The MS Brain Health campaign, aimed at creating a better future for people with multiple sclerosis and their families, was launched on 6 October 2015.
The campaign is a call to action based on recommendations from a new multidisciplinary consensus report. Brain health: time matters in multiple sclerosis was unveiled at an international symposium on the eve of ECTRIMS, the largest specialist MS conference in the world.
Healthcare professionals and representatives from advocacy groups were among the symposium audience that heard lead author Professor Gavin Giovannoni and colleagues call for the adoption of a therapeutic strategy in MS that aims to maximize lifelong brain health.
Professor Tim Vollmer presented the growing scientific basis for taking a brain health perspective on the disease. He was followed by George Pepper who talked about shared decision-making from the patient perspective. Dr Gisela Kobelt and Professor 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 voting. The greatest reaction was provoked by the answer to a question posed by Professor Vollmer: on average, people with MS lose brain volume up to seven times more rapidly than age-matched controls.1 The reach of the symposium was extended via live-tweeting by audience members, enabling others across the globe to follow online. Professor 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.
“It’s our responsibility to make sure that someone living with multiple sclerosis gets to old age with a healthy brain, so they can withstand the ravages of ageing,” summarized Professor Giovannoni. “The treatment philosophy is as simple as that.”
The strategy includes early intervention, a clear treatment target, regular monitoring and improved access to disease-modifying therapies (DMTs).
The report has been welcomed by professional associations and advocacy groups, including the European Brain Council (EBC), the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform (EMSP) and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
The campaign is urging people to pledge their commitment to spread awareness of multiple sclerosis – and the potential to help people with the disease through embracing the recommendations of the report.
1. Vollmer T et al. J Neurol Sci 2015;357:8-18.