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Health Tips Tuesday: latest treatments for multiple sclerosis

Nearly one million people in the U.S. are living with multiple sclerosis.
Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 11:57 AM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Nearly one million people in the U.S. are living with multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Hebatalla Elhusseiny, staff neurologist at the Joyce D. and Andrew J. Mandell Center for Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care and Neuroscience Research at Mercy Medical Center, spoke with Western Mass News about whether diet and the latest treatments can help those living with the disease improve their quality of life.

A new study in neuroscience points to the ketogenic diet helping to reduce disability and improve quality of life in MS patients. Can diet play a factor in treating MS?

Elhusseiny: “That was a very interesting study and it stumped me. Diet has always been a controversial topic when it comes to MS. We do know diet does have an effect on something like gut microbiome, which has been known to change the diagnosis and progression of the MS disease and let me tell you, there is a difference between what we see in the clinical trials and what we see in the patients. We tried a gluten-free diet and patients felt better. but it was not proven. The paper was very interesting because the ketogenic diet has been proved with epilepsy, seizures, and protect our nerves. This study is a little bit small, but soon, there will be a bigger one that followed people in Berlin that followed patients since 2017 on ketogenic diets until now. Both studies shows a ketogenic diet may have had a role in helping people with MS, maybe in combination with other therapies that are in the market”

What are the latest treatments for MS that are proving effective?

Elhusseiny: “So I think we are in era where MS patients have more support now. Ten years ago, we had three or four medications and now, we have about 15 FDA approved medications. We have a lot of medication for active disease and a lot of research is going into progressive MS, but this is a whole different topic we can talk about later, but progressive MS kind of gets the short of it. We have a lot of treatments for the progressive disease. Unfortunately, we do not have a cure, but we do have medication that can stop the disease almost 90-percent, which is the closest you can get to a cure. Stem cell has showed a lot of promise too and we are awaiting more results.”