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Research in Action - December 2018
Research in Action Newsletter
December 2018
Latest research news and updates from the MS Society of Canada
Research Profile

Tracy Fabri is a Master’s student at York University. The objective of her study is to investigate the relationship between memory, emotional expressions, and the brain network in pediatric-onset MS. Memory is critical for social-cognitive function. Thus, children and adolescents with pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis who often have memory deficits may be at risk for challenges with identifying emotional expressions. As faces provide us with information about sex, age, familiarity and what others may be thinking or feeling, identifying the emotional expressions of others is vital for successful social interactions and relationships. “My research can be likened to a jigsaw puzzle where individual pieces interlock to form a complete picture. I am working to understand how three pieces (i.e., memory, identification of emotional expression, and a brain region (amygdala) volume) come together to explain the relationship between brain and behaviour in pediatric-onset MS,” describes Tracey when she talks about her research.

One of the most rewarding parts of being a researcher for Tracy is sharing the results of her research with families, scientists, and broader community so that advances in the field can continue. From a young age, Tracy has aspired to help others and continues to do so through her research. “I am driven to advance research in MS. Meeting young patients with MS and their families as well as collaborating with an international interdisciplinary team of MS researchers motivates me to continue to deepen our understanding of MS to better the lives of affected individuals and their families,” says Tracy. Tracy has made it her life’s mission to “improve the lives of individuals with MS and eventually end MS.”

You can follow Tracy on twitter @TracyFabri.
Research Events and Funding Opportunities

MS Society is accepting applications for endMS Summer School and SPRINT

The MS Society’s annual endMS Summer School will be hosted in Calgary at the University of Calgary from May 26-129, 2019. The theme of the 2019 endMS Summer School is “3 Ps of MS: Pain, Protection and rePair”. Applications are now open and will close February 7, 2019. Visit the endMS Summer School website for updates. The MS Society is also offering the Scholar Program for Researchers IN Training (SPRINT), which eligible trainees can apply for until February 5, 2019. Visit the SPRINT website for details.

Scientists, clinicians, and community members come together to review research funding applications for MS Society grants and award

From January 21 to 25, scientific and clinical experts in the field of MS, as well as people from the community who are affected by MS, will convene in Toronto to evaluate research grant and award applications that have been submitted to the MS Society. Three review committees will meet to discuss operating grant applications in the biomedical and clinical and population health streams, pilot grants in the clinical and population health streams as well as personnel award applications which support Master’s, Doctoral candidates and Postdoctoral Fellows. To learn more about this process check out the MS Society website.

MS researchers and clinicians gear up for scientific conference

Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) will welcome researchers, clinicians, and trainees from around the world to Dallas, Texas for ACTRIMS Forum 2019. The scientific conference, themed “Precision Medicine Approaches for MS: Scientific Principles to Clinical Application,” will take place February 28-March 2, 2019, and will feature presentations from leading MS experts on topics including new therapeutic targets, underlying mechanisms of disease, neuroinflammation, and MS clinical trials. For more information on this meeting, visit the ACTRIMS FORUM 2018 website. The MS Society research team will be on site reporting on the latest research in MS.
Research Spotlight

A team of world-renowned researchers selected to establish the Canadian Proactive Cohort Study for People Living with MS (CanProCo)

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, along with partner Brain Canada, are excited to announce that a team of world-renowned researchers in multiple sclerosis (MS) were selected to begin work on the Canadian Proactive Cohort Study for People Living with MS (CanProCo). Biogen is also a founding and funding partner of the cohort. The over-arching goal of the cohort is to provide evidence that will impact clinical care and treatment strategies that ultimately improve the health, wellness, and quality of life of people living with MS. All this would not be possible without the acts of greatness from our partners, donors and supporters. For more information about the CanProCo, check out the FAQs and the MS Update.

Dr. Karen Lee is the MS Society of Canada blog

For over five years, the goal of Dr. Karen Lee’s blog has been to provide you with an insider’s view on research. This ranged from ground-breaking research to existing studies, introducing you to researchers in the field, and reporting on the MS conferences that she attended. She is excited to continue this journey at the MS Society of Canada blog: Please note that you will NOT be automatically subscribed to her posts at the MS Society blog, so you must go and subscribe. Join her at her new home for all future posts on research.

The faces behind the research team establishing the Canadian Proactive Cohort Study for People Living with MS (CanProCo)

Recruitment of 1,000 people with multiple sclerosis and development of a holistic picture of the factors and interactions that lead to progression in MS these are just a couple of the tasks that the research team leading the Canadian Proactive Cohort Study for People Living with MS (CanProCo) are ready to take on. In her latest blog, Dr. Karen Lee introduces you to the internationally known researchers committed to establishing a Canadian cohort of people with MS. Read the blog here.

Happy Holidays from the research team! Here is the research recap for 2018 and what can we hope for the future.

As the end of 2018 is right around the corner, Dr. Karen Lee shares the progress made in the last year and what the future has in store for MS research. This year’s round-up include one of the biggest milestones of the year, the conditional approval of the first drug for adults with primary-progressive MS. It also highlights the vitamin D and MS recommendations, a new clinical trial aimed at improving cognitive function in MS and the cohort. Check out the blog for more details!
MS Society Funded Research

Dr. Jiwon Oh, Assistant Professor, Division of Neurology, St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto

This month we are featuring Dr. Jiwon Oh Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Neurology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Oh is a staff neurologist at St. Michael’s Hospital and specializes in the care of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Concurrently, she holds appointments as a scientist at the Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and a part-time Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Oh’s research focuses on developing advanced imaging techniques in the spinal cord and brain for use in clinical settings. She leads the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research program at St. Michael’s Hospital and is the principal investigator (PI) on a number of local and collaborative, multi-center MRI studies. Dr. Oh is leading the Canadian National Progression Cohort, which will be a prospective cohort study that will be designed to better understand progression in MS.

Dr. Oh leads the Canadian Proactive Cohort Study for People Living with MS (CanProCo) with the team of internationally known collaborators. The researchers in this study have received over $6,000,000 to study progression in MS. The over-arching objective of establishing the CanProCo is to better understand progression in MS using scientific methods from many different fields, with the ultimate hope of improving the lives of people living with MS. The research team aims to achieve this goal by assembling a carefully-selected group of people living with MS with different subtypes of the disease, and in different disease stages, and following them over time for at least five years. The information collected by the CanProCo project has the potential to provide an in-depth understanding of both how progression in MS starts, and why progression takes place more rapidly in some patients versus others. The knowledge gained from this endeavor will lay the foundation for better treatment strategies and will inform future research, which will ultimately result in better health outcomes and quality of life of people living with MS. Check out the study page here.

Did you know?

Living with MS is living in a body that doesn’t listen to you some days. The smallest things suddenly become #ActsofGreatness. MS can strike anyone at any moment, but the MS Society is on the cusp of important breakthroughs that will change lives. Together we can end MS. Join the movement at and help fund acts of greatness.
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:

Understanding the impact of disability on dietary intake and patterns in people with multiple sclerosis

The purpose of research is to understand the impact of disability on dietary intake and patterns in people with MS. This study is investigating the impact of disability on dietary intake in people with multiple sclerosis. Participants will be asked to complete questionnaires as well as a 3-day diet log. The questionnaires should take no more than 45 minutes to complete and completing the diet log should take no more than 10 minutes at each meal. Study results will be used to further characterize dietary patterns in persons with MS and to understand the potential influence of disability on dietary patterns in persons with MS. For more information visit the study page on the MS Research Portal.
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