Tagsmouldering MS

Dodging COVID-19 to fly to Copenhagen

I arrived late last night in Copenhagen to give a keynote lecture at their Danish MS Society’s annual conference. Copenhagen airport was eerily quiet; COVID-19 is clearly having a dramatic effect on flying. I was asked to give an overview of emerging treatment targets and outcomes in MS. My focus is going to be smouldering MS. I had to cut the section on prevention from my talk; prevention...

MS@theLimits 2020

Barts-MS rose-tinted-odometer ★★★ The Barts-MS team is heavily engaged with the 2020 MS@theLimits meeting at the Royal College of Physicians. Two things to note is the gender bias in favour of female speakers. This was in response to criticism about the male dominance at the last MS@theLimits meeting in 2018. I am speaking today about some of my ideas around ‘the real MS’ or...

Premature Ageing

One of my colleagues, with whom I was co-authoring an editorial on smouldering MS, demanded I delete the section on premature ageing being a factor driving delayed worsening of disability in people with MS (pwMS). I refused so we had to pull the editorial. The fact that he is quite old and doesn’t like the hypothesis of brain & cognitive reserve being neuroprotective explains his position. He...

Will the real MS say hello?

The difference between religion, a belief system, and science, an experimental system, is that you can falsify the latter, but not the former. So when KoL (key opinion leaders) say they believe something they don’t really mean it literally. What they are really stating is a hypothesis that needs to be interrogated.  So when I say that relapses and focal MRI activity are not MS, but are...

What’s in a name?

The Barts-MS team are in the final stages of preparing a UK MS Society grant application to tackle the ‘real MS’ that lives inside you. Our focus is on studying or defining what is smouldering MS. This is a massive unmet need and refers to what we currently call inactive SPMS and PPMS. This is likely to affect a lot of you; at present, you remain in the so-called untreated MS camp. Ocrelizumab...

My ‘Smouldering MS Clinic’

I finished yesterday emotionally burnt-out; “broken and useless, no longer working or effective” or “kaput” as the Germans would say. I did an all-day clinic with my registrar off sick; it was hard and brutal.  On my way home I wondered to myself if I should change the name of my MS clinic to the ‘Smouldering MS Clinic’. Virtually all of my patients had smouldering MS or as some of you would...

What’s in a name?

You will have noticed that a lot of discussion on this blog has recently been devoted to the topic of secondary progression or smouldering MS or whatever else you want to call it. At the moment there is no standard terminology for describing the scenario of someone with MS who is NEDA-2 (no relapses and no activity on MRI) who is getting worse. The getting worse could be overt, i.e. worsening...

What is MS?

The more I read,  think and assimilate information the more I realise that the real pathology behind MS is not the new acute lesion or relapse, but what is going on behind the scenes in the so-called slowly expanding chronic MS lesion or SEL.  MS is a smouldering disease.  In an analysis of the ocrelizumab-PPMS or ORATORIO trial, it is clear that SELs already existed in the brains of PPMSers when...

Do you want a cure?

MSers want a cure. However, even if we have an MS cure in hand we may not prevent or reverse progressive disease. How can this be? Focal inflammation damages nerves in two ways. It can shred and destroy nerve fibres as part of the initial inflammatory stage (acute neurodegeneration) or it can damage nerves and leave them functioning, but the resulting damage primes them to die off in the future;...

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