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Symposium summary: Is the MS community ready to promote brain health?

6 October 2015

The aim of treating multiple sclerosis (MS) should be to maximize lifelong brain health in order to minimize long-term disability.

Tim Vollmer presents 360

This forward-looking therapeutic goal comes from an international consensus document published by Oxford Health Policy Forum for the MS Brain Health initiative. Brain health: time matters in multiple sclerosis saw its official launch this evening at a symposium in Barcelona on the eve of the largest MS conference in the world.

The symposium, Is the MS community ready to promote brain health?, was chaired by lead author Gavin Giovannoni, who introduced an international multidisciplinary panel drawn from the author group. Tim Vollmer presented the growing scientific basis for taking a brain health perspective on MS. He was followed by George Pepper who talked about shared decision-making from the patient perspective. Gisela Kobelt and Helmut Butzkueven rounded off the evening with a joint presentation on the importance of generating real-world data for economic evaluations.

Audience participation was encouraged via interactive multiple choice voting. The greatest reaction was provoked by the answer to a question posed by Tim Vollmer: on average, people with MS lose brain volume seven times more rapidly than healthy controls.

The reach of the symposium was extended via live-tweeting by audience members, enabling others across the globe to follow online. Those engaging in this way included Barts MS Blog, European MS Platform, MS News Today, Neurodegenerative Disease Management Journal, Shift.ms, UK MS Register, and staff members from the MS Society and MS Trust. Helmut Butzkueven’s observation from his own clinical practice that early cognitive change is a massive contributor to unemployment in MS created the largest stir among the event’s virtual audience.

Brain health: time matters in multiple sclerosis is available to download from the MS Brain Health initiative website.

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