Conferences like ECTRIMS are a great platform for scientists, academic institutions and health organizations to announce breakthrough discoveries and important medical and research news.
During this year’s ECTRIMS meeting in Copenhagen, the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) announced the release of a very important document called the Atlas of MS. Made possible by the work of many individuals in the health and government sectors, the Atlas of MS provides a detailed overview of the patterns of MS prevalence, diagnosis, and treatment around the world. Not only does it reveal the number of people with MS in different countries, but also highlights the distribution of resources and services for people with MS in these areas.
The objective of the atlas is to assist governments, policy makers, non-profit organizations, and private industry in making informed decisions around the treatment and support for people with MS. The Atlas also encourages researchers to engage in international collaboration and raises awareness about MS in various areas.
Ultimately, if MS communities around the world can identify gaps in research, healthcare, government polity and support programs, they will be able to develop the necessary tools and practices that will address these gaps and build a better future for people affected by MS. More information on the Atlas of MS and key findings can be read in detail on the MS Society website.
I felt a sense of pride when I learned that many Canadians contributed to the development of this critical resource, including staff at the MS Society and MS Society-funded researchers. I had an opportunity to speak with one of the researchers at ECTRIMS. Dr. Helen Tremlett (pictured below at ECTRIMS with neurologist Dr. Penelope Smyth from Calgary) is an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine and epidemiologist at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Tremlett is interested in observing the effects of MS on people. Specifically, she looks at the relationship between MS and: pregnancy, family relationships, disability, other chronic health conditions and use of therapies.
Here are the some of the highlights from my interview.