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World MS Day 2018: Wednesday 30 May spotlights research

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MS Australia (MSA), MS Research Australia, the four state/territory MS organisations and the international multiple sclerosis (MS) community will recognise World MS Day on Wednesday 30 May 2018.

“The theme of World MS Day 2018 is research, which is a great opportunity for us to focus on how research is bringing us closer to a cure for MS. This progress has been neatly captured in a series of researcher profiles, short videos and formally recognised in the Australian Parliament”, said the CEO of MS Australia, Deidre Mackechnie.

“World MS Day helps us to raise awareness about MS – the public can share stories, attend events, support community campaigns and together, strengthen the network of people living with MS across the world,” added Ms Mackechnie. “The day is also a chance to recognise MS community support networks such as organisations and carers among others.”

The MS International Federation (MSIF) 2018 #bringinguscloser campaign will connect those affected by MS closer to people involved in MS research – including scientists, students, fundraisers, volunteers, nurses and others – to celebrate achievements and share hopes for the future of MS research. A key campaign message is that regardless of where progress in MS research is made, it will benefit people all over the world.

MS Research Australia CEO Dr Matthew Miles agrees that research is bringing us closer to ending MS. “Alongside this, the research theme also helps us highlight both the brain drain in Australia – where talented young MS researchers cannot remain in their chosen field due to the unavailability of funding and are either leaving the field completely or heading overseas – and the critical MS research funding shortfall,” said Dr Miles.

“Our wish on World MS Day 2018, is to raise awareness of the need for increased funding to accelerate Australian research targeting prevention, better treatments, ways to enhance quality of life and a cure for MS.

“We acknowledge the important role of the Australian Government in funding research into MS through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and in making MS medicines affordable through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS),” added Dr Miles, “however there is a need to increase the investment in research to a/ find the cause and a cure for MS and b/ to ensure leading world class researchers remain attracted to this field of research and conduct their work here in Australia.”

Some examples of how research is bringing us closer to stopping MS are:

  • World first blood test developed that can distinguish between the different types of MS. This project was funded by MS Research Australia and the Trish MS Research Foundation.
  • Investigating the genetic overlap between MS and Type 1 Diabetes, thanks to the support from the Macquarie Foundation. This important collaboration between two different charities (MS Research Australia and JDRF Australia) is now being replicated in the UK.
  • A new blood test (biomarker) developed to diagnose MS.
  • An international clinical trial has shown that siponimod can slow progression in people with secondary progressive MS.

For research videos:

Film is a great way to spread the word. MSIF has produced an animation about how MS treatments are developed and MS Research Australia has produced a video series featuring Australian MS researchers, to provide an insight into their passion, tireless dedication and hard work for people living with MS.

Hansard motion:

On 10 May 2018, the Australian Parliament formally recognised World MS Day 2018 and the Research theme through a motion passed by the Senate (refer page 29), which also acknowledged the condition; the importance of early diagnosis, early and managed treatment, a brain-healthy lifestyle; and the need to increase the investment in research and more.

About MS:

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition affecting the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
  • It is the most common chronic neurological condition diagnosed in young adults.
  • More than 25,000 people throughout Australia live with MS (and more than 2.3 million worldwide).
  • MS is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40.
    75% of people diagnosed are women.
  • The economic impact of MS on the Australian economy is close to $2 billion annually
  • MS varies significantly from person to person. For some, it is a disease that comes and goes in severity with periods of unpredictable relapse and remission. For others it means a progressive decline over time. For all, it is life changing.
  • Symptoms vary between people and can come and go; they can include severe pain, walking difficulties, debilitating fatigue, partial blindness and thinking and memory problems.
  • There is currently no known cause or cure.

To participate in World MS Day 2018:

  • Visit the MS Australia website or Facebook page
  • Join us on Twitter: #bringinguscloser or #worldmsday and help us get the hashtags trending early on May 30, as the rest of the world wakes up!
  • Download, use and share the MSIF World MS Day Toolkit materials
  • Visit the global World MS Day website
  • Re-tweet and share World MS Day 2018 Facebook posts, tweets and videos (spread the word!)
  • Engage with the four state/territory MS organisations: MS Limited (ACT/NSW/TAS/VIC), MS Queensland, MSWA and the MS Society of SA/NT. 
  • And/or find a World MS Day event near you!

(Source: MS Australia)

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Posted On: 17 May, 2018
Modified On: 15 May, 2018


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