The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has published, today, research findings of neurologists at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., stating plasma exchange as a way to battle multiple sclerosis (MS).
When used as therapy, plasma exchange is a process where blood is taken from the body through a needle or catheter and plasma is removed from the blood by a cell separator. After this separation, the blood is then returned to the body and the plasma is treated and returned as well.
This is a therapy already used for those who have Guillain-Barre syndrome, Wegener’s granulomatosis, Graves’ Disease, HIV-related neuropathy, among other diseases and, just like any other therapy, there are risks and complications.
The lead author of today’s finding, Irene Cortese, M.D. says, “These types of neurologic disorders occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly causes damage to the nervous system. Plasma exchange helps because it removes factors in the plasma thought to play a role in these disorders.2“
The objective of the study was to reassess the role of plasma exchange to find how it could help those with neurologic disorders. What Dr. Cortese, Dr. Rae-Grant, Dr. Cantor, and others found while evaluating the available evidence, is that it would be effective as a secondary therapy for relapsing forms of MS but would not help those who have secondary progressive or other, chronic, forms of this disease3.
There are not many avenues to take, for those who have more progressive forms of the disease, but not for the want of trying. The AAN has approximately 23,0004 neurologists and professionals who are dedicated to helping those with MS, and other neurological diseases, battle their afflictions; whether with help with symptoms or looking for that cure.
This new finding does add to the arsenal in the battle, though, and there will be thousands who will be more than happy to find relief one way or another, when other therapies haven’t produced results.
*An interesting aside to all this is the 2011 Neuro Film Festival contest being put on by the AAN. It is to help raise awareness through video about brain disorders and how very important it is to keep research going to help find treatments, preventions and cures. The deadline if February 15, 2011 and they can be reached at neurofilmfestival.com for more information.
Sources: 1,2,4 patients.aan.com/news/?event=read&article_id=9308 press release (pdf link); 3 medicalnewstoday.com/articles/213944.php