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Prominent MS Researchers To Speak At Rocky Hill Conference

ROCKY HILL, Conn. — Two prominent researchers in the field of multiple sclerosis (MS) will be speaking in Connecticut later this month.

Timothy Vollmer, M.D., and Nicholas La Rocca, Ph.D., will be the presenters at MS Research Night, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter’s annual research conference. Attendees will hear the latest information in MS research, with a focus on one of the largest ongoing studies of the impact of multiple sclerosis on day-to- day life.

The Sonya Slifka Longitudinal MS Study is a long-term project that will permit scientists to further explore several questions about the impact of the disease on people living with MS. The areas of study include MS and aging, access to health care, medication use, response to disease-modifying agents and family issues.

“People with MS often face significant obstacles as part of everyday living,” said Lynette Coleman, associate vice president for program and services for the Connecticut Chapter. “It is essential to accumulate data on these problems so we can influence health policy that improves the lives of people with MS.”

More than 6,000 Connecticut residents live with multiple sclerosis, a chronic and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. There currently is no cure. Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness and, in some more severe cases, total paralysis. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted.

The theme of this year’s MS Research Night is Meeting the Promise of MS Research, examining the Sonya Slifka Longitudinal Study and the Role of Studies in Understanding Multiple Sclerosis.

Because a wide variety of information is being tracked, the Sonya Slifka Longitudinal MS Study will also permit scientists to pose new questions as they are identified, and allow investigators to tease out factors that may influence disease course, according to Coleman. The Slifka study is one of four major projects funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Promise: 2010 initiative —  a major fundraising campaign by the National MS Society.

Information collected in the study is now being made available to qualified investigators seeking clues to the impact of MS over time, helping researchers in their goal to end the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis now.

Nicholas La Rocca, Ph.D., is vice president of health care delivery and policy research for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He is a clinical psychologist who has been working with people who have MS since 1979. His research interests include assessment methods, psychological issues, cognitive rehabilitation and quality of life. In 2006 La Rocca and Dr. Rosalind Kalb published “Multiple Sclerosis: Understanding the Cognitive Challenges.”

Timothy Vollmer, M.D., is director of the North American Research Committee On Multiple Sclerosis with the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers. He specializes in neuroimmunology, has written articles for such journals as Neurology, Archives of Neurology and Multiple Sclerosis, and has authored book chapters on demyelinating disorders of the central nervous system and molecular and cellular approaches to neurological disease treatment. Vollmer is actively involved in both clinical practice and clinical research.

“This will be a wonderful night to connect with health professionals and MS researchers,” said Coleman.

MS Research Night will take place Wednesday, May 21, at 6 p.m. at the Hartford Marriott Rocky Hill (Conn.). For more information call 800-FIGHT-MS or go to http://www.ctfightsms.org/. This program is supported by an unrestricted educational grant made possible by Teva Neuroscience.


For More Information
Contact Lisa Cook
Communications Specialist
Phone: 860.714.2300, ext. 249


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