also doesn’t apply harmful radiation to the patient being tested.

    "Eye scans are not that expensive, are really safe, and are widely used in ophthalmology, and now that we have evidence of their predictive value in MS, we think they are ready for prime time,” Peter A. Calabresi, MD, a professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of the studies, said in a news release. “We should be using this new quantitative tool to learn more about disease progression, including nerve damage and brain atrophy."

    For one examination — the results of which were published in the journal Lancet Neurology — Calabresi and his team measured the swelling of the inner layer of the retina in 164 patients with MS; 60 control patients were also involved, and all of the studies’ cohort were given MRIs to measure possible swelling in the brain. If swelling was particularly severe in a given patient’s OCT scan, researchers found that the brain showed a similar increase in inflammation, suggesting a direct relationship between the organs.

    In a second study Calabresi and colleagues looked at eye and brain scans of 84 MS patients and 24 healthy controls. This time, they focused on two other deep retinal layers, the ganglion cell layer + inner plexiform layer (GCL+IPL), and the peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (pRFNL). Greater cell wasting in those areas was strongly correlated with more atrophy in the gray matter of the brain, signifying more nerve damage from MS.

    Collectively, both studies trumpeted the effectiveness of OCTs in relaying valuable information about the brain, through the eye.

    “It’s a way of driving quantitative information about how healthy the nerves are in the back of the eye,” Calabresi said. “And now that it definitively relates to what’s happening in the rest of the brain, we think that certainly every MS clinic should have this and we’re starting to develop some evidence that it may have applications in other neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, maybe Parkinson’s disease.

    Calabresi expressed to PhysBizTech that while some of the results were surprising, information such as this was right on point.

    “The surprising part was that the patient has much inflammation in their eyes and actually had what we would call macular edema — the swelling in the back of the eye, the retina, that had previously been mostly linked with patients who have diabetes or typically if they were older patients,” he said. “It hadn’t been described in many patients who had multiple sclerosis previously, so that was a surprise. And the extent of the inflammation was a surprise. We were going into this hypothesizing that the eye was going to be a window into the brain, so the fact that it did have a predictive value for the brain parameters of MS was not totally surprising, but of course we were pleased that the results were highly significant.”

    The findings suggest that more of neurology become acquainted with OCT scans as a means to further develop prognosis practices in the beginning stages of MS and other similar conditions.

    “It’s really not diagnostic; it’s prognostic,” Calabresi added. “You still need other information to diagnosis the disease and the findings that we are looking at are not necessarily specific to MS, they can be seen in other disease. But I do think that they will have a role in assessing patients and determining whether they are at risk for more aggressive forms of the disease.”

    Calabresi listed the following as key aspects physicians and specialist should remember about the research:

    1. These little micro-cysts that are a form of macular edema can actually occur in young people with MS. If people see or hear that they have macular edema, they should start thinking beyond the eye, thinking that this could be a sign of inflammation in the rest of the brain as well.

    2. MS may not be a disease that’s limited to the milinated portions of the nervous system. We think that this may really shift our thinking about MS, guide us toward thinking about MS as an inflammatory disease of the nervous system and not just the milan.

    3. This [method] could be used as an outcome measure in clinical trials, reparative therapies.

    Source: PhysBizTech © 2012 MedTech Media (19/10/12)

    Study suggests retina's thickness may be tied to severity of MS

    EyeUsing a high-tech imaging process to measure the thickness of the eye's retina may one day predict the progression of multiple sclerosis, a new study suggests.

    The finding might lead to better ways to judge the effectiveness of treatments because different parts of the retina seem to indicate different aspects of the disease and the toll it takes on different parts of the brain, the researchers said.

    The report was published online Oct. 1 in the Archives of Neurology.

    Multiple sclerosis is thought to be an autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system, which consists of the brain, the spinal cord and optic nerves. Symptoms range from mild effects, such as numbness in the limbs, to severe, such as paralysis or blindness.

    "In treating multiple sclerosis we have been tremendously successful in reducing the number of attacks," said Dr. Ari Green, assistant clinical director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of an accompanying editorial in the journal.

    That's the inflammatory part of the disease, Green explained. "We are very successful at treating inflammation in multiple sclerosis. We are less successful in being able to treat or reverse disability," he said.

    Methods that help speed up the testing of therapies are needed if progress in treating the disability caused by MS is going to happen, Green said.

    And because the retina is part of the central nervous system, it's like a window to the brain and can provide a lot of information about different areas of the brain, he explained.

    "If we can figure out how to properly use this imaging [called optical coherence tomography] -- perhaps with other tests -- for predicting disability in multiple sclerosis, we could accelerate therapies that could make a difference in patients' lives," Green said.

    The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye. It switches images to electric signals and sends them through the optic nerve to the brain.

    For the new study, the researchers looked at the retinas of 84 patients with multiple sclerosis and compared them with 24 healthy people.

    "The inner and outer retinal layer thickness, measured by optical coherence tomography, may reflect global and potentially distinct central nervous system processes in multiple sclerosis," said lead researcher Dr. Shiv Saidha, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins University.

    These findings may not be associated with the condition of the eye, but rather with changes in the brain itself, he said.

    "If confirmed, the implications of our study findings are that OCT [optical coherence tomography] -- a relatively inexpensive, non-invasive, well-tolerated, reproducible and easily repeatable investigation -- may be a complementary technique to MRI [magnetic resonance imaging], providing useful information regarding the global aspects of the multiple sclerosis disease process," Saidha said.

    The imaging technique may help researchers evaluate the effectiveness of new treatments because their impact might be reflected in changes in the retina, Saidha added.

    Green said the technique might also have similar potential for other brain diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.

    "Everything we have tried to prevent neurodegeneration so far has failed," Green said. "We don't have any treatments in that area that are of proven benefit the way we do in heart disease and cancer. So it's a huge unmet need to treat neurodegenerative disease."

    Source: US News Health © 2012 U.S.News & World Report LP (02/10/12)

    Eye-tracking glasses may change the way those with MS interact with the world

    Eye Tracking DeviceMillions of people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries or amputees could soon interact with their computers and surroundings using just their eyes, thanks to a new device that costs less than £40.

    Composed from off-the-shelf materials, the new device can work out exactly where a person is looking by tracking their eye movements, allowing them to control a cursor on a screen just like a normal computer mouse.

    The technology comprises an eye-tracking device and 'smart' software that have been presented today in the Journal of Neural Engineering.

    Researchers from Imperial College London demonstrated its functionality by getting a group of people to play the classic computer game Pong without any kind of handset.

    In addition users were able to browse the web and write emails 'hands-off'.

    The GT3D device is made up of two fast video game console cameras, costing less than £20 each, that are attached outside of the line of vision to a pair of glasses that cost just £3.

    The cameras constantly take pictures of the eye, working out where the pupil is pointing, and from this the researchers can use a set of calibrations to work out exactly where a person is looking on the screen.

    Even more impressively, the researchers are also able to use more detailed calibrations to work out the 3D gaze of the subjects - in other words, how far into the distance they were looking. It is believed that this could allow people to control an electronic wheelchair simply by looking where they want to go or control a robotic prosthetic arm.

    To demonstrate the effectiveness of the eye-tracker, the researchers got subjects to play the video game Pong. In this game, the subject used his or her eyes to move a bat to hit a ball that was bouncing around the screen - a feat that is difficult to accomplish with other read-out mechanisms such as brain waves (EEG).

    Dr Aldo Faisal, Lecturer in Neurotechnology at Imperial's Department of Bioengineering and the Department of Computing, is confident in the ability to utilise eye movements given that six of the subjects, who had never used their eyes as a control input before, could still register a respectable score within 20 per cent of the able bodied users after just 10 minutes of using the device for the first time.

    The commercially viable device uses just one watt of power and can transmit data wirelessly over Wi-Fi or via USB into any Windows or Linux computer.

    The GT3D system has also solved the 'Midas touch problem', allowing users to click on an item on the screen using their eyes, instead of a mouse button.

    This problem has previously been resolved by staring at an icon for a prolonged period or blinking; however, the latter is part of our natural behaviour and happens unintentionally. Instead, the researchers calibrated the system so that a simple wink would represent a mouse click, which only occurs voluntarily unlike the blink.

    Dr Faisal said: 'Crucially, we have achieved two things: we have built a 3D eye tracking system hundreds of times cheaper than commercial systems and used it to build a real-time brain machine interface that allows patients to interact more smoothly and more quickly than existing invasive technologies that are tens of thousands of times more expensive.

    'This is frugal innovation; developing smarter software and piggy-backing existing hardware to create devices that can help people worldwide independent of their healthcare circumstances.'

    See how it works.

    Source: Mail Online © Associated Newspapers Ltd 2012 (16/07/12)

    Medical device can now help diagnose and monitor disease development in MS patients

    Eyebrain LogoEyeBrain, a company developing medical devices for the early diagnosis and monitoring of neurological diseases, announces today that it is launching a new software version of its medical device, the EyeBrain Tracker.

    This means it can now contribute to the diagnosis of this pathology by confirming eye motricity impairment, which is a sensitive marker for multiple sclerosis, as well as monitoring patients’ progress and verifying the effect of therapies prescribed by practitioners.

    People with multiple sclerosis often suffer from transitory or permanent neuro-ophthalmological problems, with disruptions in eye movements affecting between 60 - 80 per cent of these patients. The most frequently observed peculiarities are alterations in saccades and pursuits (tracking movements), as well as anomalies in patients’ ability to focus and hold a look.

    These eye movement indicators are valuable for determining the state of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis and for monitoring the development of the disease. A study carried out by Dr. E. M. Frohman, from the department of neurology at the University of Texas Southwestern, showed that oculographic techniques make it possible to detect typical eye movement anomalies in the case of multiple sclerosis more precisely than a classic visual examination carried out by a clinician. The study, which was conducted on 279 medical practitioners, showed that, in 70 per cent of cases, a clinical examination did not enable eye movement anomalies to be detected (Accuracy of clinical detection of INO in MS: corroboration with quantitative infrared oculography, by Frohman TC, Frohman EM, O’Suilleabhain P, Salter A, Dewey RB Jr, Hogan N, et al).

    From this standpoint, the EyeBrain Tracker can provide vital assistance to neurologists for monitoring patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. The EyeBrain Tracker effectively makes it possible to analyze a sensitive and quantifiable marker of anatomical function, namely eye motricity, including internuclear ophthalmoplegia. Since this marker is reproducible, it can provide quantified monitoring of the progress of the disease.

    “There is currently no tool that provides an accurate quantification of the development of multiple sclerosis,” noted the chairman of EyeBrain, Serge Kinkingnéhun. “The EyeBrain Tracker can thus be a valuable aid for neurologists in the treatment of their patients, especially regarding the choice of drugs and their dosing.”

    The upgraded version of the EyeBrain Tracker medical device for application in multiple sclerosis has been available since December. Clients who already possess the EyeBrain Tracker can upgrade it themselves with the help of the company’s after-sales service or through a maintenance visit.

    Multiple sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune neurological disease of the central nervous system. It is multifactorial and its clinical manifestations are linked to the demyelination of the nervous fibres of the central nervous system (brain, spine and optic nerve). The disease affects 80,000 people in France and more than 600,000 people in the European Union.

    About EyeBrain
    EyeBrain manufactures medical devices for the early diagnosis of neurological diseases. These devices are based on the movement of the eyes, and they make it possible to test specific regions of the brain by recording and analyzing eye movements using very sophisticated algorithms developed by the company. EyeBrain’s devices fill a gap in neurological diagnostics. For the first time, clinicians can rely on a simple set of eye movement parameters to differentiate between very similar syndromes, such as progressive supra-nuclear paralysis (PSP) and cortico-basal degeneration (CBD). The test is easy to carry out, non-invasive, and the results are available in less than 20 minutes for a small cost.

    The Mobile EyeBrain Tracker (EBT) comes as a complete solution including helmet, a computer with two screens, and stimulation and analysis software. It is already being used routinely in hospitals to help with the early characterization of Parkinsonian syndromes, to assist in the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and to monitor the development of these pathologies. Studies are also underway to characterize the eye motricity anomalies involved in reading difficulties, such as those experienced by people with dyslexia.

    The Mobile EBT is the only device of its kind in the world to have obtained CE marking. The company has ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certification.

    EyeBrain, which is based in the Paris suburb of Ivry-sur-Seine, was founded in 2008 and currently employs 15 people. It has raised funding of EUR 1.2 million from the CapDecisif and G1J venture capital funds and already generates revenues through the sale of the EyeBrain Tracker. It is engaged in collaborations with the French National Health and Medical Research Institute (INSERM), the French National Scientific Research Center (CNRS), Paris University Hospitals group, the University of Paris-Descartes, and the French Brain and Spinal Cord Institute.

    Source: Eyebrain (16/01/12)

    Brainsway announces interim results in Multiple Sclerosis clinical trial

    Brainsway LogoBrainsway Ltd. announced that it had received interim results with respect to 26 patients from a double-blinded clinical trial being conducted at the Charite Hospital in Berlin and at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Hamburg to assess the safety and efficacy of the Company's Deep TMS device for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

    The trial subjects were divided into three groups: a sham-stimulation control group, a treatment group that received high-frequency (18 Hz) left prefrontal stimulation, and an additional treatment group that received low-frequency (5 Hz) motor cortex stimulation. Each subject received a series of treatments three times per week over a period of six weeks. The effects of the treatment were evaluated over the course of the subsequent six-week period.

    The effects of the treatment on subjects' fatigue levels were assessed using standard fatigue rating scales such as the Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS), the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale (MFIS) and the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS); and its effects on subjects' depression levels were assessed using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS).

    Analysis of fatigue rating scale results revealed a significant improvement in FSS scores in the motor cortex stimulation treatment group, as well as a tendency towards significant improvement in the left prefrontal stimulation treatment group. A non-significant improvement in VAS scores was observed in the left prefrontal stimulation group, and both treatment groups also displayed non-significant improvement in MFIS scores. The control group showed either no improvement or only non-significant improvement on fatigue rating scales.

    As for the treatment's effect on depression, a significant improvement on the BDI and the PANAS was observed in the motor cortex stimulation group, while the other groups' scores on these depression rating scales did not change significantly.

    The principle investigator commented, "These results indicate that Deep TMS therapy with Brainsway's device is safe and effective for the treatment of MS patients, and that it may even alleviate these patients' fatigue symptoms. Of note, the treatment's effects on metabolic and neural activity have not yet been investigated, and will be addressed in future studies."

    Source: Market Watch Copyright © 2011 MarketWatch, Inc (30/12/11)

    Brainsway reports positive results in MS study

    Brainsway LogoBrainsway Ltd. has reported positive results in a safety and efficacy trial of its non-invasive proprietary coil to stimulate the motor cortex for the lower limbs in patients with advanced multiple sclerosis.

    The double blind trial was conducted by Advanced Technologies Innovation Distribution SrL on 23 patients at INSPE Medical Center in Milan. Half the patients were treated by the device over three weeks, and half received a placebo.

    Success was measured as the ability to walk ten meters in six minutes, a standard measurement under the Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS). The patients who received the treatment showed a clear statistical improvement compared with the patients who received the placebo. No side effects were recorded.

    The researchers cautioned that the results must be confirmed in a larger multicenter trial.

    Source: Globes © © Globes 2011 All rights reserved.(24/10/11)

    MS could be diagnosed early with ‘electronic nose’
    MS DiagnosisThe “electronic nose,” developed by a young chemical engineer and his colleagues at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, has been proven to detect lung and other cancers from breath. It has also succeeded in diagnosing in the same way multiple sclerosis.

    The non-invasive technique using sensors, which has been called a “breakthrough” in early diagnosis of the disease that first appears in young adults, was reported in the latest issue of the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

    Prof. Hossam Haick, who still in his 30s has received numerous prestigious scientific awards, developed the electronic sensor in the Technion’s chemical engineering faculty and the Russell Berrie Institute for Nanotechnology Research, together with Prof. Ariel Miller of the Technion’s Rappaport Medical Faculty and Carmel Medical Center in Haifa.

    While no cure has yet been found for MS, in which the immune system of the body mistakenly regards the myelin coating of nerves as a “stranger” and attacks it, a number of medications – most of them, like Copaxone, developed in Israel – can slow and reduce the neurological attacks that can cause loss of muscle function, paralysis and pain.

    Conventional diagnosis of MS, which first appears as numbed nerves, has been via expensive MRI scanning and the examination of spinal fluid. But in their first clinical study, Haick and Miller identified organic compounds in the breath that are a sign of MS. They developed nanometric sensors and tested them on 34 MS patients and 17 normal volunteers. The results were found to be accurate.

    The researchers predicted that MS could be diagnosed at an early stage and non-invasively using the sensors.

    “It is a very early stage, and the research will continue with the aim of developing speedy diagnosis for MS and other chronic neurological diseases. The sensors could also detect neurological attacks after the disease is diagnosed so treatment to halt the attacks can be given.”

    Haick is the founder and chief scientific officer of the Nanose Ltd., a leading developer of advanced nanotechnology for cancer detection by breath analysis.

    He received his BSc. from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and completed his PhD in chemical engineering at the Technion in 2002. After a two-year period at the Weizmann Institute of Science, he went to the California Institute of Technology-Caltech for postdoctoral research and returned to the Technion in 2006. He has received a Fulbright fellowship, the Science and Technology Ministry award, Prof. Avrahami prize, and CNR-IMIP prize.

    Source: The Jerusalem Post © The Jerusalem Post 1995 - 2011 (17/10/11)

    Tongue stimulation study shows promise in helping MS patients

    Tongue StimulationKurt Shafer is walking stronger and more confidently than he has in years, and he credits an experimental electronic device he uses five times a day.

    "The fact that I have improved is really the hope that people need to go on living," said Shafer.

    Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis six years ago, Shafer recently enrolled in a clinical study at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

    MS is an autoimmune disorder which damages the nervous system and interrupts signals between the brain and the muscles.

    "The thing about MS is, there's no cure for it. They do have drugs that help you go downhill slower, but there was nothing to help you improve," Shafer said.

    Several times a day, while exercising, reading or writing, Shafer places an electronic device in his mouth. It rests on his tongue and emits low grade vibrations.

    "It feels like Pop Rocks on my tongue," he said.

    The vibrations stimulate the cranial nerve in the tongue, sending new pathways around damaged areas of the brain. Preliminary data from the Wisconsin study shows the device has tremendous potential for resolving balance problems seen in patients with MS.

    Shafer more than doubled his walking ability, though he navigates with ski poles as a safeguard against tripping. He makes light of his gait, but he's completely mobile.

    "It looks like I went to the Frankenstein school of walking. But I'm a lot better and there are so many people that could get better too," Shafer said.

    His wife, Mary Shafer said the device has changed their lives, allowing them freedom to leave the house without the constant worry of Kurt falling.

    "Within two weeks, everything had turned around. We saw life opening up again. And having hope is an amazing thing," said Mary.

    Shafer was so pleased with his improvement, he's working to help replicate the study in Omaha to push the device closer to getting FDA approval.

    "He's not only given us dollars but he's shared his passion with us," said Melanie Welsh, director of development at the University of Nebraska Foundation.

    Shafer personally wrote a cheque to the NU Foundation to start a research fund called "Train the Brain" so that The University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute could replicate the study in Omaha.

    The foundation is still seeking funding for the project which will cost $250,000. Welsh said the study will rely on the support of private donations and they'll seek funding from the National Institute of Health.

    Welsh said the device could have huge implications in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, autism, traumatic brain injury and even Parkinson's disease.

    Dr. Max Kurz, a researcher with Munroe-Meyer Institute, will run the study. His team was the first to test the brain device to help resolve balance issues in children.

    Mary said she's proud of the way her husband has dealt with MS.

    "He has absolutely taken the attitude that there must be some reason I got MS, some reason I got into this study and if I can send this out to other people, some of this makes sense," said Mary.

    Source: KETV Omaha © 2011, Hearst Properties Inc. (01/07/11)

    © Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre (MSRC)

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