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New lawsuit rekindles controversy over rare brain disease linked to multiple sclerosis therapy

An undated photo of Kimberley A. Yout, who was diagnosed with a brain infection last year.
An undated photo of Kimberley A. Yout, who was diagnosed with a brain infection last year.

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Despite living with multiple sclerosis since 1997 and taking a series of drugs to treat the neurodegenerative disease, Kimberley A. Yout of Hanover continued working for years at her full-time job as a money manager for a Boston bank while modeling in her spare time.

That changed on Aug. 28 of last year when Yout was diagnosed with PML, a rare brain infection that developed as a side effect of a drug, Tysabri, she had been taking for six years. Her speech became slurred and her gait unsteady. “I’ve lost my independence,” said the 45-year-old Yout.

Now she is suing the two companies that marketed Tysabri — Biogen Idec Inc. of Weston and Irish drug maker Elan Pharmaceuticals Inc. — in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn.

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