Friday, 1 July 2016

Congrats to Steph

The Blog is about Research news but we also need to celebrate our successes, so we have to say Congratulations to Stephanie von Kutzleben on being successful in her PhD viva.
 We hope that this will help her develop a future career in science or elsewhere.

We likewise have to say a big thanks to James and Paul for their quick re-actions for saving Steph and other members of the Team from a very, very, very bad accident, when the huge Mirror (below- about 150kg-remember a brick is about 3 inches/9cm high) in the restaurant, where we were celebrating fell off the wall, and was caught about 3cm before it hit their heads.

So a day to remember in more ways than one

Unrelated Blogger Comments July

If you want to say something unrelated to the the Threads. 
This is the place for you. 


ProfG does not want us to engage with the trolls, which we have done from time to time and a lot of you don't care for.

In this respect it may help us to post comments quicker if you do not comment under "Anonymous". Some have said we should ban this, others have said they want the anonymity.
You can indeed be Anonymous...but this is the name the trolls hide behind. These comments need to be read before launching. So it takes more of our time.

However, you can still remain anonymous, but when you get the 
pull down menu, why go to Anonymous? Why not go to name?
Select a could be anything......Brexiteer17,500,000, Bremainer 16,000,000; Sparkplug, AngryMSer but this does not link to you. Also you can have more than one name depending on your mood!
 You will still have to prove you are not a robot.
Then it goes to moderation for posting and then we will either put in spam or post.

However, if you post under a pseudonym e.g. Grand Master Flash Doris Day, etc. you will eventually become recognised if you post frequently using this name and then importantly we will recognise that you are not a troll and release your post or answer a question quicker. You still remain anonymous and it helps us. 

"Angry from Tunbridge Wells" is still anonymous who know they may live in Orlando, USA and he/she does not always say good things about us.

Many of you are now using a name/pseudonym and we thank you for that. 

But make MD2 happy and stop his grumpyness and think of using a name:-).

However, beware. You will get a persona because you may say things that will build up a picture, this may be a fictitious picture remember is MD2 really a mouse?

PoliticalSpeak: Brexit and MS

For pwMS please make a stand for MS and Bremain! #PoliticalSpeak #MSBlog #Brexit #Bremain

"Since last Friday I have become depressed; I have no energy and I am finding it hard to get through each day. I have not run since Monday and have spent the week ruminating about life the Universe and whether or not my family and I should explore employment options abroad. I simply can't come to terms with the UK having to leave Europe and the United Kingdom breaking up when Scotland votes to leave. I have started working on an apology for when I meet, and have to speak to, my European colleagues about what happened last Friday. It is now clear that the Brexit vote is nothing short of a calamity for pwMS, the NHS, researchers and for higher education in the UK."

"People with MS: Several of my patients with MS who are from EU countries and are on expensive DMTs under the NHS have contacted me to ask whether or not Brexit means they will need to return to their countries of origin for treatment. In some of these countries these treatments are simply not available. What do I say to them? This issue raises many more questions around how we manage patients from the EU."

"The NHS: I have already mentioned that the NHS relies on labour from the EU to keep it going. One of our nurses on our infusion unit who is from France is being urged by her parents to return home. She is simply an amazing nurse and touches the lives of many of our patients with MS every day of the week. What do I tell her? What about the army of other nurses, doctors, allied healthcare professionals and carers from EU countries? What do we tell them; what do we tell their patients with MS?"

"Researchers: A Spanish post-doctoral scientist came into my office on Wednesday morning to tell me that he will probably returning to Spain to take up a Spanish fellowship rather than stay in the UK. He is one of many of the thousands of hard working scientists who will doing the same and returning to mainland Europe because of Brexit. How short sighted have the British public being in making such a rash decision and scaring away bright scientists? What about our large EU collaborations and EU grants? My heart sinks when I think of the consequences Brexit will have for MS and medical research in general."

"Higher Education: Our University relies on EU students to keep us afloat. About 20% of our fee paying students come from EU countries. Not to mention all the teachers and lecturers from the EU who make our University such an interesting place to work and study. Brexit is simply a disaster for higher education in the UK. I see many Universities being forced to close and see income from higher education plummeting. This will affect the treasury and will massive knock on effects on the wider economy."

"Can we reverse the Brexit decision? I am told yes and a colleague of mine has penned the letter below that I have sent to my MP. Please feel free to copy it and send it to your own MP. The more momentum the Bremain campaign gets the more likely we are to stay in the EU. Bremain is such an important campaign for people living with MS and other chronic diseases in the UK." 

Mr Chuka Umunna
MP for Streatham

Dear Chuka

Parliament's Responsibility Regarding Brexit

I am writing to ask you to take up with your fellow MPs that Parliament should decide that the UK does not invoke Art 50 TFEU to terminate its membership of the EU.


  1. The referendum is not legally binding on anyone.
  2. There is no legally specified majority which forms the basis of any decision.
  3. A matter of such fundamental constitutional importance should not be decided on a bare majority (by comparison, under company law, the constitution of a company can only be changed with a special majority usually 75%. It cannot be right that the country’s basis position as such should be decided on such a narrow margin).
  4. It is now the case that Parliament decides fundamental issues of international relations such as acts of war. This is of at least the equivalent significance and thus Parliament must decide.
  5. The decision to remain in the EU was supported by Scotland, Northern Ireland and London. No other electoral decision making ignores these national and local identities. The constituency system, on the contrary, gives effect to them.
  6. A YouGov poll has suggested that 75% of voters under the age of 35 voted to remain. It would be a travesty of democracy for such a long term decision to be made contrary to the wishes of those who have most at stake and represent the future of the country.
  7. As a result, any action to invoke art 50 by the Government in these circumstances is entirely without democratic legitimacy.
Despite the result of the referendum it is plainly against the interests of the country for the UK to leave the EU. The immediate fallout is more than enough evidence.

Since it is probably the single most important issue of our time I am writing to suggest a way forward out of the disaster that is looming. I’m sure you have been deluged on this subject. As a London MP you will recognise the destructive effect it will have on our city. The impending dismembering of the UK, let alone the implications for Europe and the world make it imperative for Parliament to exercise this historic responsibility.

Your sincerely

Professor Gavin Giovannoni

New MS progressive Gene is Rubbish?

Recently we posted that a Canadian group had found a gene is a family that may be associated with progression

Now you can skuttle off and do some studies to replicate the work and then spend months getting papers published but which time the whole world thinks that there is a progressive MS gene or you can use social media of epublishing (seemingly not peer reviewed) to get it out that you think the work is rubbish.

Who would say that the data was rubbish...someone on twitter?

People were rushing to their data bases to look if they could find any support and so far the answer is they can't

There are some more doubting Thomas'es or should I say doubting Chris'es (CLICK here)

"Abstract: a recent study by Wang et al claims the low-frequency variant NR1H3 p.Arg415Gln is pathological for multiple sclerosis and determines a patient’s likelihood of primary progressive disease. We sought to replicate this finding in the International MS Genetics Consortium (IMSGC) patient collection, which is 13-fold larger than the collection of Wang et al, but we find no evidence that this variant is associated either with MS or disease subtype. Wang et al also report a common variant association in the region, which we show captures the association the IMSGC reported in 2013. Therefore, we conclude that the reported low-frequency association is a false positive, likely generated by insufficient sample size. The claim of NR1H3 mutations describing a Mendelian form of MS, of which no examples exist, can therefore not be substantiated by data".

or for more click here

So it may fall by the wayside as an MS gene unless there is something special about these rare families in Canada, such that they have many shared genes and that allow the  NR1H3 variant to code for something.

The academic gloves are off.

The progress is about replication

Pinch of Salt

Nourbakhsh B, Graves J, Casper TC, Lulu S, Waldman A, Belman A, Greenberg B, Weinstock-Guttman B, Aaen G, Tillema JM, Hart J, Ness J, Rubin J, Krupp L, Gorman M, Benson L, Rodriguez M, Chitnis T, Rose J, Barcellos L, Waubant E; Network of Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Centers. Dietary salt intake and time to relapse in paediatric multiple sclerosis.J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2016 Jun 24. pii: jnnp-2016-313410. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2016-313410. [Epub ahead of print]

BACKGROUND:Salt intake was reported to be associated with increased clinical and MRI activity in adult patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS).

OBJECTIVE: To determine if salt intake is associated with time to relapse in patients with paediatric-onset MS.

METHODS: Paediatric-onset MS and patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) within 4 years of disease onset were recruited from 15 paediatric MS centres in the USA as part of a case-control study. Patients with available prospective relapse data subsequent to enrolment were included in this project. Dietary sodium intake was assessed by self-report questionnaire using the validated Block Kids Food Screener. Cox proportional-hazards regression models were employed to determine the association of sodium density, excess sodium intake and sodium density tertiles with time to relapse following study enrolment, adjusting for several confounders.

RESULTS: 174 relapsing-remitting MS/CIS patients were included in this analysis (mean age of 15.0 years, and 64.9% females). Median duration of follow-up was 1.8 years. In an unadjusted analysis, density of daily sodium intake was not associated with time to relapse, and patients with excess sodium intake had no decrease in time to relapse as compared with patients with non-excess sodium intake. A
nalysis demonstrated that patients in the high tertile (top third) of sodium density had a Hazard Ratio of 0.69 (95% CI 0.37 to 1.30, p=0.25) and 1.37 (95% CI 0.74 to 2.51, p=0.32) compared with patients in the lowest tertile (lowest third) , respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Higher salt intake was not associated with decreased time to relapse in patients with paediatric-onset MS.

It was reported that an increase in salt intake increased autoimmunity in mice and these studies where in the top ten cited papers and was in part supported by a study in MS. MD2 pointed out that the mouse studies used the equivalent of taking 0.6kg salt a day, enough to make you vomit, if rodents could vomit..which they can't. This comment was removed two times by Nature and on the third time it was added it stayed after we complained to them. The mouse stuff was barely repeatable and in this study the paediatric study the salt intake had no influence.

It is best to watch your salt intake for general health