AuthorGavin

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.

Taking flak for off-label prescribing

I was still wet behind the ears, in my 3-year as a neurology registrar in Johannesburg, when I first used an off-label DMT in MS. I manage to convince Vivian Fritz, my professor of neurology, to allow us to treat one of her patients with MS with mitoxantrone. This was shortly after the first case series had emerged from Germany. The patient concerned was a young woman with malignant MS who had...

Marmite on toast: the social crisis and MS

Recently one of my patients chastised me for telling her off for her poor diet, which consisted mainly of bread. She lives alone, which may explain why she eats so poorly. She has marmite or jam on toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and if she feels hungry another piece of toast for dinner. Interestingly, my mother used to refer to her elderly stepmother as a tea-and-toast lady and I never...

Japan epicentre of an Asian MS epidemic

I am about to return from a short MS meeting in Tokyo. This was my first exposure to Japan and Japanese culture. It is everything and more than I expected. I am beginning to get a sense of what ikigai means. Ikigai translates ‘to a reason for being, encompassing joy, a sense of purpose and meaning and a feeling of well-being’. Ikigai derives from iki, meaning life and kai, meaning the realisation...

Does your neurologist walk the talk?

Thanks to Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky behavioural psychology and behavioural economics have become very sexy. Kahneman & Tversky have spawned an industry of nudge theorists; people who devise ways of getting populations of people to do things that are good for them. People with MS are no different from the general population when it comes to doing what they are told to do. We have major...

Reinventing the wheel or the 4×4

We were rightly criticised last year for holding a meeting that highlighted the problem of variance in the provision of MS services, in the NHS. without a plan and vision about how to change things. I hope we have listened to you. The follow on meeting that we are hosting next month (8th-9th July) has a more ambitious agenda; it will even come with a 3-year action plan. I have always made the...

What has getting old got to do with MS?

The brain and spinal cord were not necessarily designed by evolution to last longer than approximately 35 years. It is only relatively recently that as a species we have extended our lifespans. Once you go beyond approximately 35 years of age there is a gradual loss of nerve cells, axons and synapses. This explains why as we get older we notice the effects of ageing; reduced vision, loss of...

Paediatric-onset MS

As you are aware approximately 3% of people with multiple sclerosis develop their first symptoms in childhood and adolescence. As the incidence and prevalence of MS are increasing we are seeing more children and adolescents with the disease. Why? Relative to MS in adults, most neurologists and other healthcare professionals are unfamiliar with the diagnostic evaluation, clinical course, outcome...

Information asymmetry

Outside the field of medicine, for example in law and economics, information asymmetry deals with the study of decisions where one party has more or better information than the other. This asymmetry creates an imbalance of power in decision making and transactions, which can sometimes cause these decisions or transactions to go awry and cause a breakdown in trust or market failure as worst-case...

The three Amigos

This week some of us with decanting to Edinburgh for the annual Association of Neurologists meeting. From an MS perspective, we will have lots to discuss including whether or not the UK MS community has the appetite to take on one, or all of these, studies. Which one do you think is the most important? The SALVAGE study, which is challenging NHS England’s DMT stopping criteria and saying...

The Natalizumab #AttackMS Trial

We propose the very early use of natalizumab to maximise outcomes in people with very early relapsing MS. In the European Union, natalizumab is licensed to treat adults with highly active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis for the following patient groups: Patients with highly active disease despite a full and adequate course of treatment with at least one disease-modifying therapy (DMT) or...

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