The Brain health: time matters in MS report highlights the importance of early intervention, diagnosis, a clear treatment target and regular monitoring in maximising brain health and improving disease outcomes for people with MS.
The report, written by an international group of experts led by Professor Gavin Giovannoni emphasises the importance of acting in a timely manner because, when it comes to the brain, what is lost is not regained.
It also recommends a ‘brain-healthy’ lifestyle which involves management of other conditions (co-morbidities) such as heart disease and high blood pressure that could impact on an individual’s MS.
As more and more effective therapies are developed and our knowledge of MS increases, it is important that these advances are brought into practice, so people with MS can benefit from them.
Following a process of consultations with our members and key advisory groups, MSIF endorses the recommendations from this document and is promoting it across the global MS movement. Two important issues emerging from the consultation are that the report could have placed more emphasis on the benefits of neurorehabilitation and multidisciplinary care in maintaining brain health.
The recommendations are listed under the following headings and can be found on pages 11-13 in the report:
- Set goals for treatment and ongoing management that aim for the best possible outcome for every person with MS.
- Minimize delays in the diagnosis of MS and in the time to treatment initiation as these can result in irreversible disability progression.
- Consult the most robust evidence base possible, and generate further evidence, in order to make good decisions about therapeutic and management strategies for MS.
As highlighted by findings from the Atlas of MS 2013 report, that there are substantial inequalities around the world when it comes to access to MS treatments and specialist medical care.
In areas where the recommendations cannot be fully put into practice, the report provides powerful support for healthcare professionals, MS societies, policy makers and other stakeholders to campaign for improved treatment and management of MS.