Welcome to Living Well with MS. In this episode, we are sharing the highlights from one of our ‘Ask Aaron’ webinars, where neurologist, Dr Aaron Boster, answers questions about MS from the community. In this episode, Dr Boster covers a range of topics, including heat intolerance, when to start a DMT and his tips for self-managing MS.

You can watch the original webinar here. Keep reading for the key episode takeaways.  

Read the episode transcript

Topics and Timestamps:

02:13 Considerations for changing to a less stressful job and stronger DMTs.
05:09 Talking to clinicians about stress.
06:25 Hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
08:11 Stem cell transplants for PPMS.
10:35 Tysabri during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
12:23 MS and Stroke.
13:52 MRI showing brain cysts.
16:57 Betaferon and slow progression.
19:45 Changing from Tysabri to Ocrevus.
21:41 Vertigo.
23:05 Ampyra for walking, spasticity, and nerve pain.
25:50 Types of inflammation.
28:05 Anesthetic or epidural and MS.
30:15 B-cell depletion therapy and allergies.
31:17 Tips for self-managing MS.
37:42 Heat intolerance.
40:30 When to start on a DMT.
41:22 Ocrevus and low lymphocyte levels.
43:40 Diet and MS.
48:50 Nausea as an MS symptom.
51:30 CBD for MS.
52:45 Bursitis and MS.
53:36 Choosing a DMT and considering side effects.
55:16 Invisible illness in an ableist world.

Selected Key Takeaways:

Exercise as part of your daily lifestyle 
“Exercising as part of a lifestyle means that if you do it, you're not rewarded. There's no reward for doing something as part of your lifestyle and if you don't do it, there's no punishment - you're not sent to the naughty corner. So, for example, I have a lifestyle of brushing my teeth. I don't tweet about it. I don't make YouTube videos about it. I don't even talk about it when I get to work. It's just something I do every morning and if I happen to forget to brush my teeth before I head off to the office, I'll run upstairs and do it. This is part of my lifestyle. So, I need people impacted by MS to exercise as part of their lifestyle.”

Plan your day to minimise symptoms like heat intolerance
39:43 “We can conserve energy during those times when it's really hot out. Whereas I would normally encourage a patient to park at the back of the parking lot to get their steps in. If it's the middle of the day, [walking that far is] going to sap all your energy so that when you get to the grocery store you can't shop, that doesn't really work very well, does it? And so that's an example where we would have someone drop us off at the threshold of the grocery store so that you can be successful in your shopping.”

Be brave in using mobility aids and seeking accommodations.
57:27 “I tell people who are embarrassed by their cane, ‘Don't you dare be embarrassed by your cane, a cane is a sign of intelligence.’ A person with a cane would like to not fall. So, when a little boy is walking with [his] mum, and says, ‘Mummy, why is she using a cane?’ That's an opportunity for the mother to say, ‘Well, she doesn't want to fall, she has a problem with her leg and the cane helps her.’ It normalises it. So, one of the things that we need to do is to be brave. I'll remind you of the definition of bravery, ‘doing something despite being scared’. The second thing is, I want you to be very selfish. You need to be selfish; you live your life once. You're not living your life so some stranger, you don't know, thinks nice polite things about you.”

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Dr Aaron Boster’s Bio:

Dr Aaron Boster is an award-winning, widely published, and board-certified neurologist specialising in multiple sclerosis (MS) and related CNS inflammatory disorders. He currently serves as the Director of the Neuroscience Infusion Center at OhioHealth.

Why Dr Boster chose to become a specialist in MS

Witnessing his uncle’s diagnosis with MS when he was 12, he and his family came to see a lack of coherence in the way MS was treated at the time. That experience informed Dr Boster’s drive to do things differently.

Dr Boster’s career

At OhioHealth, he spearheads a revolutionary model in MS treatment and patient care drawing on interdisciplinary resources and putting patients and families first. Dr Boster is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Neurology at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, and a former Assistant Professor of Neurology at The Ohio State University, where he also formerly headed the Neuroimmunology division.

Dr Boster has been intimately involved in the care of people impacted by MS; he has been a principal investigator in numerous clinical trials, trained multiple MS doctors and nurse practitioners, and has been published extensively in medical journals. He lectures to both patients and providers worldwide with a mission to educate, energise and empower people impacted by MS.

Dr Boster’s education and personal life

Dr Boster grew up in Columbus, Ohio and attended undergraduate at Oberlin College. He earned his MD at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and completed an internship in Internal Medicine and Residency in Neurology at the University of Michigan, followed by a two-year fellowship in Clinical Neuroimmunology at Wayne State University.

He lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, Krissy, son Maxwell, and daughter Betty Mae.