We initiated the webinar series, in response to the COVID pandemic, to bring people with MS together online. The series proved popular and timely. Over 2000 registered for the series, over 1000 attended the webinars, from 55 countries around the world and hundreds are watching the replays (all 357 minutes). If you’re enjoying these numbers here’s a few more! 630 chat messages were exchanged and 245 questions tabled, plus two polls. In the polls we found the highest number of attendees, 35%, were doing at least 3-5 hours of exercise each week and separately fatigue, is the most common symptom (68% experienced).
Over to Martin Baum now, who has very kindly reviewed another webinar, the last in our 5-part Refresh with OMS series.
The fifth and final OMS webinar was extremely accessible, to an inexperienced newcomer like me who is yet to fully commit fully to the OMS programme. I was struck by how the success of OMS is as much due to the scientific data as it is to applying common sense so that we can look after ourselves better.
Dr Jonathan White, an NHS Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, and OMS medical adviser, hosted the Q&A themed webinar. Questions were varied. Kay, who has primary progressive MS, asked about taking oestrogen for post-menopausal women. Lucy wanted confirmation about the merits of sunflower oil or rapeseed oil in pre-packaged foods. There was even someone who simply wanted to know if takeaway meals were customisable for an OMS diet.
We learned that taking Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not a cure for MS, that we must check the packaging regarding oils and, finally, to ask questions about what was in the takeout food that we have ordered. Most of all, though, it was about applying common sense in the same way you would as if there was a question about a nut allergy or wanting to avoid MSG content.
As the session continued, with questions about Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and Paramaxil symptoms, what was key about this webinar, just as it had been with all the others, was that it continued to be about staying informed and preventative measures. It was about getting the message across about stress reduction through diet, exercise, and mindfulness.
Most MSers are not doctors like Jonathan White, himself an MSer, who strives to treat us medically. However, MSers have a duty of care for their own wellbeing. Throughout the series of webinars – and I am new to this medium - I found being spoken to instead of being spoken at by the hosts very relatable and reassuring.
Although they are experts in their field, if something was based on their own way of dealing with MS, they were clear that this was what worked for them. For Dr White, sleep, hygiene, not taking his phone into the bedroom and focusing on his exercise is what helped him feel better.
Alex Twersky, the Global Marketing & Communications Manager for Overcoming MS, has been a great catalyst throughout the webinars, connecting the guest hosts and ourselves, enabling us to watch and learn as much about OMS as it has been about ourselves.
As the webinar ended Dr White talked about the positive benefits of giving up meat and dairy which is at the very heart of the healing process. The way I see it, nobody is forcing anyone to give up anything for OMS. However, in their words, and perhaps this is the game changer, the scientific evidence for the OMS programme is compelling. The choice, however, is our own.
By Martin Baum, MS writer
One of our attendees also commented, "I found being spoken to, instead of being spoken at, by the hosts very relatable and reassuring"
You can watch replay of all the webinar in the series here: