Monthly Archives: July 2014

Highlighting Canada’s best and brightest: My interview with Dr. Jiwon Oh

As we continue on the path to finding a cure for MS, it’s important to support our network of hardworking and talented MS researchers here in Canada. The MS Society is always thinking of new ways to stimulate interest in MS research among young people, and provide them with the tools they need to conduct groundbreaking studies and collaborate with other experts in the field. One great example that comes to mind is the MS Society of Canada’s endMS Transitional Career Development (TCD) award, which was awarded to Dr. Jiwon Oh in 2012. The TCD award is intended to fund promising individuals who are beginning their careers as independent researchers and to encourage them to either continue or begin pursuing work in MS here in our great country.

Dr. Oh is a researcher and neurologist who is extremely dedicated to the field of MS, and who has done exciting work so far in her career. With support from the TCD award, Dr. Oh began a faculty position at the University of Toronto, having previously completed her PhD and clinical fellowship at John Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Along with being an assistant professor at U of T, Dr. Oh works at St. Michael’s hospital where she splits her time between seeing patients in the MS clinic and doing exciting MS research using a sophisticated imaging procedure called optical coherence tomography through collaborations with John Hopkins University.

Photo credit: Jiwon Oh

I had the chance to speak with Dr. Oh about her research involving optical coherence tomography and what it’s like balancing clinical work with research. Here is what she shared with me.

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Answering your questions about the use of animals in research

Photo Credit: 2011 Novartis AG/Flickr Commons

Photo Credit: 2011 Novartis AG / Flickr Commons

I get a lot of questions about research, and especially about animal research. At the MS Society, we fund studies of all kinds, including those which involve the use of animals. When I was a graduate student at the University of Ottawa, I was involved in animal research, and know first-hand why this type of research is important. I thought this would be a good opportunity to clear up some misconceptions about animal research, and offer some perspective on the subject.

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Medical marijuana and MS: What does the research suggest?

The debate over the legal status of medical marijuana in countries around the world has been front page news lately. Marijuana is well-known as a recreational drug, and its use in the medical world is rapidly growing. Medical marijuana has been used to treat nausea that often accompanies chemotherapy, stimulate appetite, and relieve pain. The use of medical marijuana in Canada was legalized in 2001, and as of December 2013 Health Canada reported that there were nearly 40,000 individuals across the country authorized to possess dried marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Photo Credit: 2010 Mark (eggrole) / Flickr Commons

Photo Credit: 2010 Mark (eggrole) / Flickr Commons

Recent changes to laws on the production and use of medical marijuana has prompted questions from many people who use or are considering using medical marijuana, including people living with MS. Some of the questions we’ve heard at the MS Society are about the research on different forms of medical marijuana, and whether research supports a helpful or harmful effect of marijuana when used to treat MS symptoms.

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