We wish you all a very happy new year and we are delighted to share some exciting highlights with you at the start of 2022.
- MS Brain Health Awards 2022 – global launch
- Inspiration from the MS community
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding guidance
- The gut and MS – an evolving area of knowledge
MS Brain Health Awards 2022 – global launch
MS Brain Health is launching an annual series of awards to highlight the global impact of MS Brain Health and showcase some examples of the ongoing progress in this area. The first MS Brain Health Awards ceremony will celebrate the work of many healthcare professionals, MS societies and people with MS in addressing the importance of timely management and brain health in MS.
If you, or your organization, have successfully helped to promote or implement one or more of the MS Brain Health recommendations, or if you wish to nominate an individual who has done so, then you can apply for an MS Brain Health award in one of five categories: Patient organization, Patient advocate, Team, Individual (healthcare professionals) or Innovation.
For full details of the entry criteria for each award category, submission information and links to the submission form, please visit www.msbrainhealth.org/msbh-awards/
Entries should be submitted no later than 30 March 2022. Winners will be announced at a virtual event on Thursday 26 May 2022. Details of all award winners and finalists will be shared on the MS Brain Health website, newsletter and social media channels as part of World MS Day, 30 May 2022.
Inspiration from the MS community
For some inspiring examples of engagement in promoting brain health, read the poster on TIME MATTERS in MS that Jeremy Hobart presented at ECTRIMS 2021. This summarizes some of the ways that different MS teams plan to improve processes in their centres to help implement the MS Brain Health consensus standards.
Others have also shared how MS Brain Health has encouraged MS health professionals and organizations to promote greater understanding about brain health. According to the MS Brain Health 2020 survey results, 64% of the 69 healthcare professionals that participated and 80% of the 25 respondents with MS reported that our activities have improved knowledge about preserving brain health in people with MS.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding guidance
Maintaining brain health before, during and after pregnancy is very important for women with MS. Members of the MSBase Pregnancy Research Group, based in Australia and Northern Ireland, have kindly prepared a summary for MS Brain Health readers, based on their extensive research and the recommendations from recent peer-reviewed publications. This Pregnancy and breastfeeding guidance for women with MS gives practical tips for each stage of the pregnancy ‘journey’:
- Pre-pregnancy counselling
- Prenatal advice
As with all decisions about treatment and lifestyle, women with MS who are considering pregnancy should consult with their MS care team.
The gut and MS – an evolving area of knowledge
There is growing evidence that environmental factors – particularly exercise, diet and stress – affect the gut environment and may contribute to the onset and progression of diseases such as MS. Stanca Potra and Gavin Giovannoni, members of the MS Brain Health Steering Committee, present some of the latest knowledge in a short, informative piece on Gut microbiology and MS. Research into gut microbiology is still in its infancy, but large-scale randomized controlled trials in humans will in due course expand our knowledge.
It is important not only for people with MS to follow guidance about living a brain-healthy lifestyle, but also for MS health professionals to hold these important conversations with their patients at key stages in the care pathway – such as immediately following diagnosis.
An example of recommended timings for brain health-focused MS care. Reproduced from Hobart et al. Mult Scler 2018
In closing … We have just focused on pregnancy and the role of the gut. Are you part of an MS care team that has changed its approach to brain health, as a result of the MS Brain Health recommendations? Or you may be someone with MS who has transformed your lifestyle, your diet or your experience of pregnancy thanks to the guidance from your MS neurologist or MS nurse.
Why not recall an example of excellence and submit your entry (or nominate someone else) for an MS Brain Health award?
Thank you for your continuing support!
Gavin Giovannoni, MD
Professor of Neurology and Chair of the MS Brain Health Steering Committee
On behalf of the MS Brain Health Steering Committee: Gavin Giovannoni, Peer Baneke, Helmut Butzkueven, Tyler Campbell, Jelena Drulovic, Jodi Haartsen, Jeremy Hobart, Stanca Potra, Mitzi Williams and Tjalf Ziemssen