The MS Wire - A Column by Ed Tobias

Florida, MS biomarker, Lemtrada, nasal spray

Diagnosed with MS at age 32 in 1980, Ed has written the “MS Wire” column for Multiple Sclerosis News Today since August 2016. He presents timely information on MS, blended with personal experiences. Before retiring from full-time work in 2012, Tobias spent more than four decades in broadcast and on-line newsrooms as a manager, reporter, and radio news anchor. He’s won several national broadcast awards. As an MS patient communicator, Ed consults with healthcare and social media companies. He’s the author of “We’re Not Drunk, We Have MS: A tool kit for people living with multiple sclerosis.” Ed and his wife split time between the Washington, D.C. suburbs and Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The Disturbing Trend of Caregiver Abuse in the MS Community

This is disturbing and, unfortunately, not surprising. More than 50% of people with advanced multiple sclerosis reported they’ve been mistreated by a family member or friend who cares for them, according to the results of a survey published last September by researchers at the University of California, Riverside. Much…

Are You Having Trouble Paying for Your MS Medications?

If you’re having trouble paying for your MS medications, you’re not alone. I regularly see social media posts from people whose insurance has changed or whose insurance company has suddenly dropped a medication from its formulary (the list of meds it will pay for). Or, it has decided that you…

The First COVID-19 Shot Is Finally in My Arm

It’s a good thing my wife, Laura, is persistent. Thanks to her tenacity, we’ve both been able to get our first shots of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. According to the pharmacist who gave us our shots, in two weeks we should be about 60% protected from the SARS-CoV-2 virus…

Upper Body Health Also Is Important for People With MS

My left hand was numb and weak when I was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. For years after that, symptoms above my waist seemed just as prevalent as those below it. Yet, there were no tests being used that measured my waist-up disability level — nothing equivalent to the…

Don’t Jump to Conclusions Over a Breakthrough MS Vaccine Just Yet

A medical website’s headline screamed, “Breakthrough Multiple Sclerosis Vaccine Shows Impressive Results In Study.” The New York Daily News joined in, highlighting a potential “breakthrough” vaccine. Other media outlets also were using similar adjectives earlier this month. Unfortunately, it’s normal media hype. I suspect some of it was was…

Car Repairs Aren’t Easy When You Have MS

I love the car I drive, but I’ve hated going to the dealer to get my car serviced. In the four decades that I’ve lived with MS, my walking has deteriorated to the point where I use a scooter if I have to walk more than 75 feet. If I…

COVID-19 Vaccine Gets Thumbs-up from National MS Society

The advice issued Tuesday by the U.S.-based National Multiple Sclerosis Society about COVID-19 vaccination couldn’t be clearer: “Get your vaccine as soon as it is available to you.” New MS Society guidelines say that the two COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the U.S., both of which use an mRNA…

Can Amazon Lower Healthcare Costs?

The answer to whether Amazon, in partnership with a pair of financial giants, can make healthcare more accessible and less expensive for its workers is: Apparently, it can’t. About two years after rolling out a project known as Haven, the plug is being pulled. The idea had been for…

Will Reduced Treatment Time Keep Ocrevus Competitive?

One of the key considerations when choosing a disease-modifying therapy (DMT) is how much it will disrupt your life. It’s one of several factors that need to be evaluated. Unlike shots and pills, infusion treatments can require a significant amount of time. That’s why the U.S. Federal Drug Administration’s December…

Getting Back to Physical Therapy for My MS

Are you sitting down? I am, but I’ve been doing too much of that this year. For the past six months, I haven’t been using our community exercise room. I haven’t been able to swim. I haven’t gone outside that much. I’ve become a couch potato, and you know why:…

Can I Get a COVID-19 Vaccine If I Have MS?

Do you plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine? I do.  One is now available to some residents of the U.K., and approval in the U.S. of one or more likely will happen soon. Though the U.S.-based National Multiple Sclerosis Society has said only that people with MS should consider…

There Is No Magic Pill for MS Fatigue

I’ve been tired all day, which is nothing new, as fatigue and multiple sclerosis go hand in hand. It’s been one of my primary symptoms since I was diagnosed in 1980. To counter it, I’ve taken Provigil (modafinil) for many years. Initially, taking 100 mg in the morning helped…

Travel During COVID-19: Should We Stay or Should We Go?

The temperature’s dropping. The wind is whipping. It’s time for my wife, Laura, and me to head south, leaving cold, uncomfortable Maryland for the welcoming warmth of southwest Florida. Or is it? Though I once swore I’d never become a snowbird, a few years ago, we spent a week on…

MSIF Issues New Recommendations to Protect Against COVID-19

The Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) has issued new recommendations about how people with MS should adjust their daily lives because of the coronavirus pandemic. The MSIF, a network of national MS societies from around the world, first issued COVID-19 recommendations last spring. But much has been learned…