FRI AM News: Study details method for testing recovery from multiple sclerosis; WisBusiness: the Podcast with Ben Camp of RehabPath

— A new study from UW-Madison researchers details a method for testing recovery from multiple sclerosis. 

In multiple sclerosis — or MS — the body’s immune system causes inflammation that damages nerve fibers as well as myelin, an insulating fatty substance supporting nerve function. MS also harms the cells responsible for creating myelin. 

Successful treatments exist for certain patients with MS, according to Ian Duncan, a neuroscientist at UW-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine. But he says others experience more advanced forms of the disease that result in a steeper decline. 

“There are no effective treatments for them,” he said. 

But that could change as drug development companies work to create restorative treatments for myelin loss. As this insulating material is regrown, healthy nerve function can be restored. 

In patients being treated for MS, physicians will often monitor functionality with a test called the visual evoked potential. By shining lights into victims’ eyes and monitoring the delay in related brain activity, doctors can observe the effects of the disease. 

“When that latency increases, it’s taking longer for the signal from the lights to get from the retina down the optic nerve to the brain,” Duncan said. “As MS progresses and demyelination of axons in the optic nerve worsens, the latency grows because the axons are not conducting the signal as well as healthy nerves.”

In a study published last month, Duncan and other researchers connected changes in latency during the VEP test to myelination of nerves. 

See more: 

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: The Podcast” features the second half of an interview with Ben Camp, CEO and co-founder of RehabPath. 

This startup has an online platform to help individuals find and select treatment facilities. The podcast continues a discussion focused on the industry of addiction treatment, as Camp explains some of the unique challenges these consumers are facing. 

He also explains his plan for continuing to grow the Madison-based company, which has an established presence in several markets outside of the United States. Ultimately, he says he wants his company to be the “number one trusted brand” for people seeking online information about addiction treatment. 

“Most of the time, that journey starts on Google,” he said. “There’s been research done that people are more likely to turn to Google than family, friends or medical professionals … so our goal is to show up for as many of those queries as possible.” 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See the first half of the interview: 

See a full list of podcasts, sponsored by UW-Madison: 

— Foxconn has announced the completion of roof installation for the company’s manufacturing facility in Mount Pleasant. 

In a release, Foxconn and construction manager Gilbane/Exyte said the building enclosure “is substantially complete” for weather protection, meeting the goal for the end of last year. About $370 million in total contracts have been awarded for work at the facility. 

Nearly 8,000 tons of steel have been fabricated and installed at the facility and more than 500 truckloads of materials were involved in the roof’s construction. The release shows “full and complete enclosure” of the facility will continue through the early months of 2020. 

See the release: 

— The Department of Health Services is now projecting Medicaid expenses to exceed budgeted costs by $39.8 million by the end of the 2019-21 budget.

The agency’s quarterly outlook on the $6.7 billion program is slightly worse than the one it sent to the Joint Finance Committee three months ago. Then, the agency expected expenses to be $21.4 million in general purpose revenue over what was budgeted.

Like three months ago, DHS attributed $20 million of the expected overrun to a change in federal reimbursement rates.

The agency also said newly-set rates for BadgerCare Plus managed care organizations for calendar year 2020 were higher than budgeted.

See the report:

— The Department of Revenue says additional auditors hired as part of the 2015-17 budget pulled in $159.9 million in the last fiscal year, nearly double the agency’s goal.

The agency reported to the Joint Finance Committee earlier this week that based on collections through December for the current fiscal year, it anticipates generating at least $60 million more than what the auditors helped collect in 2018-19.

Revenue says much of that growth is expected to be in corporate and income taxes.

In adding more auditors in the 2015-17 budget, Revenue was required to provide regular reports to JFC on expenses associated with the positions and the collections.

This week’s report detailed $13.6 million in total expenses associated with the 102 additional positions. They include salary, fringe benefits, training and other costs.

The 2017-19 budget also added auditor positions with a goal for them of $26.5 million. They helped collect $27.3 million, according to the report.

Read the report:

— A Madison startup called Highview aims to make the relationship between suppliers and vendors more collaborative with technology to integrate systems across companies. 

The idea for the business originated when Mike Kersels, CEO and founder of Highview, seized an opportunity in expanding technological managed services. Kersels initially moved to the Midwest when he was offered a job with SAP, an international software company, out of its Chicago office. 

His contract allowed him to work from anywhere in the Midwest, and he chose Madison because it had a “home feel.” 

Highview began as a specialized platform for third-party support of business-to-business software, with a clientele consisting of SAP software users looking to improve their business experience, both within their company and with business partners. 

See more on the company at Madison Startups: 


# Xcel: Final phase complete for Ashland superfund cleanup

# Health care construction surge extends into 2020

# How do you make walking easier for a two-legged dog? Ask UW-Madison engineers for help



– State Ayrshire breeders offering grants to producers


– More ag bankers expected to work with hemp growers in 2020


– On the level: Babcock looks back at time leading AIA Wisconsin chapter


– Maple syrup producers to hold winter institute

– Dairy Calf & Heifer Association offering scholarships


– Wisconsin fire agencies ditch hazardous firefighting foam


– Wipfli acquires Denver-based accounting firm


– Caspian Grill brings back fond memories of Russian House


– Public encouraged to weigh in on use of funds for mental health services


– Two area literacy nonprofits merge


– Lawmakers moving forward with bill to restrict TIFs


– Camp Bar owners acquire downtown building where they plan to open new bar, event space

– Downtown post office building owner purchases Third Ward commercial building

– Former St. Francis Brewery building ownership transferred to lender


– Rep. Dianne Hesselbein: Continue the Wisconsin Idea in the search for a UW president


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

Good Land Wing Co.: To open in Brookfield 

Wisconsin Technology Council: Summary of 2019 WisBiz shows