The impact of early diagnosis, effective treatment and a brain-healthy lifestyle was highlighted throughout the 2016 Annual Conference of the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform (EMSP) in Oslo this week.
Speaking on the opening day of the conference, Professor Eva Havrdová (Charles University, Prague) made the case as to why time matters when treatment is started. “If we are losing time, we are losing brain.”
According to health economist Dr Gisela Kobelt (European Health Economics), the time to diagnosis is shorter than it was 10 years ago, but is still too long. “A delay of 3–4 years is too long to diagnosis. You need to preserve the brain reserve.”
The comments support key recommendations in the policy report Brain health: time matters in multiple sclerosis, launched in October 2015. Its core recommendation is that the goal of treating MS should be to preserve tissue in the central nervous system and maximize lifelong brain health by reducing disease activity.
The importance of early intervention in MS with the most appropriate agents was discussed more fully during a parallel session chaired by Norwegian neurologist Professor Øivind Torkildsen. Contributions from MSer George Pepper (Shift.ms), Professor Havrdová and EMSP’s Christoph Thalheim were also well received. Attendees at the session offered feedback on Brain health: a guide for people with multiple sclerosis, a short summary of the policy report written especially for people with MS.
The MS Society of Norway became the latest endorser of the policy report, bringing the total number of endorsers to date to 26. The MS Brain Health team is continuing to seek endorsement from local and regional groups, as well as identifying ‘brain health champions’ among healthcare professionals, advocates and people with MS.