[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Feelings of gratitude and awe facilitate perceptions and cognitions that go beyond the focus of illness and include positive aspects of one's personal and interpersonal reality, even in the face of disease. We intended to measure feelings of gratitude, awe, and experiences of beauty in life among patients with multiple sclerosis and psychiatric disorders, particularly with respect to their engagement in specific spiritual/religious practices and their life satisfaction.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey with standardized questionnaires to measure engagement in various spiritual practices (SpREUK-P) and their relation to experiences of Gratitude, Awe and Beauty in Life and life satisfaction (BMLSS-10). In total, 461 individuals (41 +/- 13 years; 68% women) with multiple sclerosis (46%) and depressive (22%) or other psychiatric disorders (32%) participated.
Among participants, 23% never, 43% rarely, 24% often, and 10% frequently experienced Gratitude. In contrast, 41% never, 37% rarely, 17% often, and 6% frequently experienced Awe. Beauty in Life was never experienced by 8% of the sample, and 28% rarely, 46% often, and 18% frequently experienced it. Gratitude (F = 9.2; p = .003) and Beauty in Life (F = 6.0; p = .015) were experienced significantly more often by women than men. However, the experience of Awe did not differ between women and men (F = 2.2; n.s.). In contrast to our hypothesis, Gratitude/Awe cannot explain any relevant variance in patients' life satisfaction (R2 = .04). Regression analyses (R2 = .42) revealed that Gratitude/Awe can be predicted best by a person's engagement in religious practices, followed by other forms of spiritual practices and life satisfaction. Female gender was a weak predictor and underlying disease showed no effect.
Gratitude/Awe could be regarded as a life orientation towards noticing and appreciating the positive in life - despite the symptoms of disease. Positive spirituality/religiosity seems to be a source of gratitude and appreciation in life, whereas patients with neither spiritual nor religious sentiments (R-S-) seem to have a lower awareness for these feelings.
Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 04/2014; 12(1):63. · 2.10 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this cross-sectional anonymous survey with standardized questionnaires was to investigate which resources to cope
were used by patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). We focussed on patients’ conviction that their faith might be a strong hold in
difficult times and on their engagement in different forms of spirituality. Consecutively 213 German patients (75% women; mean
age 43 ± 11 years) were enrolled. Fifty-five percent regarded themselves as neither religious nor spiritual (R−S−), while 31% describe
themselves as religious. For 29%, faith was a strong hold in difficult times.This resource was neither related to patients’ EDSS scores,
and life affections, fatigue, negativemood states, life satisfaction nor to Positive attitudes. Instead it was moderately associated with
a Reappraisal strategy (i.e., and positive interpretation of illness) and experience of gratitude/awe. Compared to spiritual/religious
patients,R−S− individuals had significantly (𝑃 < .0001) lower Reappraisal scores and lower engagement in specific forms of spiritual
practices.The ability to reflect on what is essential in life, to appreciate and value life, and also the conviction that illness may have
meaning and could be regarded as a chance for development was low in R−S− individuals which eithermay have no specific interest
or are less willing to reflect these issues.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 11/2013; · 2.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this cross-sectional anonymous survey with standardized questionnaires was to investigate which resources to cope were used by patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). We focussed on patients' conviction that their faith might be a strong hold in difficult times and on their engagement in different forms of spirituality. Consecutively 213 German patients (75% women; mean age 43 ± 11 years) were enrolled. Fifty-five percent regarded themselves as neither religious nor spiritual (R-S-), while 31% describe themselves as religious. For 29%, faith was a strong hold in difficult times. This resource was neither related to patients' EDSS scores, and life affections, fatigue, negative mood states, life satisfaction nor to Positive attitudes. Instead it was moderately associated with a Reappraisal strategy (i.e., and positive interpretation of illness) and experience of gratitude/awe. Compared to spiritual/religious patients, R-S- individuals had significantly (P < .0001) lower Reappraisal scores and lower engagement in specific forms of spiritual practices. The ability to reflect on what is essential in life, to appreciate and value life, and also the conviction that illness may have meaning and could be regarded as a chance for development was low in R-S- individuals which either may have no specific interest or are less willing to reflect these issues.
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 01/2013; 2013:128575. · 2.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple sclerosis is a common disease of young adults in which accidental and unplanned pregnancies under disease modifying or immunosuppressive therapies may occur. The experience with mitoxantrone (MIX) especially in the first trimenon is very limited, until now only one case of a pregnant woman with MS who was exposed to MIX in early pregnancy and delivered a growth restricted but healthy child was published. We report a case of a secondary progressive MS patient who was exposed periconceptionally to MIX and delivered a child with Pierre Robin Sequence (PRS), a syndrome with the main features of glossoptosis, micrognathia, and palate clefts. PRS is a very rare defect and therefore a causal relation with MIX seems possible.
Journal of the neurological sciences 05/2011; 307(1-2):164-5. · 2.32 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:
Cladribine provides immunomodulation through selective targeting of lymphocyte subtypes. We report the results of a 96-week phase 3 trial of a short-course oral tablet therapy in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.
We randomly assigned 1326 patients in an approximate 1:1:1 ratio to receive one of two cumulative doses of cladribine tablets (either 3.5 mg or 5.25 mg per kilogram of body weight) or matching placebo, given in two or four short courses for the first 48 weeks, then in two short courses starting at week 48 and week 52 (for a total of 8 to 20 days per year). The primary end point was the rate of relapse at 96 weeks.
Among patients who received cladribine tablets (either 3.5 mg or 5.25 mg per kilogram), there was a significantly lower annualized rate of relapse than in the placebo group (0.14 and 0.15, respectively, vs. 0.33; P<0.001 for both comparisons), a higher relapse-free rate (79.7% and 78.9%, respectively, vs. 60.9%; P<0.001 for both comparisons), a lower risk of 3-month sustained progression of disability (hazard ratio for the 3.5-mg group, 0.67; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48 to 0.93; P=0.02; and hazard ratio for the 5.25-mg group, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.49 to 0.96; P=0.03), and significant reductions in the brain lesion count on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (P<0.001 for all comparisons). Adverse events that were more frequent in the cladribine groups included lymphocytopenia (21.6% in the 3.5-mg group and 31.5% in the 5.25-mg group, vs. 1.8%) and herpes zoster (8 patients and 12 patients, respectively, vs. no patients).
Treatment with cladribine tablets significantly reduced relapse rates, the risk of disability progression, and MRI measures of disease activity at 96 weeks. The benefits need to be weighed against the risks. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00213135.)
2010 Massachusetts Medical Society
Oral cladribine and fingolimod for relapsing multiple sclerosis. [N Engl J Med. 2010]
Oral therapy for multiple sclerosis--sea change or incremental step? [N Engl J Med. 2010]
ACP Journal Club. Oral cladribine was more effective than placebo for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. [Ann Intern Med. 2010]
Oral cladribine and fingolimod for relapsing multiple sclerosis. [N Engl J Med. 2010]
New England Journal of Medicine 01/2010; 362(5):416-426. · 54.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intrathecal injection of triamcinolone acetonide (TCA) has been shown to provide substantial benefit in a subset of progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) patients with predominant spinal symptoms. We examined whether atrophy of the upper spinal cord (USC) as measured by MRI can serve as a predictive marker for response to repetitive intrathecal TCA application. Repetitive administration of 40 mg TCA was performed in 31 chronic progressive MS patients up to six times within 3 weeks. Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and maximum walking distance (WD) were assessed before and after the treatment cycle. Cervical 3D T1-weighted images were acquired on a 1.5T scanner at baseline. Mean cross-sectional area of the USC was determined using a semi-automated volumetry method. Results were compared with a group of 29 healthy controls to group patients into those with and without atrophy. Results show a negative correlation between the degree of USC atrophy and treatment benefit. A higher treatment benefit in patients with little USC atrophy but short initial maximum WD was observed. Absence of USC atrophy as measured on MRI is a predictive marker for intrathecal TCA therapy outcome in progressive MS. Patients with initial poor walking abilities, but only little or no atrophy, benefited most from TCA therapy.
Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders 11/2009; 2(6):42-9.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Since 2002, an MS Registry has been implemented by the German MS Society in more than 100 German MS centres. The objective is to provide information about disease characteristics, and to monitor the health care situation in a large population of patients. The aim of this report is to give detailed results on MS symptoms. By October 2008, data sets from 16,554 patients were recorded by 86 centres. A strikingly high number of persons suffered from fatigue and other "invisible" symptoms during early and late stages of the disease, underscoring the negative impact of these symptoms on quality of life in MS patients.
Journal of Neurology 08/2009; 256(11):1932-5. · 3.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple sclerosis (MS) mainly affects young women during a life period with desire for children. Relapse rate decreases during pregnancy and rises after delivery. Therefore, studies on satisfactory postpartum relapse prevention and its efficacy are essential. Previous smaller and uncontrolled studies suggested that intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) administration reduced the relapse rate following delivery. The objective of our observational study was to compare the efficacy of IVIG application, treatment with other immunomodulatory compounds or no treatment at all on the postpartal relapse rate in female MS patients from our pregnancy database. One hundred and twenty four pregnancies were followed in a partly prospective design. Relapse rate was reduced during pregnancy (p50.001) and increased during the initial 3 months after delivery in all MS patients (p50.001). The relapse rate reduction showed only a trend in favour of the IVIG-treated women, probably due to the small number of patients. However, analysing the expected number of relapses, IVIG treated patients had significantly less relapses postpartum than the untreated control group matched for disease activity before and during pregnancy (χ(2), p= 0.013). The results suggest that IVIG could be an option to prevent postpartum relapse of MS.
Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders 01/2009; 2(1):7-11.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective was to determine if there is an increased risk to develop exacerbations in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) after assisted reproduction technique (ART). An increase in annual relapse rate (ARR) was described after ART in a small cohort of patients. We investigated the associations between ART and relapse rate (RR) in 23 MS patients who underwent 78 hormonal stimulations in total. There was a statistically significant increase in the RR following ART independent of the hormonal approach or the time interval between the stimulations. These results suggest that female MS patients who wish to have children should be informed that the RR may be increasing if ART is necessary.
European Neurology 12/2008; 61(2):65-8. · 1.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple sclerosis (MS) often affects women during the reproductive years of their life. During this period, issues such as choice of immunomodulatory treatment, seeking advice from specialists, relapse-induced steroid application before, during or after pregnancy in combination with breastfeeding gain importance. The objective was to investigate these issues retrospectively using a questionnaire among 73 MS patients with a total of 88 pregnancies. Eighty per cent of the participants consulted their neurologists before and 60% during pregnancy. The annual relapse rate decreased during pregnancy and significantly increased during the first 3 months after delivery. Immunomodulatory treatment was stopped due to desired pregnancy for a mean of 4 years. Fourteen of the MS patients received intravenous immunoglobulin treatment post-natal. Ninety per cent of the study subjects started breastfeeding. However, nearly 30% ablactated, as they received steroids due to a relapse. Weight and height of the full-term children of singleton pregnancies from MS patients were significantly lower compared with the ones of age-matched healthy controls. Our results confirm the known reduced relapse rate during pregnancy, which is followed by an increased relapse rate after delivery. They shed light on the epidemiology of childbirth in patients with MS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To quantify spinal cord atrophy and its impact on clinical disability in spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) type 3 and 6.
Atrophy of the upper spinal cord was assessed by high resolution T1-weighted MRI of patients with SCA3 (n = 14) and SCA6 (n = 10). Furthermore, two groups of age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects (n = 24,) corresponding to the two SCA groups, were studied. Images were post-processed by a semi-automated volumetry method combining a marker based segmentation and an automatic histogram method facilitating highly reliable quantification and morphometry of the upper cervical cord in vivo.
We found a significant reduction of normalized mean crosssectional area of the spinal cord in SCA3 (p < 0.0005), whereas in SCA6 patients normalized mean crosssectional area was in the normal range (p = 0.379). No correlation was found between spinal cord atrophy and disease duration as well as CAG repeat length in both subtypes. In SCA6 a negative dependency between clinical disability, as expressed by the International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale as a well established ataxia score, and the mean cross-sectional area was found (p = 0.02). A similar correlation was observed in SCA3 but did not reach statistical significance.
Our results quantify for the first time in vivo spinal cord atrophy as a non-cerebellar neurodegenerative process in SCA3. Our results suggest MR volumetry of the upper cervical cord as a marker of functional importance in SCA3 and SCA6.
Journal of Neurology 07/2008; 255(8):1244-9. · 3.84 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The monoclonal antibody natalizumab is a novel therapeutic option in the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. In general, therapy with natalizumab is well tolerated. Allergic reactions and acute infusion reactions typically occur during or shortly after infusion, with a peak at the second infusion. Delayed infusion reactions resembling serum sickness-type reactions (type III reaction) are commonly reported in other monoclonal antibody therapies (eg, infliximab and rituximab), but are not described yet for natalizumab.
Delayed infusion reactions occurred in 4 of 40 relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis patients treated with natalizumab.
Clinicians need to consider the occurrence of infusion reactions, with especially delayed reactions occurring more frequently than previously assumed. Our cases illustrate that some of these infusion reactions may be treated effectively with steroids and reduction of the infusion rate. In cases of antibody-mediated reactions, treatment should be stopped immediately.
Archives of neurology 06/2008; 65(5):656-8. · 7.58 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In 2001, a nationwide multiple sclerosis (MS) registry was initiated in Germany under the auspices of the German MS Society, (DMSG Bundesverband e.V.). The project aimed at collecting epidemiological data and information on health care provision for MS patients in Germany.
After a 2-year pilot phase, the original entry mask was modified, and new centers were recruited, resulting in the registration of a total of 5821 patients in 2005 and 2006. Following a 2 stage quality control process, standardized data sets for 5445 patients (93.5%) were able to be analyzed.
Mean duration from onset of disease to diagnosis was 3.5 years. More than 70% of patients received immunomodulatory drugs, whereas symptomatic treatments were less commonly administered. The number of participating centers as of 31 December 2006 was 57 (29 neurological hospitals, 11 rehabilitation units, 13 specialized practitioners, and 4 regional MS centers).
The MS registry provides valuable data on patterns of care for MS patients in Germany, and may help to improve service provision and overall quality of life for these patients.
Deutsches Ärzteblatt International 03/2008; 105(7):113-9. · 3.61 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), fiber degeneration within the corticospinal tract (CST) can be quantified by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) as an indirect marker of upper motor neuron involvement. A new method of measuring quantitative DTI parameters using a probabilistic mixture model for fiber tissue and background in the corticospinal tract of patients with ALS is evaluated. Materials and
Axial echo-planar imaging (EPI) DTI datasets (6 gradient directions, 10 repetitions) were acquired for 10 patients and 20 healthy control subjects. The diffusion tensor was visualized in a multiplanar viewer using a unique color coding method. Pure fiber tissue inside a region is separated from background and mixture voxels using a probabilistic mixture model. This allows for a reduction of errors as a result of partial volume effects and measurement variability.
Fractional anisotropy (FA) was measured within the CST at levels ranging from internal capsule to pons. Mean coefficients of variation of intrarater, scan-rescan, and inter-rater reproducibility were 2.4%, 3.0%, and 5.7%, respectively. Optimal measurement positions along the CST with respect to minimum variability and maximum difference between patients and healthy subjects were identified in the caudal half of the internal capsule. Moreover, a negative correlation between the age-corrected FA and the disease duration but not the ALS Severity scale score was found.
The new software for fiber integrity quantification is suited to assess FA in the corticospinal tract with high reproducibility. Thus, this tool can be useful in future studies for monitoring disease status and potential treatment efficiency.
American Journal of Neuroradiology 05/2007; 28(4):724-30. · 3.68 Impact Factor