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Annual Meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers,Focuses on the Challenges of Care and Research in Multiple,Sclerosis

It includes discussions on non-pharmaceutical strategies and assessments, medication management, rehabilitation, and for some instances, intrathecal delivery of baclofen, a technology that has revolutionized rehabilitation in MS. Developed by a team on behalf of the CMSC, headed by Dr. Francois Bethoux, Danni Gogol, RN, and Matt Sutliff, physical therapist, it will be featured on the CMSC website after the launch. The development of this program was a CMSC project partially supported by Medtronic, Inc. 3. Numerous presentations throughout the week will focus on new and important information about MS research. A new feature of CMSC includes a "late breaking" poster session on June 1st in which Dr. Mark S. Freedman, Professor of Neurology at the University of Ottawa, will share results from a study that validates that immediate treatment of early stages of MS with an immunomodulatory agent can significantly slow the onset of disability.

Dr. Freedman is an investigator of the study called BENEFIT (BEtaseron in Newly Emerging multiple sclerosis For Initial Treatment) that tested whether earlier stages of MS can also benefit from pharmaceutical intervention. Results showed that prompt initiation of Betaseron treatment in patients with a first MS attack was associated with a 40 percent reduced risk of confirmed disability progression over three years. This study confirms that early treatment is desirable in MS to avoid or diminish long-term disability. Betaseron is approved for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS to reduce the frequency of clinical exacerbations. Patients with MS in whom efficacy has been demonstrated include patients who have experienced a first clinical episode and have MRI features consistent with MS.

For information about the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers,
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