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Research in Action - September 2020
Research in Action Newsletter
September 2020
Latest research news and updates from the MS Society of Canada

Natalie Rzeszutek

This year, the research team at the MS Society of Canada welcomes Natalie Rzeszutek in the role of Research Coordinator. Natalie graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours BSc in Psychology. Most recently, she received a Masters in Social Justice and Gender Studies at the University of Alberta where she studied how immigration policies result in barriers for employment of African newcomer populations in Canada. She brings experience as a research coordinator at the University of Alberta where she successfully facilitated a research symposium that brought together international scholars and graduate students.

She is most excited at the prospect of embracing challenges of a new role, applying what she has learned to the not for profit sector and supporting people living with MS.
Research Events and Funding Opportunities


This year, the MS Society fundraising has gone virtual! Achieving a world free of multiple sclerosis (MS) takes more than one person, and there isn’t just one way to accomplish it. We Challenge MS is a nationwide movement turning people’s ordinary hobbies and passions into extraordinary actions. Whether you choose to create, stream, write, bake, game, craft, walk, share, cycle, run however you choose to challenge MS, know that, #WeChallengeMS together.

You can register or find additional information to share with others here.

Webinar: Hear from the Experts: How to Take Charge of Your MS

With several different options for managing multiple sclerosis do you sometimes feel overwhelmed when trying to decide what is best for you? Assessing all of the information you hear can be difficult, but it is critical to helping you take charge of your MS. Plus, your questions will be answered by the experts during a Q&A period.

Join us September 23rd at 7:00pm EST. Click to register here!

COVID-19 & MS: A Global Data Sharing Initiative to Understand the Impact of COVID-19 on People Living with MS

A global effort is underway to understand the impact of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, on people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other CNS demyelinating diseases (Neuromyelitis Optica, or MOG antibody disease). Through a COVID-19 & MS global data sharing initiative, participating countries are capturing and sharing data to understand the effect of COVID-19 on people with MS and other demyelinating diseases. COViMS (COVID-19 Infections in MS & Related Diseases) is the North American effort to capture clinical information from health professionals on outcomes of people with MS who have developed COVID-19.

Additionally, people living with MS, whether they have experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 or not, can directly contribute to this global data collection effort by completing a survey on the platform most appropriate to them.
Research Updates

Studying the Efficacy of Cannabis in Treating MS Symptoms

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), announced $1.5 million in funding for a clinical trial led by Dr. Duquette which aims to determine the clinical effects of cannabis derivatives, THC and CBD, in treating spasticity and other symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

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Treatment Optimization in Multiple Sclerosis: New Recommendations from the Canadian MS Working Group

The Canadian MS Working Group, which consists of neurologists from the Canadian Network of MS Clinics, has released an updated list of recommendations on the optimal use of disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for individuals with all types of MS and special populations (pregnant women and pediatric MS). These treatment optimization recommendations (TORs) provide guidance on starting, monitoring, and switching therapies to ensure that people are receiving the most optimum treatment, given their disease course and health status.

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New Health Conditions Identified as part of the MS Prodrome

Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, can start years before clinical diagnosis and are often preceded by a range of health issues. These early symptoms are collectively known as the “prodrome”. Recent evidence points towards the existence of a MS prodrome, as reported by Dr. Helen Tremlett's research team at the University of British Columbia.

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Stay Updated!

COVID-19 Information

As the situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to change rapidly across Canada, the MS Society of Canada is closely monitoring information on COVID-19 as released by the Public Health Agency of Canada and other public health authorities. The health of the MS community is our priority as we manage concerns related to COVID-19. Stay informed through frequent updates on our website.

To help you navigate this unprecedented time, we’ve put together a list of resources you may find beneficial.
Get Involved in a Research Study
The MS Research Portal is a resource provided by the MS Society of Canada that aims to connect Canadian researchers seeking participants for studies with people affected by MS who want to get involved in research. Each month, this section will highlight a select study hosted on the Portal. This month’s feature study is:

Canadian Prospective Cohort Study to Understand Progression in Multiple Sclerosis (CanProCo)

CanProCo is an observational study of different factors thought to play a role in MS disease progression. Bringing together several fields of study is a powerful way to assess different aspects of progression in MS leading to: a better understanding of the biological mechanisms of progression, identification of risk factors for progression, development of biomarkers to monitor progression and predict treatment response, and inform strategies to improve the lives of people living with MS. All these insights have the potential to improve clinical practice, and on a larger scale, affect health policy.

For additional information and details to participate in the study, please visit the study page on the MS Research Portal.

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