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25 January 2019

Overcoming MS endorses Brain Health initiative

We are delighted to share some news with you today. OMS is endorsing the policy report, Brain health: time matters in multiple sclerosis.

An international group of neurologists led by Professor Gavin Giovannoni has published an important report outlining a consensus approach to improving diagnosis, management and access to treatment for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Over 50 other global organisations have endorsed the report recommendations including the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, the Multiple Sclerosis Trust in the UK, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of America and the Multiple Sclerosis Societies of UK, Australia and New Zealand.

The Report recommendations are now endorsed by Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (OMS), are referenced on the charity’s website and are being shared with its active global support community. The OMS vision strongly aligns with the Report’s numerous observations and recommendations which advocate early intervention and provide evidence for the benefit of an early therapeutic strategy to preserve brain and spinal cord, and thereby function for people with MS.

An independent and global group of leading health professionals has developed the policy initiative calling for a change in approach to the management of multiple sclerosis, advocating a treatment approach that aims to minimise disease activity and maximise lifelong ‘brain health’.

The Report summarises the evidence and consensus findings from the structured discussions of a global author group, comprising clinicians, researchers, specialist nurses, health economists and representatives from patient groups, all with expertise and experience in the area of MS.

In summarising the available data, this report:

  • demonstrates the personal and economic impact of MS (Section 1)
  • examines the reasons behind delays in diagnosis (Section 2)
  • presents the evidence base for a therapeutic strategy that aims to maximize lifelong brain health, centred around a more urgent approach to management (Section 3)
  • advocates regular monitoring of disease activity and safety parameters (Section 4)
  • recommends switching therapy based on evidence of disease activity (Section 5)
  • provides guidance on how to improve access to treatment (Section 6)

The report aims to drive the adoption of a therapeutic strategy based on early intervention and persuade relevant target audiences that this approach will reduce the considerable personal, societal and economic challenges of MS. The vision is that the report recommendations will be used widely among those committed to creating a better future for people with MS and their families.

Overcoming MS educates, supports and empowers people with MS in evidence-based lifestyle and medication choices that improve health outcomes. OMS promotes a ‘7-Step Recovery Programme’, an evidence-based and rigorously researched approach to preventing disease progression.

Gary McMahon, past CEO of Overcoming MS, commented, “The Report offers some important recommendations which we wholeheartedly endorse and are happy to share amongst our community. It’s so important that we, and all relevant stakeholders, work together to raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis, treatment and equally important lifestyle changes, to offer hope of a brighter future for people with MS.

“We can influence outcomes as we all strive towards a common goal – the highest possible standards of care. OMS believes that there is further opportunity to encourage the early adoption of lifestyle modification of risk factors alongside a more assertive medication strategy.”

The 84 page Report has been designed to be easily readable and understandable by a range of audiences. Recommendations have been presented widely at international scientific events. Target audiences include healthcare professionals managing or encountering people with MS, people with MS, advocacy groups and policy makers.

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