Medical treatment options to reduce relapse rates and slow the progression of disability in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis are becoming available at a rate never before seen in Australia. Recently, Members of the MS Society of WA in the South West, were presented with current and future options that may alter the course of their disease at the annual Bunbury Members’ Forum.
Neurologist, Dr Andrew Kelly, presented a review of the disease modifying treatments currently available, and those currently being tested for their effectiveness in treating the various forms of MS. “The future of treatment for MS will involve more medication options at each stage of the disease, with the potential for a combination of therapies to be used. The aim of treatment will be to halt disease activity and allow for functional improvement.” Dr Kelly also talked about the focus of research expanding from modifying the progression of MS, to medical treatments which provide neuro-protection. The possibility of myelin, and even nerve, regeneration is a focus for the near future. “But that is in its very early stages” he said.
The increasing current interventions that promote greater independence and living options available for people with MS was the focus of a presentation by MSWA Occupation al Therapist, Robyn Loxley. Robyn showcased the assistive technology gadgets and software available through the MS Society. Automated doors, environmental controls, and software improving access to computers and the internet were on display. She demonstrated a ‘sip and puff’ device, for high needs clients, which enables the normal operation of a computer by alternately using the breath through a device strapped to a chair or desk. “With even minimal head movement, our Members can have some independence when it comes to controlling their immediate environment, home appliances and interaction with the outside world through the internet”.
MSWA Counsellor, Simon Rolph, rounded off the programme with a presentation on using Mindfulness to reduce the impact of chronic pain. “This is not just for people with MS” he stated “And, it is not about getting rid of the pain. We can’t make the pain go away. But we can choose how we react to the pain and reduce the suffering caused by trying to control it in ways that don’t work in the long term.”
“It is about having a choice”.
If you’d like more information on any of these topics please contact our Wilson office on 9365 4888.