Saturday, 23 June 2018

MS Dream Team are on their way!


The team arrived in one piece at Fort William (the home of the tallest peak in Scotland: Ben Nevis) just shy of midnight yesterday. This morning we’ve packed and re-packed our bags, tried out our UK MS Society t-shirts (some of us need to lose weight...), and are deligently checking the weather hour to hour for a wee glimpse of the sun. Scotland even at her worst is simply breathtaking.

Driving up last night, we witnessed rows of white vans passing us in the opposite direction at 11pm and immediately knew that the first few teams have managed to scale Ben Nevis in 5 hours. Those of you’ve who have been up Ben Nevis will already know that a tourist is quoted 7 hours by the locals. Fingers crossed that we achieve a quick time today. From Ben Nevis, we will drive to the Lakes to scale Scafell Pike in the dark and then onto Wales to climb Snowdon. Our goal is to achieve all of this in 24 hours.

When I started the team, the participants were hand picked for their dedication to Multiple Sclerosis work and the rare disorders, and it goes without saying that they also have superb fitness levels. Everything you’ll see on our Just Giving page and Twitter (@neurognanapavan) gives a good indication of our efforts to organise this challenge. The first training events began 4 months ago, and all the logistics of the challenge have been self-organised (we decided as a team that we will not use one of the commercial companies for this). There have been ups and down and owing to medical issues and scope of the endeavour we currently stand at 4 members (outlined below).


  • Professor Alasdair Coles (Professor of Neurology, Cambridge).
  • Dr Emre Amirak (Associate Medical Director in pharma, ex-cardiothoracic surgeon).
  • Dr Violeta Sanchez (Consultant Neurologist, Barts Health)
  • Dr Sharmilee Gnanapavan (Consultant Neurologist, Barts Health)

Our families and friends have listened to us at ad nauseam about this day, some of it with reservations but ultimately they understand that what makes us persistent in our obstinacy at work, is also driving this. So hear’s to the #MSDreamTeam a partnership made in common goals and a start of a good friendship.

Stornoway research day: What does the future hold?

Prof G discusses upcoming treatments for progressive MS and the importance of maintaining brain health and upper limb function. 



Friday, 22 June 2018

News: NICE approves ocrelizumab

NICE considers ocrelizumab to be less effective than alemtuzumab. 



Guest post: A snapshot of current disease modifying therapies

There are many disease modifying therapies (DMTs) available for people with Relapsing MS in 2018. DMTs work to prevent MS relapses in the future, and to minimize new MRI activity over time. With many options, it can be hard to decide which therapy to start on, or which one to switch to. 

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Stornoway research day series: The cost of MS

Dr Niall MacDougall discusses the economics behind MS and the cost to the individual, families and society.




Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Guest post: MSexism

Is the MS world biased against women?

Another week - another news headline about how women are paid less than their male counterparts. This time it is consultants working in the NHS - and Jeremy Hunt, the UK Health Secretary, has vowed to tackle the pay gap.

So what does this have to do with multiple sclerosis?

A lot, I believe.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Happy Anniversary Prof G

It is 25 years to the day that I arrived in London to start my PhD on body fluid biomarkers in MS. 


What has changed in the last 25 years?


Stornoway research day series: Self-management

MS Specialist Nurse for the Western Isles, Rachel Morrison, talks about the importance of self-management in multiple sclerosis. And she covers some top tips for managing your own condition.




Sunday, 17 June 2018

Stornoway research day series: Understanding your MS symptoms

Dr Stewart Webb defines what multiple sclerosis is, and what's going on in the body when you feel certain MS symptoms.