Biopharmaceutical company Celgene has teamed up with the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) to launch a new initiative called MS MindShift: A New View of MS, aimed at educating the multiple sclerosis (MS) community on brain health.
Although it’s an “important topic,” brain health “is not often discussed within the MS community,” Amanda Montague, vice president of education and healthcare relations at MSAA, said in a press release. “The MS MindShift initiative aligns with our mission to help improve the lives of people living with MS by providing them with the knowledge and support needed to help manage their condition.”
When the immune system attacks the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) in MS, it results in lesions — damaged areas that can’t transmit the electric signals along nerve fibers, disrupting the flow of neural information. This disruption is what ultimately causes the symptoms of MS.
“Brain lesions can cause the affected area to lose proper function. When this occurs the brain has the amazing ability, known as neurological reserve, to utilize other areas for rerouting signals and performing the task the affected area no longer can,” said Barry Singer, MD, director of The MS Center for Innovations in Care at Missouri Baptist Medical Center. “It’s crucial for patients to understand the role of the brain in MS and how lifestyle changes may help maintain neurological reserve longer.”
The MS MindShift initiative will feature educational events in select cities, including New York City, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. More details are available at MSMindShift.com/events.
At events, people will be given educational materials, and the opportunity to learn more about the brain in MS, as well as the MS MindShift initiative itself, firsthand.
Some events will also feature the MS MindShift “Brain Bulb” hot air balloon — which is offered as a metaphor to “literally elevate the importance of having a ‘brain first’ perspective in MS,” according to the release. Attendees will have the opportunity to ride in the balloon to get a literal “new perspective” on the brain in MS.
“We hope the MS MindShift campaign provides new perspective to people living with MS,” said Terrie Curran, president of global inflammation and immunology at Celgene.