Over 8,000 people expected in Barcelona for the world’s largest MS conference

This week, synergism, knowledge exchange and training in the MS field will take place as more than 8,000 people from around the world will come together for the 31st Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS). The last time Barcelona hosted the ECTRIMS congress was in 1992, when only 250 people were in attendance. The immense growth in interest and involvement in MS research and treatment is truly encouraging, and brings hope to those affected by MS.

ECTRIMS is not only about presenting scientific data, it is also about collaboration that transcends geographic borders and disciplines, training the next generation of MS professionals, and discussing ways to improve practices and policies related to the diagnosis and treatment of people living with MS. This year’s program includes a number of important initiatives, such as a patient day which took place earlier in the week and involved people with MS sharing their personal experiences and priorities for research, and a special session devoted to MS nursing.

Some of the topics that we will hear more about throughout the week include personalized therapy –regarded as one of the biggest unmet needs in MS research and care – biomarkers, MS prevention and risk reduction, clinical trial updates, neuroprotection and remyelination, MS and reproduction, and comorbidities.

Canadian researchers, many of which are funded by the MS Society of Canada, are involved in every aspect of the conference; trainees will present the latest evidence gathered from their research, senior researchers will serve as mentors during teaching sessions, and the MS community’s most seasoned MS experts will be actively engaged in meetings such as those of the Progressive MS Alliance and Canadian Network of MS Clinics. As the week unfolds, the research team will be delivering updates from one of the most important and impactful MS research meetings. Follow me on Twitter (@Dr_KarenLee) for  live updates, and check the blog for daily recaps!

7 thoughts on “Over 8,000 people expected in Barcelona for the world’s largest MS conference

  1. Robert Francis

    Just wanted to share a video showing pollution spread across the prairies. In case there is any relation to “MS hotspots” linking environmental causes. This type of SO2 (Industrial pollution) spread may help to explain the randomness of where some groups of MS show up. Just want to make sure someone in the MS research field was made aware of this and can share accordingly with other researchers.
    Thanks and have a great day!


    1. drkarenlee Post author

      Hi Robert,

      Thank you for that interesting find. In terms of the link between air pollution and MS risk, so far the data suggesting a connection is limited, although some studies have presented some evidence that certain pollutants can be associated with MS risk. For example, a study published in 2011 by researchers at Perdue University showed that a certain compound called acrolein (found in tobacco smoke and car exhaust) may lead to myelin damage and deteriorating symptoms in mice with an MS-like disease. Additionally, a recent study of MS prevalence in Iran in over 2,100 people living with MS showed some association between areas of long-term exposures to air pollutants and cases of MS. I will be keeping an eye on this and will post any research updates as they become available.

      Dr. K


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