November 30, 2008

How I Spent My Thanksgiving Vacation

1.  Did not surf the web.
2.  Did not imbibe heavily in holiday-themed cocktails.
3.  Kicked major butt at Wii Bowling.
4.  Discovered pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips.
5.  Prepared (and ate) brussels sprouts.
6.  Bought a new fridge on Black Friday.
7.  Organized three kitchen cabinets.
8.  Ordered three of the last four gifts I need for Christmas.

November 24, 2008

Where Does The Time Go?

I can't believe Thanksgiving is in three days!  I personally don't ever host a Turkey Day meal - if I don't beg an invite to somebody's house then I buy a prepared meal from the local Publix supermarket.  Preheat the oven, take the lid off the container, and cook.  That's about it for me.  Lazy?  No.  I'd rather think I utilize my limited energy wisely.  :)

November 19, 2008

Fingolimod Study News

I found this on another web site, but it doesn't have it's source identified, so I've edited the snot out of it, removing any mention of Laquinimod and emphasizing Fingolimod, which is the drug I hope to be trialing.  I hope I'm not stepping on any copyrights here, but the early data on Fingolimod is exciting. 

Oral Immunomodulators Laquinimod and Fingolimod Produce Persistent Benefits in RRMS

Oral agents promise to both increase efficacy and decrease the burden of injections in patients with MS, thus allowing earlier treatment and better long-term compliance. Although no oral agents are currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in MS, several recent studies have documented clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) activity of oral immunomodulators in RRMS. Noteworthy results presented at WCTRIMS from separate study extensions of laquinimod and fingolimod phase 2 placebo-controlled trials showed sustained benefits with these oral agents.

Persistent inhibition of clinical and MRI activity was also reported in a similarly   designed 3-year extension study of oral fingolimod (FTY720) in patients with RRMS.[3] At the end of the 6-month placebo-controlled phase, the original fingolimod dose (1.25 or 5.0 mg/day) was either continued or placebo-treated patients were re-randomized to active treatment for 36 months. During months 15 through 24 of the extension phase, patients receiving fingolimod once daily at 5.0 mg were switched to 1.25 mg. After 36 months of continuous fingolimod treatment, the annual relapse rate remained low (0.20-0.21) and 68% to 73% of patients remained relapse-free. At month 36, the majority of patients switched to or maintained on fingolimod were free from Gd-enhancing lesions (88%-89%) or new T2 lesions (70%-78%). The majority (76%-80%) of patients continuing in the extension were also free from 6-month sustained disability progression. Frequently reported adverse events associated with fingolimod during the placebo-controlled phase included dyspnea, diarrhea, and nausea; these were rarely reported during months 24 through 36 and the discontinuation rate (8.0%) was also halved compared with months 12 through 24.

Collectively, the results from these extension studies indicate sustained clinical and MRI benefit with extended laquinimod or fingolimod therapy in patients with RRMS, with good tolerability, especially at lower doses.

November 17, 2008

Mourning is Over

I spent the morning trying to determine what I was going to do about my deceased former iPod.  I could take it to the Apple Store and see what they recommended, but that's not smart.  Every time I enter that store I use more and more willpower not to buy an iPhone, which could act as my phone and iPod in one place.  But I need an iPhone like I need a hole in my head.  The phone I have now, a Samsung Blackjack, works just fine, thank you.

1. The Blackjack can't synch up with my MacBook.  So, I have to enter every calendar item twice if I want it to be mobile.
2. The iPhone would probably end up costing me $600 with a bluetooth headset, car charger, the monthly plan fee and the fact AT&T will not subsidize me (the rotten scumbags).
3. The iPod Touch can synch with my MacBook and hold my music, contacts and calendar.

So . . . drumroll please . . . meet the newest techie toy in my arsenal.  Looks like an iPhone but it's not! This is what $229 bought me.  The 8GB iPod touch.  Very handsome, isn't he?

R.I.P. To A Beloved iPod

I've had a 6GB iPod Mini for about five years now.  A couple of days ago I traveled up to the North Georgia mountains and wanted to bring my little green buddy because there was no cable, internet or wireless where we were staying.  So I plugged in the car charger and headed out.  

After a less than two-hour drive, we were getting all set up and my iPod was dead!  That was a bit disturbing because the indicator light on the car charger appeared to be working just fine.  Well, not having my tunes was not the end of the world; we had plenty of CD's and a portable CD player to entertain us.

Upon my return home I connected the iPod into my laptop.  Nothing.  My desktop.  Zip.  The Bose SoundDock. Nada.  It was dead.

Thank heaven my music is in the iTunes file on my desktop, so I haven't lost anything except the portability and overall cuteness of this shiny, bright green little bundle of fun.  On the upside, I think I paid $250 for it five years ago and a new iPod Touch is going to give me 8GB for $229. 

Wait . . . did I just say that spending $229 two weeks before Thanksgiving was the UPSIDE?  Geez...

November 11, 2008

I Need A Nap

This happens every year.  Autumn comes, the weather gets colder and the sun goes down earlier.  All those things can be dealt with, no problem.  But then . . . literally overnight . . . the end of Daylight Savings Time.  Why is it that we only set our clocks back one hour but the sun seems to be setting three hours earlier?

My brain and my body struggle to make this adjustment for at least two weeks.  It's now pitch black before 6pm and it's all I can do to keep my eyes open.  And the really sad part is, I can literally crawl into bed shortly after 6:00 and sleep through the night, and STILL not want to get out of bed before 9:00 the next morning!  

Thanks for listening, going to lay (lie?) down now... 

November 05, 2008

So Much for Having Any Control

So I get an email describing what I should expect prior to actually getting any drug.  There are tests, tests and more tests for a week in December.

The first - and longest - day of testing begins at 7:30a.m. on Monday, December 15th.  Monday mornings suck.  Monday morning during rush hour are nightmarish.  Monday morning rush hour in Atlanta is unspeakable.

Anyway, I meet with the study docs, give some blood for lab work, get an EKG, learn how to perform the cognitive tests required by the study and get fitted with a Holter monitor.  The Holter is basically a portable EKG that will track my heart rate for the next 24 hours.  At some point I will be sent to a nearby hospital where I'll submit to a Pulmonary Function Test and an eye exam.  

Trying to determine when I get to eat...

November 04, 2008

A Witness to History?

Let me be honest.  I voted for Obama.  Like many, I stewed over it for many months.  While I am a registered Democrat, I will jump the fence periodically when it comes down to actually voting.  Looking back though, I've never jumped the fence when it comes to voting for the President. 

Anyway, it's ten o'clock on Election Night and already the highly overpaid political pundits are giving Barack Obama over 200 electoral college votes.  Cool by me, but I've got a question.  Why does the electoral college still exist?  We have computers that can add and send total votes to Oz (or the White House or the Galactic Republic or wherever the official votes are stored), without the help of a middleman.  This is the Third Millennium, people!