will set priorities
Over 300 MS activists and volunteers from across the
country will convene in Washington, D.C., March 7–9, 2011,
for the Society’s 20th annual
Public Policy Conference (PPC).
The Society’s Federal Activism
Council—made up of Society
activists and volunteer leaders,
chapter and home office staff,
and a representative from the MS
Coalition—will help identify
unmet needs in the MS community that can be considered for the
Society’s 2011 policy priorities.
MS activists will discuss some of
these key priorities on Capitol
Hill during face-to-face meetings
with their federal legislators.
The annual conference is a
pivotal part of the Society’s work
increasing MS awareness on
Capitol Hill and urging policies
that will improve the lives of
those affected by MS.
This year, the PPC will also
feature a performance by the Capitol Steps, a political satire group
originally comprised of Senate
staffers, and a bipartisan lunch
discussion about the political climate in Washington and how to
effectively advance non-partisan
issues in a partisan environment.
For more information about
the 2011 PPC, contact Laura
Weidner, manager of Federal
Relations, at laura.weidner@
Awareness Week 2011
is March 14–20. Visit
pain and distress
Depression, fatigue and other psychosocial impacts
of MS affect what’s known as
health-related quality of life
(HRQOL). A study published in
the respected journal Neurology
(2010; 75:1141–1149) found
that a type of meditation called
(MBI) significantly improved
HRQOL for people with MS.
The study, the largest of
its kind in MS, enrolled 150
people with relapsing-remitting
or secondary-progressive MS.
Seventy-six were randomly
assigned to receive weekly group
training sessions in MBI. This
meditation technique seeks to
create awareness and acceptance
of moment-to-moment experiences, with the goal of reducing
reactions that may worsen any
pain or emotional distress occurring from health-related changes.
After eight weeks, participants
in the MBI group improved
significantly more across all outcome measures (except perceived
limb mobility) than controls who
received only regular medical
care. An MBI subgroup that had
initially scored worse on scales
for depression, fatigue and anxiety before the study showed even
greater improvement. Researchers noted one study limitation:
the control group received no
intervention. It’s possible if they
had received a “sham” intervention, the controls might
have improved more due to an
increased sense of coping. Still,
the results highlight the importance of treatments for quality-of-life issues in people with MS.
FDA review of
In November, EMD Serono announced that the FDA had
extended its review of cladribine by three months to consider
additional information provided
by the company. The agency had
granted priority review status to
the application in July, which
shortened the review period. A
decision had been expected by
the end of November. The FDA
now has until February 28, 2011,
to make a decision about whether
oral cladribine will be marketed
in the U.S.
Cladribine has been approved
for MS treatment in Russia and
Australia, but was disapproved by
the European Medicines Agency.
Get the latest on oral cladribine and other MS research, advocacy efforts and Society events
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