Thursday, 8 March 2018

2018 Research Day news

We are excited to announce that this year Barts-MS will be teaming up with neurologists from Glasgow and presenting a research day in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.

Where are we going?
The Isle of Lewis (if you don't know) is up in the Western Isles, or Hebrides (also known as the "long islands" as they stretch for 100 miles).

Lewis is the northern part of Lewis and Harris, the largest island of the Western Isles or Outer Hebrides archipelago. 

Stornoway (Scottish Gaelic: Steòrnabhagh) is the biggest settlement in the Hebrides (population of around 8,000). Read more about Lewis and Stornoway, or look at this amazing photographic essay of young people on the isle.

There is a high incidence of MS on the Isle of Lewis. The average annual incidence of patients newly diagnosed with MS per 100,000 population, between 2010–2015 on the Western Isles is 7.9 per 100,000 (statistics from the Scottish MS Register) in comparison to 7 in EnglandResidents on Lewis have to fly to Glasgow to see a neurologist. So this year we are taking the neurologists to them. 

Why are we going to Stornoway?
Rachel Morrison is the MS Specialist Nurse on Lewis. She initiated the project by asking us to go there and speak to her patients, and she'll be hosting the Research Day. Rachel has been doing some exciting work with a digital team to improve remote patients' access to healthcare. One of the things she's done is to set up a texting service reminding patients of appointments, and to take medication or do exercises. In recognition of her innovative work, she won the Judges' Special Award at the QuDos Awards in November a few months ago.

What's the Research Day going to be like?
There will be a day of talks for healthcare professionals on the islands and a day of talks for pwMS and their families. We will also be hosting a Digesting Science event for young families.

We are hoping to film the events and the trip, so the talks will eventually be available for everyone to see!


  1. Is it true that Canada will soon overtake Scotland in terms of proportional MS rates?

    Could the high incidence of immigration from Asian and African young diaspora be attributed to this increase?

    1. According to some talks yes, maybe the smoking ban is having its effect. Heart attack rates I believe are down.

      As to the dispora I have no idea, there are enough epidemeologist in Canada to work that out. Maybe the dispora to Scotland allowed the Canadians to over take Scotland. However, being number 1 for MS is not something to shout about.

    2. Unlikely, both groups have intrinsically lower levels of MS, though that can increase with migration to in this case a more Northerly latitude. The indigenous Inuit have a negligible incidence of MS though this might be also be a consequence of a diet rich in oily fish with a high vitamin D content.

    3. Is a statistician going on your team? I doubt that the 7 and 7.9 would be significantly different.

    4. True, the interesting thing is that it appears that the incidence of MS (new cases per year per 100K) is less in the Western isles than for the Orkneys and other parts of Northen Scotland.

  2. I hope you have time to see a little of the island outside Stornaway. The scenery is stunning.

    1. I quite fancy seeing the Callanish standing stones. Really looking forward to the trip.


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