My mother died of MS in 1981. Towards the end of her life, she was totally incapacitated, unable to feed or care for herself. I was diagnosed with MS in 1999. I was determined that this was not going to be my fate.
Fortunately, my career as a Professor in Emergency Medicine and background as Editor-in-Chief of a major medical journal gave me the tools to sort through the medical literature on MS, giving appropriate weight to the various pieces of evidence I found. What I found startled me.
The literature is full of answers. It is clear that remaining well after a diagnosis of MS is more than just a possibility. With commitment to the right lifestyle changes, there is the real probability that many people with MS can live long, healthy lives relatively free of the usual problems associated with the illness.
Since 1999, I have adhered to the lifestyle package I put together from the medical literature, described here and in greater detail in my book Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis. So have many other people with MS, including those who have read the book, and those who have attended OMS Retreats in Melbourne, Canberra, Auckland, the UK, Ireland and Austria that I have run with my wife Sandra, Dr Craig Hassed, Dr Keryn Taylor, Dr Sam Gartland, and others.
I remain free of further relapses, as do many of the people who keep in contact with me. My mission now is to bring this evidence to a wider audience. I am committed to a rigorous scientific assessment of the medical literature unbiased by the common conflicts of interest that arise from relationships with drug companies or the desire to sell products. My aim in searching the medical literature has always been to find sound science that supports the potential for people with MS to recover. Be in no doubt, it is possible to be well after a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
Professor George Jelinek is Professor and Head of the Neuroepidemiology Unit (NEU) within the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at The University of Melbourne. The NEU’s charter is to investigate the modifiable lifestyle risk factors that predict the progression of MS with a view to refining a preventive medicine approach to management of the disease. Professor Jelinek specialized in Emergency Medicine, winning the Prize in the first Specialist Examinations in 1986.
He is a past President of the Australasian Society for Emergency Medicine (ASEM) and past Vice President of the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM). He was the first Professor of Emergency Medicine in Australasia and Founding Editor of the journal Emergency Medicine Australasia, a MEDLINE-indexed journal that he has edited continuously for 25 years.
Recognizing his contribution to Emergency Medicine, he was awarded the ACEM Medal in 2003, the highest individual honor in the specialty of Emergency Medicine in Australia and New Zealand. The College for Emergency Medicine also awarded him the 2006 John Gilroy Potts Award and the 2012 and 2014 Edward Brentnall Awards for the best publications in Emergency Medicine and Public Health respectively in those years.
Recognizing his contribution to both Emergency Medicine and Multiple Sclerosis, Professor Jelinek was a Western Australian Finalist for 2008 Australian of the Year, and a Victorian Finalist for the 2016 Australian of the Year. Most recently, recognizing his leading role in MS epidemiological research and strong background in medical journal editing, he was appointed Chief Editor in neuroepidemiology for the leading MEDLINE-indexed neurology journal Frontiers in Neurology, ranked in the top 16% of the top tier 192 neurology journals indexed with Thomson Reuters.