A company that charged patients thousands of dollars for infusions of blood plasma from younger donors said Tuesday that it had stopped treating patients after the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers against such treatments, purported to prevent aging and memory loss.
The company, Ambrosia, said on its website that it had “ceased patient treatments.” The announcement came hours after the FDA issued a statement saying there is no proof that plasma from young donors can be used as a treatment for dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease or post-traumatic stress disorder, as some companies have claimed.
The plasma infusions can also be dangerous, the agency added, because they are associated with infectious, allergic, respiratory and cardiovascular risks.
People who have chronic inflammation in middle-age may develop problems with thinking and memory in the decades leading up to old age, according to a new study published in the February 13, 2019, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
There are two kinds of inflammation. Acute inflammation happens when the body’s immune response jumps into action to fight off infection or an injury. It is localized, short-term and part of a healthy immune system. Chronic inflammation is not considered healthy. It is a low-grade inflammation that lingers for months or even years throughout the body. It can be caused by autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis, physical stress or other causes. Symptoms of chronic inflammation include joint pain or stiffness, digestive problems and fatigue.
Ways to reduce chronic inflammation include getting regular exercise, following an anti-inflammatory heart healthy diet, and getting enough sleep.
Picture a bare wire, without its regular plastic coating. It’s exposed to the elements and risks being degraded. And, without insulation, it may not conduct electricity as well as a coated wire. Now, imagine this wire is inside your brain.
That’s what happens in many diseases of the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), spinal cord injuries, stroke, neonatal brain injuries, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Much like that bare wire, the nerve fibers in the brain lose their protective coating, called myelin, and become extremely vulnerable. This leaves the nerve cells exposed to their environment and reduces their ability to transmit signals quickly, resulting in impaired cognition, sensation, and movement.
It is commonly thought that in MS, the loss of axons (nerve fibres) contributes to the chronic disability found in many patients. This has led to the wide use of MRI to measure the cross sectional area of the spinal cord in order to predict disability.
But researchers from Queen Mary University of London have now sampled spinal cords of thirteen people with MS and five healthy controls, and found that spinal cord cross sectional area is not a good predictor of axonal loss.
Lead researcher Klaus Schmierer said: “The lack of association between axonal loss and spinal cord cross sectional area significantly changes our understanding of chronic disability in MS.
A new paper published in the Annals of Neurology reports the most common neurological diseases pose a serious annual financial burden for the nation.
The report notes that the current estimated annual cost to American society of just nine of the most common neurological diseases is staggering, totaling $789 billion in 2014 dollars. These conditions include Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, low back pain, stroke, traumatic brain injury, migraine, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and Parkinson’s disease.
Costs will increase even further over the coming years as the elderly segment of the population nearly doubles between 2011 and 2050. The costs of dementia and stroke alone are projected to total over $600 billion by 2030. The article provides an action plan for reducing this burden through infrastructure investment in neurological research and enhanced clinical management of neurological disorders.
Paula Meltzer was only 38 when out of nowhere everything she looked at was blurry. For the single mother, who had a lucrative career as a gemologist and spent hours examining valuable pieces of jewelry, it seemed as if — in a split second — her life changed.
At first doctors thought Meltzer had a brain tumor. What they determined after further tests, however, was that she had multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and central nervous system and was causing optic neuritis, an inflammation of the optic nerve that can cause a partial or complete loss of vision.
“I was living independently, doing my job, taking care of my child and then I had to look to my parents to take care of me,” Meltzer said.