"Many of the preceding commentaries rightfully focus on the dramatic and life-changing advances that have been made in MS diagnosis, treatment, symptom management, and quality of life. Together, these have resulted in improvements in overall outcomes for many patients.
"When I first became involved in MS, in the late 1970's, the picture was very different. Older MS physicians still remembered using the hot-bath test to diagnose MS - based on the fact that sitting in hot water for 20 minutes resulted in a significant worsening of symptoms. Treatment was largely limited to using steroids for exacerbations. In other words, 'We've come a long way, baby!'
"Progress has been made possible largely by advances in two major areas - imaging and other technologies, plus drug development and testing. And the two go hand-in-hand. Without advanced imaging technologies, we wouldn't have the tools needed to evaluate drug therapies. This technology has also led to earlier diagnosis, and in turn early treatment is linked to better overall outcomes. This process will only continue and grow. For example, new higher resolution MRI scans are making it possible to begin to understand the role that grey matter, versus white matter, plays in better explaining MS progression and cognitive changes.
"Improvements in symptom management can largely be linked to the development of the concept of comprehensive, multi-disciplinary management strategies and personalized, patient-centered medicine. As with earlier drug treatments, earlier intervention to manage developing symptoms has helped lead to reduced MS-related disability and improved quality of life.
Future advances in MS will be linked to research in a number of areas: new and more powerful drugs to better control the disease and its progression, and - hopefully - to actually develop the long-elusive "cure" for the disease; neurodegeneration, to better understand the process or progression, and to slow or prevent its development; and better management of the many and varied symptoms of MS, both physical and emotional, to enhance overall quality of life and function.
Dr. Diana M. Schneider trained as a neurological chemist at UCLA, and subsequently worked for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the Neurosciences Research Program at MIT. She has been in medical publishing since 1975, founding Demos Medical Publishing in 1986 and DiaMedica Publishing in 2005.
|Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2013 13:13|