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Diet Matters… and It Matters Now

Blog Summary

Greetings from ECTRIMS, the 34th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS. This is a lion of a meeting–the world’s largest gathering of researchers dedicated to MS. One thing I have noticed is how close MS researchers are getting to the real concerns of people affected by this disease.

People with MS have been asking for years about diet–is there a diet that works for MS? Does what you eat matter? The work I’ve seen thus far is beginning to answer these questions (links to the scientific summaries, or abstracts, are provided below)...

MS & Movement

Blog Summary

One of the things I love about attending the Annual Meeting of the Consortium of MS Centers is how many studies focus on pinpointing problems in the daily lives of people with MS and how to find solutions. This is the point of rehabilitation–to restore or maintain function as much as possible. One problem that is being investigated is sedentary behavior, also called “sitting time.” Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and colleagues around the country administered a physical activity questionnaire to more than 6,000 people with MS...

This Side of Hope

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My mom has lived with MS since her 20s. She was diagnosed before I was born, so MS has always been something that is a “normal” part of my life. Through the years, MS has thrown her some curveballs, but my mom has always found a way to adapt. She’d put on a smile and learn a new way of doing something she loved and wasn’t willing to give up. She is strong and resilient, and this has impacted me in the most extraordinary way.

Bringing Us Closer

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Living with MS can sometimes feel like you’re stranded on an island by yourself. People who don’t have MS might not fully understand what you’re going through, and others living with MS may have symptoms and experiences entirely different from yours. To make the MS world smaller, this year’s World MS Day (May 30) theme is “bringing us closer.” It’s about building connections and sharing stories to unify us in our collective stand against MS. Connect with the researchers, students and nurses who are at the forefront of finding a cure to bring us closer to a world free of MS. Meet two of our researchers and learn how their work is #BringingUsCloser to a cure...

Thinking About Emotional Wellness

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Last week, I attended the American Academy of Neurology meeting in Los Angeles. There were several studies presented on aspects of emotional health, and it got me thinking about how important it is to remember that our emotional health can affect many aspects of living with MS. Research has shown that anxiety and depression can occur as MS symptoms, not just as reactions to having the disease. One poster presentation I saw was by Canadian researchers, who generally do a pretty good job tracking people with MS because of their unified health systems and electronic records. They reported that anxiety (and diabetes) could have a negative impact on a person’s cognition. The researchers commented that it’s possible that treating diabetes or anxiety could improve cognitive problems for people with MS.

The Past and Future of MRI in MS

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Most people who have been diagnosed with MS have had at least one MRI scan done of their brain. Having a scan can be a strange experience, but it’s the best tool doctors have for helping to confirm or rule out an MS diagnosis, and for tracking what MS is doing silently, even if there are no physical signs.   At the 2018 American Academy of Neurology meeting in Los Angeles, I was able to attend the lecture of this year’s winner of the John Dystel Prize for MS Research, Dr. Frederik Barkhof. He pioneered the use of MRI to improve the ability to diagnose MS, and to monitor MS and detect whether a treatment is having any benefits against the lesions—those white spots or black spots that show up on the scans...

Care That's Personalized for You

Blog Summary

Receiving a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can be frightening. I know firsthand—I was diagnosed in 2013 shortly after I turned 29. I worried about my future and mourned for my past.   The disease comes in several forms with many manifestations. Much like our varied symptoms, people living with MS embark on different journeys. But while our individual experiences may be unique, there are similar underlying needs and conversations that must be had...

Repairing Myelin to Restore Function

Blog Summary

There were many talks about some really interesting and promising research at the 2018 ACTRIMS Forum. What’s great is that you can browse the online abstracts (scientific summaries) of the ACTRIMS Forum presentations and posters to see for yourself.   One of the most interesting and exciting talks I heard was presented by the latest winner of the Barancik Prize for Innovation in MS Research, Dr. Robin Franklin from Cambridge University. This is the first time that the Barancik Prize has been presented at the ACTRIMS Forum, and he gave a great lecture (here’s a video that introduces Dr. Franklin, in case you’re interested)...

Did You Know?

Blog Summary

Greetings from the ACTRIMS Forum 2018! This 3-day meeting brings together almost 1,000 MS-focused health care professionals, such as researchers and neurologists, and lets them share their latest research findings. I wanted to share with you a few of the amazing things I’ve learned so far at this inspiring meeting.   There are plenty of lectures from experts who were invited to review the latest research on specific topics. Then there are also presentations by investigators who submitted summaries of their results to the meeting organizers, for possible acceptance as either lectures or as posters. I happen to love poster sessions. Kind of like a science fair, you can go up to researchers and their posters and talk to them about their work...

Hope

Blog Summary

When I was 18 years old, I moved out of my parents’ home to live with my non-English speaking uncle, who had recently been diagnosed with primary-progressive multiple sclerosis. Shortly after his diagnosis, my uncle lost his job, his wife divorced him, he could no longer walk without a walker, and he was left feeling weak and hopeless. By being his primary translator at doctor visits, teaching him how to self-administer Copaxone injections, taking him to the ER after adverse reactions to treatment, explaining how one treatment compares to another, and emotionally supporting and encouraging him to never quit fighting, I witnessed firsthand what an individual with MS struggles with daily...

Advances in MS Progression and Nervous System Repair at the AAN

Blog Summary

I’ve just returned from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) meeting in Boston, where thousands of the country’s leading neurologists shared their most recent research findings. I wanted to share the exciting advances being made towards a better understanding and treatment of progressive MS and new research that is getting us closer to the repair of the nervous system and restoration of lost function...