Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Announces 2019 Pilot Research Award Recipients

Four Programs in Epidemiology and Psychosocial Areas of MS Research Awarded Grants Supported by EMD Serono

These diverse and new research approaches to MS diagnose and care will help improve patients outcomes and quality of life.”

— June Halper, CEO, CMSC

HACKENSACK, NEW JERSEY, USA, January 9, 2020 / — The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) is pleased to announce the four recipients of its Pilot Research Award. The program supports innovative multiple sclerosis research projects that advance the organization’s mission and improves the lives of those affected by multiple sclerosis. The awards were supported by EMD Serono.

The Pilot Research Awards for 2019 supported by EMD Serono are:

“Examining Patterns and Correlates of Wellness in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis who use Wheelchairs;” with lead investigator, Stephanie L. Silveira, University of Alabama at Birmingham. This national epidemiological study will examine diet, exercise, and stress management patterns in wheelchair users with MS and the relationship between these health behaviors and wellness outcomes (i.e., comorbid conditions, symptoms, and quality of life). Results from this study can be used to create behavioral interventions that incorporate evidenced-based materials addressing diet, exercise, and stress that is unique to the needs of wheelchairs users with MS.

“Immunological and MRI Correlates of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction in MS,” led by Christopher Hemond, MD, University of Massachusetts Medical School. Evidence shows that stress and multiple sclerosis are linked; episodes of significant stress appear to worsen or exacerbate MS symptoms, and a well-designed trial of a stress reduction program showed that this intervention helped prevent new MS-related brain lesions. This psychosocial project will explore a variety of clinical aspects related to the use of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in persons with MS.

“MRI in Pediatric MOG Syndrome,” with lead investigator Emmanuelle Waubant, MD, PhD, The Regents of the University of California. Several diseases affecting the brain, optic nerve or spinal cord can mimic MS. As their management is very different, it is crucial to establish an exact diagnosis very early so appropriate treatment can be initiated as needed to prevent accumulation of irreversible disability. This is especially an issue in children as in that age range other diseases like MOGassociated disease and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis are common but have very different prognosis and treatment. The project proposes to use new MRI techniques to discriminate between pediatric MS and MOG-associated disease to enable treating appropriately shortly after the onset of their disease and avoid unnecessary exposure to potentially toxic medications.

“Understanding Psychiatric Comorbidity in Multiple Sclerosis Using Genomics,” led by Kaarina Kowalec, MsC, PhD, University of Manitoba, College of Pharmacy. The goal is to improve the understanding of mental health disorders in MS by investigating a person’s genetic factors (DNA). These genetic factors are called ‘genetic risk scores’ and they are the sum of all the genetic factors for either depression or anxiety within each individual. The study will find out if people with MS and a mental health disorder have a larger number of these mental health genetic factors, compared to people with MS and without a mental health disorder.

“CMSC Is excited about these Pilot Research Programs and is grateful to EMD Serono for making them a reality. These diverse and new research approaches to MS diagnose and care will help improve patients outcomes and quality of life,” said June Halper, CEO, CMSC.

For more information on all the programs and resources, including year-round education and its Annual Meeting, offered by the CMSC for healthcare professionals, visit
The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC), is the leading educational, training, and networking organization for MS healthcare professionals, researchers and professionals in training. The CMSC mission is to promote high quality MS care through educational programming and accreditation including live and online events, research grants, technical journals and papers, and targeted advocacy efforts. The CMSC member network includes more than 12,000 international healthcare clinicians and scientists committed to MS care as well as more than 60 Veterans Administration MS Programs and 250 MS Centers in the US, Canada, and Europe. The 34rd CMSC Annual Meeting, the largest gathering of MS healthcare professionals in North America, will take place May 27 – 30, 2020, in Orlando, FL. For more information visit: Follow CMSC on Twitter: @mscare and Facebook:

Annie Scully
Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers
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Source: EIN Presswire