Nutrition Health Review

FALL 2017

Nutrition Health Review provides consumers updates on the latest medical research, news, trends, and products in nutrition and healthy living.

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21 Fall 2017 • Volume 117 Understanding MulƟple Sclerosis (MS) and IdenƟfying the Symptoms M ulƟple sclerosis (MS) occurs when an abnormal immune response causes the body's immune system to aƩack the central nervous system, made up of the brain, spinal cord, and opƟc nerves. Specifically, the immune system aƩacks the faƩy substance surrounding and insulaƟng nerve fibers, called myelin, along with the nerve fibers themselves. This causes nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord to be distorted or interrupted, which in turn produces the symptoms of MS. MS does not progress in a constant manner; the disease follows one of four disease courses, or phenotypes, and each course is unique in the way that acƟve periods, or periods of disease worsening (called "aƩacks" or "flare- ups"), and stable periods are structured. Severity of the disease ranges from mild, to moderate, to severe. Signs and Symptoms • First symptoms to arise include Ɵngling of the face, body, and limbs, as well as problems with vision • FaƟgue • Muscle weakness • Dizziness, verƟgo, and loss of balance • Muscle spasms • Bladder, bowel, and sexual dysfuncƟon • EmoƟonal changes, mood swings, and depression • DifficulƟes with memory, problem-solving, focus, and percepƟon Source: NaƟonal MulƟple Sclerosis Society (hƩps://www.naƟonalmssociety.org) NutriƟon Facts in MulƟple Sclerosis I n a review of research available on the NaƟonal MulƟple Sclerosis Society's website, Dr. Pavan Bhargava goes into detail regarding which aspects of nutriƟon affect symptoms of mulƟple sclerosis, and how diet possibly plays a role in the wellness of a paƟent with MS. Five popular diets that have been studied for MS were discussed, including the paleolithic diet, the Mediterranean diet, the McDougall diet, the gluten free diet, and the Swank diet. However, Dr. Bhargava argues that there is insufficient evidence to officially recommend any of these five diets for paƟents with MS. He does, however, idenƟfy common themes among these diets, noƟng that they each recommend avoiding processed food, foods with high glycemic index, foods high in saturated fats, and faƩy red meat. Each of the diets advocate for high consumpƟon of fruits and vegetables. In addiƟon, he elaborates on the idea of caloric restricƟon for paƟents with MS, ciƟng efficacy in animal models and explaining that clinical trials of caloric restricƟon for people with MS are currently underway at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Bhargava explains that while the MS community awaits the results of these and other trials, adopƟng these common themes might have beneficial effects for MS, and especially for overall health. Source: Bhargava P. Diet and mulƟple sclerosis. NaƟonal MulƟple Sclerosis Society website. hƩp://www.naƟonalmssociety.org/NaƟonalMSSociety/media/ MSNaƟonalFiles/Documents/Diet-and-MulƟple-Sclerosis-Bhargava-06-26-15. pdf Latest Treatment OpƟons for MulƟple Sclerosis A doctor will determine if a paƟent has MS through a series of blood tests, a lumbar puncture, an MRI, and evoked potenƟal tests, during which electrical impulses are applied to nerves in order to measure acƟvity. Treatment for MS focuses on speeding recovery from flare-ups, slowing the progression of the disease, and managing symptoms as they arise. There is no complete cure for MS. For MS flare-ups, corƟcosteroids are prescribed to paƟents with MS in order to reduce nerve inflammaƟon. Another course of treatment for flare-ups, mainly in severe cases, includes plasma exchange, in which the liquid porƟon of the blood, called plasma, is removed, separated from the blood cells, and replaced with a protein soluƟon. For modifying the progression of MS, different medicaƟons are available for paƟents depending on the specific type of their disease. These treatments are best used early in the disease process rather than later, to lower the relapse rate and slow the formaƟon of new nerve lesions. For the management of MS symptoms, physical therapy is uƟlized in order to combat muscle weakness and gait problems, and muscle relaxants are used to control muscle sƟffness and spasms. Source: Mayo Clinic Staff. MulƟple Sclerosis: Diagnosis and Treatment. 2014. hƩps://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-condiƟons/mulƟple-sclerosis/diagnosis- treatment/drc-20350274. Accessed Dec 12, 2017.

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