MS Research Roundup: August 29, 2014
Video Game Balance Training; Pediatric MS at Elsevier MS Resource Center; #MSBoston2014
MS Research Roundup collects items of interest to multiple sclerosis researchers from around the Web. Send us your tips: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wii May Help You Balance
It’s not just fun and games with this science. Nintendo’s whole-body interactive gaming console, the Wii (pronounced “we”), may help MS patients improve their balance by rewiring their brains, according to a recent study in the journal Radiology. One of the console’s accessories, the balance board—usually used in exercise games like “Wii Fit”—allows users to stand and move on it while providing them visual feedback on the television screen. In a small study, researchers split 27 patients into two groups. One group trained on the balance board for about 30 to 40 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 3 months, and did nothing special for the next 3 months. The other group first did nothing special, then trained for 3 months. An MRI technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) showed positive changes in their white matter tracts in the areas of the brain involved in balance and movement. However, the changes in DTI and balance did not last after the intervention ended. With practice, this intervention could easily be done at home, said Luca Prosperini, M.D., Ph.D., from Sapienza University in Rome, and his co-authors. No medications currently exist to control balance in MS patients. This is not the first time that gaming consoles like the Wii have been tapped for their potential use in physical therapy. A New York state physical therapy practice showcases the Wii balance board, and there’s even a whole “WiiHab” blog dedicated to the topic. What other uses could the Wii bring to MS patients? (CBS, EurekAlert!, New York Times, PubMed)
In less than 2 weeks, the world’s largest MS meeting convenes in Boston from September 10 to 13. But the action begins sooner. At 8 a.m. EDT (U.S.), Monday, September 1, the abstracts for most talks and poster presentations go public. (The news embargo for the remaining late-breaking sessions lifts September 10.) MSDF will be on the scene, tweeting at @MSDForum and posting news at MSDiscovery.org. During the meeting, David Baker, Ph.D., also known as the “Mouse Doctor,” will conduct daily Google hangouts with two MS researchers at noon Boston time Wednesday through Friday, September 10 to 12. In a live webcast on Saturday, September 13, a panel of experts will sum up the meeting highlights, hosted by the National MS Society. MSDF is looking forward to meeting and catching up with the researchers and physicians who contribute to the cross-disciplinary conversation and help speed progress toward a cure. Come say "hi" to us and our nonprofit publisher, the Accelerated Cure Project, at booth 37 in the exhibit hall. (MSBoston2014, MS Research Blog, National MS Society)
Elsevier MS Resource Center
The new specialized Elsevier journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders (MSARD) is not yet indexed by Medline or available on PubMed (the database for MSDF papers of the week), but the abstracts are covered by SCOPUS, EMBASE, and Google Scholar. The MS Resource Centre features a lot of additional free content, including expert video interviews, CME programs, interactive teaching cases, and some full-text articles published by MSARD, JNS, and other relevant Elsevier journals, with Editors' comments. A recent four-part video series features Brenda Banwell, M.D., of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania on pediatric MS, interviewed by editor Timothy Vartanian, M.D., of the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. This resource center has been supported by an educational grant from EMD Serono, Inc., a subsidiary of Merck KGaA in Darmstadt, Germany. (Tip from Peter Bakker)