Improving outcomes for people with multiple sclerosis

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MS is a serious and disabling condition that significantly impacts the families and caregivers of people with MS. There is an urgent need to create a better future for people with MS and their families.

The London School of Economics International MultiPlE Sclerosis Study (IMPrESS) aimed to explore the significant impact of MS on the health and wellbeing of people with the disease and their caregivers, as well as expanding on previous knowledge of the socioeconomic burden of MS. It provides clear recommendations aimed at policy-makers to improve outcomes for people with MS, such as:

  • Minimise delays in the diagnosis and treatment of MS to improve the quality of care and health outcomes for every person with MS;
  • Generate further robust evidence to inform decision making about therapeutic and management strategies for MS;
  • Increase responsiveness of health care systems to new evidence on MS.

Take a look at our factsheet here to learn more about the key findings of IMPrESS and recommendations for the future management of MS.

On the 26th June 2017, in parallel to the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) congress, we hosted a live webcast called: ''Shifting mindsets in MS: the need for policy change and better outcomes'' to discuss the findings of the IMPrESS report.

In case you missed it, we convened a panel of globally renowned experts to discuss the current challenges related to the effective management of MS and how these challenges impact the health and wellbeing of both people with MS, and their caregivers.  Jane Symons, author and journalist, led the discussion which included:

  • Dr. Panos Kanavos, Reader in International Health Policy in the Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics
  • Professor Gavin Giovannoni, Professor of Neurology, Barts and The Royal London Hospital
  • Professor Tjalf Ziemssen, Director, Center of Clinical Neuroscience, Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital, Dresden Germany
  • Joan Jordan, MS Patient, European Patients’ Academy (EUPATI) Graduate
  • George Pepper, Co-founder, Shift.ms

Some key topics that the panel touched on were the individual and societal costs of MS, why early treatment is so critical in managing the disease and access to MRI – current barriers and the implications:

What are the individual and societal costs of MS?

Dr. Panos Kanavos: “40% of people with MS are not necessarily in the labour force. So you can imagine we’re talking about an illness which, by and large, effects between three and seven people per 100,000”. The panel discuss both the direct and indirect costs which impact a person with MS.

Why is early intervention so critical in managing MS?

Professor Gavin Giovannoni: “There’s a whole load of reasons for delays. But this is not a new story. The delayed diagnoses still exist.” The panel discuss how a ‘delayed diagnosis still exists’, the reasons why and possible solutions.

What barriers exist for access to MRI and can it be used to detect disease activity?

Professor Tjalf Ziemssen: “90% of this disease activity would only be visible by MRI. Only 10% would be visible for the best neurologist who was able to monitor everything. So I think the majority, nine times more activity is seen by MRI.” The panel discuss the importance of using MRI to discuss disease activity.

To hear Dr. Panos Kanavos’ provide a full overview of the key IMPrESS report findings and to hear the full discussion, please click here.

Tags: Science, Patients, Neuroscience, Multiple sclerosis