Healing MS Spring 2022

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Healing MS

The IMSMP Newsletter to address the needs of our patients and keep you informed of the latest research treatments and ways to heal
March is MS Awareness Month
This month, we've been highlighting our everyday inspiration, our patients. Our social media pages feature people who are tackling life and
"Making Meaning with MS." Though they might battle the daily challenges of their disease, they continue to find motivation and encouragement through their family, friends, and community to continue to be successful every day.
Stay Connected with Us
Tisch MS Research Center News
Epstein-Barr Virus and Multiple Sclerosis
Two high-impact papers were published at the beginning of this year that focused on the involvement of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection in multiple sclerosis. For our February 11th Journal Club at Tisch MSRCNY, research assistants (Joyce and Grant) presented the data included in both papers which was followed by a general discussion about the research implications derived from the studies. 

EBV is a very common lymphotropic herpesvirus (around 90% of the population are believed to be infected) and its link with MS as a causative agent has been suggested for many years. No clear evidence of the virus directly causing MS or the nature of the mechanism involved has been determined. The two published papers add additional evidence of the universality of EBV infection in persons with multiple sclerosis (Bjornevik, Cortese et al. 2022), and suggest a mechanism of action through virus-host protein mimicry and antibody cross reactivity (Lanz, Brewer et al. 2022). If EBV is proven to be the cause of MS, potential therapeutics like the use of antivirals or vaccines against this virus could be important for blocking disease.    
Dr. Roberto Alfonso's group at Tisch MSRCNY is working to understand the role of EBV in the development of MS and its contribution to immune dysregulation. One focus of the research specifically aims to understand whether a direct interaction between EBV and the central nervous system (CNS) is taking place in the context of MS, and whether this could contribute to the inflammation observed during disease. The main target of EBV are B-cells in the periphery, however, how this interaction might translate into pathogenesis in the CNS remains a mystery. The group’s preliminary results have uncovered, by means of in vitro experimentation, a possible link between EBV and the CNS that is mediated through the initial interaction of the virus with peripheral B-lymphocytes. Dr. Alfonso’s group is now trying to better characterize this interaction and to find evidence of its occurrence in vivo.

Bjornevik, K., et al. (2022). "Longitudinal analysis reveals high prevalence of Epstein-Barr virus-associated with multiple sclerosis." Science 375(6578): 296-301.
Lanz, T. V., et al. (2022). "Clonally expanded B cells in multiple sclerosis bind EBV EBNA1 and GlialCAM." Nature.
Infusion Suite Renovations Underway
Please take note that the infusion suite will be undergoing renovations for the next 2 months and will be utilizing an alternate space at the IMSMP for your infusion. For the time being, the infusion suite will be relocated to the Seidler Conference room, located on the 4th floor. Although there may be a minor impact on scheduling, the interim location ensures that patients will continue their infusions without interruption.

It is imperative to arrive for your infusion at the designated appointment time, no earlier than 15 minutes before your appointment time, and you may be asked to wait outside of the infusion suite until you are ready to be seen. If you are running late for your appointment, please notify the staff. You may be asked to reschedule your appointment. You may enter from either entrance, but upon arrival proceed to the front desk, and you will be guided to the temporary infusion suite.

Please charge all of your electronic devices prior to arrival, as you will not have access to electrical outlets. All COVID 19 safety precautions are still enforced at the IMSMP, and eating and drinking are discouraged. You may be permitted to eat/drink only if your infusion is greater than 3 hours. If your infusion is greater than 3 hours, please prepare and bring your own food/drinks. Guests and visitors are still not permitted, please speak with your infusion coordinator directly if you have any questions or concerns.
Thank you kindly for your patience during this transition.

Naturopathic News

Is it Time for an Oil Change?
Our brains are 60% fat and myelin is 70-85% fat. Fats are crucial for our brains’ structural integrity and performance. Beyond their role as brain-building blocks, fats become messengers that promote either inflammation and neuronal injury or neuroprotection and repair.
Symptoms of fatty acid imbalance include fatigue, poor memory, irritability, mood swings, depression, inflammation, and pain.
Choose Better to Feel Better
  • When we eat mostly unsaturated fats, our cell membranes become more mobile and flexible and our cells are healthier. Choose fats that are liquid at room temperature. Minimize fats that are solid at room temperature. Avoid hydrogenated oils and trans fats.
  • When we consume a better omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, we improve our mood and brain function and make anti-inflammatory messengers that reduce pain and inflammatory diseases. Eating fish, plants, nuts, and seeds while avoiding processed vegetable oils helps to restore a healthy omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.
  • When we consume enough DHA, the most specialized omega-3 fat, we provide our brains with the most important building block for repair. DHA is the predominant essential fatty acid in neuronal cells. When our cell membranes have good amounts of DHA, instead of making inflammatory messengers, they make protective molecules called resolvins and protectins that help to resolve inflammation and local damage. DHA is not abundant in a standard western diet, and we don’t make it well from precursors like flax oil. Fish is one of the only rich food sources of DHA. This is why fish is an important part of a brain-healthy diet.
To learn more about neuroprotective foods and how to eat for better brain health, sign up for a kitchen class with Dr. Bates at the Judi Volk-Weiss Wellness Center of the IMSMP.
Email KitchenLab@IMSMP.org.
Department of Rehabilitation News

Enhancement of Physical Wellness Services

In 2022, the Judi Volk-Weiss Wellness Center at the IMSMP will expand its personal training services with the addition of a boxing heavy bag, battle ropes, and TRX Bands. This specialized equipment is for patients who want to upgrade their physical wellness program beyond the goals set in a formal physical therapy program.  For some people with MS, these services can be an introduction back to the types of exercises that were performed in the years prior to one’s MS diagnosis.  

The enhanced physical wellness services include Battle Rope exercise programs, TRX Suspension® Programs, Bioness Vector® Endurance Training Program, Activator® Pole Endurance Training, and Flexibility Program as well as Licensed Massage Therapy Services. Evidence shows there are significant benefits in a properly prescribed exercise program.

At the IMSMP, patients can be prescribed a structured exercise program that can help minimize the physical decline that can occur from MS-related deconditioning.  When complemented with a skilled physical therapy program, wellness services can address all physiologic systems and maximize the potential for neuroplastic changes. The program can, not only combat the potential effects of multiple sclerosis, but also age-related decline. Sometimes that can be a bigger factor for people with MS to maximize safe and independent mobility and function.

The main feature of the rehabilitation and fitness programs within the Wellness Center at the IMSMP is the Bioness Vector® System.  This state-of-the-art technology has been used in rehabilitation programs for the past year at the IMSMP to allow patients who have been limited in their standing and walking due to MS to perform full PT sessions on their feet. Now it will be used to provide safe standing and sitting aerobic exercises. For many wellness program participants looking to improve their functional endurance and flexibility, the Activator® Poles will be integrated at the center with a corresponding home program to maximize the benefits from participation in the physical wellness program.

Battle ropes are well known in the fitness industry to provide full-body strengthening and conditioning.  At the IMSMP, these ropes can be used by a wide range of patients with MS due to the specific protocols that can be instructed. The use of the Bioness Vector® Body Weight Support system will prevent falls with the use of the battle ropes.  TRX® is one of the most popular forms of ‘suspension training’ which uses body weight as the prime variable in various exercises that can increase core stability, balance, strength, and joint flexibility. 

The addition of a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) has been a long-awaited service for many patients of the IMSMP. The benefits of massage and other soft tissue work can have a major benefit in functional mobility, posture, and decrease pain and spasticity.  The LMT will be working in conjunction with the medical and rehabilitation staff to ensure clinical continuity to work towards the agreed-upon individualized goals of each patient and their healthcare team.

For more information about the enhanced physical wellness services or to schedule an appointment to learn more, call (212) 265-8070.

Social Work News

Making Meaning with MS

The IMSMP would like to thank Adrienne Simpson for sharing her story of diagnosis, strength and resilience with us.

Adrienne reminds us when you put your mind and heart into overcoming obstacles, you can achieve so much more in life.

Click HERE to learn how Adrienne is Making Meaning with MS.
Development Department News

Upping the Ante for Research:
Friends of Joey Renda’s 10th Annual Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament

Ten years ago, a set of former Hunterdon Central High School Graduates set out to make a difference by organizing an event in the name of Joseph Renda, who was diagnosed with MS in 2004. Over the last decade, the Friends of Joey Renda have gone “all in” on supporting Tisch MS Research Center of New York’s groundbreaking research. Their Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament, held annually, has raised over $240,000 for our Phase II Stem Cell Trial and brought together family and friends from all over the country. Due to COVID, the tournament was held virtually for the second year in a row, with attendees playing on their smartphones, iPads, and tablets.

Thank you to Joey Renda, and all the Friends of Joey Renda for continuing this incredible fundraiser and raising $13,000 for Tisch MSRCNY this year!


Critters for the Cure

Bugged Out is a hand-printed line of clothing for children featuring whimsical bug, fruit, veggie, and critter designs. But these adorable illustrations do more than just inspire happiness, they help bring us closer to discovering the cause of, and developing a cure for MS. Since 2019, Bugged Out has been donating a portion of its proceeds to the Tisch MS Research Center of New York. Dina Lerman, Bugged Out’s creator and designer, found herself feeling “bugged out” after her MS diagnosis and wanted to help others in a similar position. She channeled these emotions into designing the 2007 MS Walk Team T-shirts, which would eventually evolve into designing children’s t-shirts, as well as masks, tote bags, and accessories. Her designs were sold at “Shop in the Garden'' at the New York Botanical Garden, the NYBG's Annual Holiday Train Show, and The Nassau County Museum of Art, in addition to being sold online and in stores across the country. This year, Bugged Out donated $5,000 for our research. Thank you Bugged Out and Dina for your continued support!

Team Tisch MS News

Would you like to learn more about Team Tisch MS and how you can get involved?
Click HERE or on the image above or Email us at: TTMS@TischMS.org
Follow Team Tisch MS on our social media pages below!
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