World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day is an initiative of the MS International Federation that is marked on 30 May every year. The 2018 campaign called #bringinguscloser focuses on research and connecting those affected by MS to those involved in researching it.
MS is a lifelong condition that affects the brain and spinal cord, causing a wide range of symptoms such as blurred vision, weakness in one or more limbs and loss of balance. It is an autoimmune condition, which means that the immune system attacks a person’s own tissues – in this case, the brain or spinal cord of the nervous system. The exact reason behind this is unclear, but ongoing research shows that genetic and environmental factors are involved.
There is currently no cure for MS, but there are many treatments available to help manage the condition. In fact, many people can feel overwhelmed by all the different medications and therapies available to them. The choice of treatment largely depends on the symptoms being experienced.
Treatments can include but are not limited to the following:
- Steroids– often used in short courses to treat relapses
- Disease modifying therapies (DMTs)– can help to reduce the number and severity of relapses
- Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT)–used to regrow the immune system after problematic cells have been removed using chemotherapy
- Physiotherapy–can be beneficial to help with symptoms that affect day‑to‑day activities, mobility and independence; a physiotherapist may suggest exercises based on the specific needs of an individual
- Complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs)– a broad term that covers a wide range of health-related therapies and disciplines that are not considered part of mainstream medical care, including acupuncture, aromatherapy, homeopathy and pilates; guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says that there is some evidence to suggest that CAMs may be helpful for people with MS but not enough to give firm recommendations
MS is a very active area of research, and advancements over the past two decades have greatly improved the quality of life of people living with MS. Alongside testing new treatments and improving current therapies, researchers continue to explore what causes MS because this will help us understand how to treat it. The average life expectancy for people with MS is around 5 to 10 years shorter than average, but with ongoing research, this gap is getting smaller all the time. Although there is currently no cure for MS, research is bringing us much closer to finding one.
About the Porterhouse Medical Group
The Porterhouse Medical Group is a scientific and medical communications network with a reputation for excellence. Our work is underpinned by Porterhouse Insights, our research, insight and evidence consultancy, that leverages a wealth of tools and technologies to design ‘real world’ research solutions for biopharmaceutical clients, including those working on Multiple Sclerosis.
If you have any questions about the information in our article or our experience working on MS, please get in touch: https://www.porterhousemedical.com/contact/.
MS Society: https://www.mssociety.org.uk/
MS Trust: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/
Shift.ms (social network for people with MS): https://shift.ms/
- Bringing us closer: World MS Day 2018. Available at: https://www.msif.org/news/2018/05/08/bringing-us-closer-world-ms-day-2018/. Accessed May 2018.
- Multiple sclerosis: Overview. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/multiple-sclerosis/. Accessed May 2018.
- Treatments and therapies. Available at:https://www.mssociety.org.uk/about-ms/treatments-and-therapies#. Accessed May 2018.
- Research and MS. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/research/research-and-ms. Accessed May 2018.