Monthly Archives: October 2015

Vitamin D deficiency in patients with multiple myeloma

I’ve written a bunch of posts on the link between vitamin D deficiency and icky happenings in myeloma. Ever since my SMM friend “Sherlock” talked to me about the importance of taking vitamin D, in fact, I’ve been “obsessed” with it, especially after reading, and writing a post about, the 2009 Mayo study on vitamin D and myeloma folks (click here to read the full Mayo study: http://goo.gl/qfO9Bp)

I take vitamin D every morning. It’s important for so many reasons, many of which I’ve written about here on the blog. For more information on vitamin D or any other topic, for that matter, you can do a search of my blog using the handy Search Box on the right-hand side of the homepage.

So why am I picking up this topic again today? Because, thanks to Frank’s post on Facebook, I just finished reading the abstract of a 2015 German study on, you guessed it!, the importance of vitamin D for myeloma patients: http://goo.gl/5InpVM

Important excerpt: “We found a widespread and alarming rate of vitamin D deficiency in patients with metastatic bone disease and multiple myeloma.

Well, it seems crystal clear (once again!) that the vitamin D test should be added to our routine series of blood tests. And we NEED to act quickly if we see signs of a deficiency, by asking our doctors to recommend a good vitamin D supplement.

For our health! :-)

Metabolic changes in the bone marrow could be an important key in the development of myeloma

The fact that multiple myeloma develops from the pre-existing condition known as MGUS is nothing new. I mean, I wrote about this very topic back in 2009 (remember that cancer screening trial that allowed researchers from the Mayo Clinic and the National Cancer Institute to examine blood samples taken from patients several years before they were diagnosed with MM? If not, have a look at the post I wrote back then: “Does MGUS always precede MM?”).

IMG_5327But today I read something that adds a new piece to the puzzle of myeloma–a recent discovery made by a team of researchers at the University of Birmingham: http://goo.gl/vE6PWU

It’s an easy read, but I did want to highlight a few points, such as this one: “Surprisingly, the researchers found that the metabolic activity of the bone marrow of patients with MGUS was significantly different to plasma from healthy volunteers, but there were very few differences at all between the MGUS and myeloma samples.” Ouch. See Priscilla’s expression? That was pretty much how I must have looked after reading that sentence…

Here’s an excerpt providing more details: “The research team found over 200 products of metabolism differed between the healthy volunteers and patients with MGUS or myeloma, compared to just 26 differences between MGUS patients and myeloma patients. The researchers believe that these small changes could drive the key shifts in the bone marrow required to support myeloma growth.”

IMG_5315Things get a bit, er, alarming, though, when Dr. Tennant, the head researcher, says that “very few changes are required for a MGUS patient to progress to myeloma.” VERY FEW changes? I had to let that sink in for a second or two before reading on. And at this point I probably looked like Prezzemolo (photo on the right)…

But then Dr. Tennant adds that a “drug that interferes with these specific initial metabolic changes could make a very effective treatment for myeloma, so this is a very exciting discovery.”

Okay, so first he TOTALLY freaks us out with the news that only a few metabolic changes in the bone marrow are required to jump from MGUS to MM. Then he reassures us that a “metabolic” drug might be able to stop said progression. Bad news followed by potentially good news…

Well, this is the most interesting study I’ve read about in a while…a study that has given my brain some real food to chew on…

Need to do some research now.

Any thoughts, dear readers and friends?

Box clever!!!

Very busy period, this one. Apart from our usual activities, we’ve had quite a bit of work done on the house, maintenance work that began back in July, got paused for the three-week holiday period in August, then restarted in September. But we’re done now, fingers crossed.

And so the cleanup begins. I spent hours yesterday scrubbing and re-scrubbing, and then re-re-re-re-scrubbing!, our terraces, e.g….cement dust and filth everywhere…Mamma mia, never seen anything like it…It will take a while to get the house back in shape, I’m afraid.

Result: I’ve had no time to do any research, as you can imagine….but as soon as things quiet down and get back to normal, I will get back to posting. And that is a promise. IMG_5090

In the meantime, I want to give you the link to a hilarious (IMO) video by “Simon’s Cat.” As you (probably) know, Stefano and I have SEVEN cats, yes, seven!, and they all hate, HAAAAAAATE!, the cat carrier. So whenever one of them has to go to the vet, we have to be as sneaky as snakes in the grass. One trick we’ve learned is never EVER let them see the cat carrier until the last second…But somehow…they KNOW. Even the slightest rattle from the carrier is enough to send them into hiding, and then you have to hunt them down, all over the house.

And that is why this video about Simon’s cat and the cat carrier made me laugh out loud. I hope you will enjoy it, too: https://goo.gl/c3jrS7 :-)

P.S. This is a photo of our eldest cat, Puzzola, putting her nose on the camera lens just as I was trying to take a photo of her. Typical. :-)