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Research in Action

August 2017
Latest research news and updates from the MS Society of Canada

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Research Profile

Angela Covert


Angela Covert
Having worked in various social service roles, Angela Covert is not new to the non-profit industry. Angela began her career at the MS Society of Canada 25 years ago as a community development worker in the Toronto Chapter. “At the time, I didn’t know anyone with MS or anything about the disease,” says Angela, “I soon appreciated that the MS Society was a strong advocate for people with MS, and an organization that wanted to end MS and ensure that individuals and families affected by MS had services and programs that met their needs”. Now, as manager of education for the MS Society’s Ontario and Nunavut Division, Angela travels throughout the province leading educational events for the community and providing support to programs and services personnel.

Angela’s work is critical to providing information about MS symptoms, treatment options, latest research, and support and programs by bringing people affected by MS, doctors, health care professionals, community leaders and MS Society staff together. Not only do these opportunities provide participants knowledge and access to resources, but they provide Angela with an opportunity learn something new as well. “As a staff member of the MS Society, I see daily the commitment of staff and leadership in fulfilling the dual mission of funding excellent research and implementing effective programs and services,” says Angela. “After all of these years I realize that there is more to know and learn. I am inspired by the resilience of our members and their families, and I apply that to my own life.”

Research Events and Funding Opportunities

The MS Society welcomes applications for operating grants, pilot grants and personnel awards

The MS Society’s Annual Competition is now open, and is accepting applications for operating and pilot grants in the biomedical and clinical and population health research streams, as well as for master’s studentship awards, doctoral studentship awards and postdoctoral fellowships. Interested candidates must apply through the MS Society’s online grants management system Easygrants. To learn more visit the MS Society’s Funding Opportunities page.

Leading MS experts to present at 2017 MS Connect Conference in Toronto

The MS Society’s Ontario and Nunavut Division is pleased to announce that registration for the 2017 MS Connect Conference: Bringing the MS Community Together is now open. The event will take place on October 21 at the Holiday Inn Yorkdale in Toronto. The conference is open to people with MS, their caregivers and the larger MS community, and will include presentations from leading MS experts Dr. Mark Freedman, Dr. Tania Bruno, and Dr. Dale Robinson. For more information visit the MS Society's website.

ACTRIMS Forum 2018 releases new information on scientific program and abstract submission

Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) is accepting abstracts for the third annual ACTRIMS Forum which will take place February 1-3, 2018 in San Diego, California. The abstract submission deadline is September 15, 2017. Themed “Therapeutic Targets in MS: The Frontier and the Future of Disease Modifying Therapy,” the conference will feature scientific presentations and workshops in areas such as immunology, neurobiology, imaging, clinical trials, and repair. To learn more visit the ACTRIMS Forum 2018 website.


Research Spotlight

MS News


Credits: “Salt” by Dubravko Soric/CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
The cause MS is unknown, however genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors have all been linked to MS. Researchers are trying to determine if and how diet impacts the onset and progression of MS. A recently published article in Annals of Neurology from Dr. Alberto Ascherio and colleagues including MS Society-funded researcher Dr. Mark Freedman from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, assesses whether sodium intake is associated with MS activity. The research team discovered no association between sodium intake and conversion of MS in people who had their first clinical event suggestive of MS.

To read more about this study and other research, visit the Latest MS Research News on the MS Society website.

MS Society Funded Project


We are excited to introduce a new section to our monthly newsletter. Each year the MS Society commits funding for projects that are awarded based on their scientific merit and ability to provide the greatest benefit to individuals affected by MS. Each month we will introduce an MS researcher who is leading an MS Society-funded project and provide a brief glimpse into their work in MS.

Dr. Marcia Finlayson is Vice-Dean (Health Sciences) and Director of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Although she has a very busy schedule as Vice-Dean, Dr. Finlayson takes time to mentor the next generation of MS researchers in the MS Society-funded endMS SPRINT and Summer School programs. Dr. Finlayson is an occupational therapist by training, and obtained her Master’s and PhD degrees in community health sciences at the University of Manitoba. She has published numerous papers focusing on improving quality of life of people with MS. Dr. Finlayson was awarded nearly $300,000 in the 2017-2018 Annual Competition to lead a study involving a fatigue management resource for MS called MS-INFoRm. This interactive tool provides individuals with MS an opportunity to take a personalized approach to managing their fatigue by looking at factors impacting fatigue such as sleep, exercise, mental exertion, depression etc. Dr. Finlayson’s ream will conduct a randomized clinical trial with 200 participants. MS INFoRm is a computer-based tool that allow users to reflect on their successes, provides examples of how others have managed their fatigue, and suggests ways to manage stress and anxiety when performing fatiguing tasks. The research team will look at changes in fatigue after 3 and 6 months. MS INFoRm has the potential to benefit people with MS by enabling them to manage one of the most common symptoms of the disease.

Did You Know?

Symptoms of MS are unpredictable, vary greatly from person to person, and can fluctuate within the same person from one moment to the next. Some of the symptoms in MS include weakness of the extremities, fatigue, bladder dysfunction, and pain. There are a variety of ways to manage symptoms, ranging from pharmacological treatments to non-medicinal strategies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, exercise programs and alternative and complementary treatments.

Check out our webpage on symptoms that provides information on ways to manage the symptoms as well as key healthcare professionals involved in management of each symptom.

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:

  • Establishing an imaging biomarker for disease progression in multiple sclerosis. In MS, myelin, which surrounds nerves to speed up signal conduction, is destroyed in the brain and spinal cord. Dr. Kolind and her team at the University of British Columbia have developed an MRI scan to specifically measure myelin content. Myelin-specific MRI may be an ideal way to assess MS disease progression. Their aim is to develop a tool that monitors myelin changes to assess potential treatment options for progressive MS. The study calls for participants aged 18-65 with a clinical diagnosis of MS or healthy people aged 18-65. For more information please visit the study page on the MS Research Portal.

In Other MS News...

Interested in a research topic or event that was not covered? Submit your feedback to msresearchgrants@mssociety.ca.

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