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Multiple sclerosis study looks at stem cell transplants

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Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that affects the spinal cord, brain and optic nerves. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, this disease can cause fatigue, memory issues, difficulty speaking, blindness, and paralysis. People who live with MS in Tennessee might even experience severe enough disablement to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, as any SSD attorney knows. Fortunately, new research suggests stem cell transplants may help victims of MS regain functional abilities.

Reducing disablement

According to Healthline, people who live with MS can currently choose from 12 FDA-approved treatments. These disease-modifying therapy drugs prevent relapses by suppressing the immune system, but they cannot mitigate or reverse existing symptoms. Problematically, these drugs must be taken indefinitely, often at significant expense, to ensure relapses don't resume.

The new study, which focused on 151 patients, indicates hematopoietic stem cell transplants may stop relapses and reduce disablement from MS. The patients received infusions of stem cells that previously had been harvested from their own bodies. After receiving the transplants, the patients stopped taking drugs to suppress relapses. Over the following several years, the patients took various tests to measure their functional abilities and quality of life. Researchers tracked several metrics, including:

  • Coordination
  • Ability to walk
  • Cognition

Many of these patients showed marked improvements. After two years, about 50 percent of the patients exhibited fewer functional impairments. After four years, over 80 percent of the patients had not experienced relapses.

Seeking financial support

Unfortunately, this new treatment may not be readily available, financially feasible or medically effective for every patient. Many people who suffer from MS may still live with impairments that limit their daily activities. Victims who experience severe disablement may benefit from applying for SSD benefits. These benefits can provide financial support to people who can no longer work gainfully due to disabling medical conditions.

People in Tennessee may secure SSD benefits for MS in a few ways, as a Social Security attorney could explain. Victims may consult Social Security's "Blue Book" and furnish the specific documentation described in the listing for MS. This documentation includes medical records, clinical tests and evidence of certain symptoms. Alternately, people seeking SSD benefits may show that they cannot reasonably work due to MS.

SSD claim considerations

Social Security only awards SSD benefits if a disabling condition is expected to last over 12 months or result in death. This requirement can be problematic for victims of MS, since the disease is episodic. The prolonged absence of symptoms over a 12-month period can undermine a claim. Therefore, people seeking SSD benefits for MS in Tennessee may benefit from consulting with a Social Security attorney for advice on preparing a credible claim.

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