Erma's Story

The day before Thanksgiving in November of 1999, I woke up with my right side temporarily paralyzed.  Thinking I had a stroke, my family doctor got me in that day.  After an examination, he made an appointment for me to be seen by a neurologist the following Monday. [More]

Taking Vitamin D May Benefit People with Multiple Sclerosis

Taking a high dose of vitamin D3 is safe for people with multiple sclerosis and may help regulate the body’s hyperactive immune response, according to a pilot study published by Johns Hopkins physicians in the Dec. 30 online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“These results are exciting, as vitamin D has the potential to be an inexpensive, safe and convenient treatment for people with MS,” says study author Peter Calabresi, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center and professor neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. [More]

Margaret Barney tells her story of MS and cancer

Margaret Barney, Executive Director of the MSplus Foundation, told her story about being dually diagnosed with MS and then cancer.

Barney said, “I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1979 but my symptoms first appeared in 1977 when I was 29, just a few weeks after my only child was born.”

Barney said, “After my baby was born, I got home from the hospital with blurred vision. This tipped me off that something was a little bit wrong. [More]

  Resource Spotlight
Flying Wheels Travel
Flying Wheels Travel provides people with physical disabilities, chronic illness or difficulty walking the opportunity to extend their lifestyle with unique travel and recreation destinations while empowering individuals and their family members to explore the world. Donor Closet
A Wonderful Resource!
The purpose of the "DONOR CLOSET" is to recycle used DURABLE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT (DME) & MOBILITY EQUIPMENT from people who no longer need or use the item. Many have up-graded, moved on to a more useable item, or otherwise no longer require the item. They donate the item to a person who needs it and has no financial means of purchasing it, or has been denied by an insurance company or government agency. [More]

MS Learn Online
Providing quality information and convenient access

Since its first broadcast in 1999, MS Learn Online, the National MS Society's Internet program, has been a successful way to educate about multiple sclerosis. View pre-recorded webcasts to learn more about MS from the convenience of your own home. Programs cover a wide variety of topics such as information for people newly diagnosed, MS basic facts, symptom management, employment, intimacy, care-partners, and progressive MS.

Each program may include:

  • Audio broadcast
  • Slide presentation
  • Program transcript (PDF format)
  • Technical support instructions
  • Survey
  • Additional resources
New MS Learn Online webcasts are also available as podcasts. [More]


Barrier Free Travel
A Nuts and Bolts Guide for Wheelers and Slow Walkers

This useful resource contains detailed information about the logistics of planning accessible travel by plane, train, bus and ship.

The ACAA and Air Travel
Protecting Your Wheelchair
Traveling With Oxygen
How To Advocate For Yourself
Finding A Travel Agent - Do You Even Need One?
Accessible Ground Transportation Tips
Accessible Recreation Options
Budget Travel
Finding An Accessible Room

Click here to order paperback or eBook.


Over-the-counter drug may reverse chronic vision damage caused by multiple sclerosis

MSplus shares preliminary trial findings

The American Academy of Neurology published findings about people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and chronic vision damage. A common antihistamine, called clemastine fumarate, is used to treat symptoms of allergies and the common cold. Clemastine fumarate partially reversed damage to the visual system in people with multiple sclerosis in a preliminary study.

The following is the article, which was published by Science Daily, and can be found at

Science News

Over-the-counter drug may reverse chronic vision damage caused by multiple sclerosis 

A common antihistamine used to treat symptoms of allergies and the common cold, called clemastine fumarate, partially reversed damage to the visual system in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) in a preliminary study released today that was presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, April 2016.

The study involved people with MS and optic neuropathy, which is damage to the nerve that sends information from the eye to the brain. In people with MS, the immune system destroys myelin, the protective coating around the nerves, which then leads to damage along the nerves, slowing signals to and from the brain. Optic nerve damage is a common consequence of the disease.

"This study is exciting because it is the first to demonstrate possible repair of that protective coating in people with chronic demyelination from MS," said study author Ari Green, MD, of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at UC San Francisco, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. [More]

MS/Cancer Support Group discusses breast reconstruction after mastectomy

Several members of MS/Cancer Support Group have had breast cancer in addition to multiple sclerosis (MS). Margaret Barney, facilitator for the group, led a discussion with the organization’s members about breast reconstruction based on the following article from the American Cancer Society. 

This article is available online at

Breast reconstruction options

Several types of breast reconstruction are possible for women who have had surgery to treat their breast cancer. When deciding what type is best for you, you and your doctors should discuss factors including your health and your personal preferences. Take the time to learn about what options are available to you before you make a decision. 

Choosing which type of breast reconstruction to have

If you’ve decided to have breast reconstruction, you’ll still have many things to think about as you and your doctors talk about what type of reconstruction might be best for you. Some of the factors you and your doctors will need to take into account when considering your options include:

·      Your overall health (including issues that might affect your healing, such as smoking or certain health conditions)

·      The size and location of your breast cancer

·      Your breast size

·      Whether you will need treatments other than surgery for your cancer

·      The amount of tissue available (for example, very thin women may not have enough extra tummy tissue to use this area for breast reconstruction)

·      Whether you want reconstructive surgery on one or both breasts

·      Your desire to match the look of the other breast

·      Your insurance coverage and related costs for the unaffected breast

·      How quickly you want to be able to recover from surgery

·      The effects that different types of reconstructive surgery might have on other parts of your body

Your surgeon will review your medical history and overall health, and will explain which reconstructive options might be best for you based on your age, health, body type, lifestyle, goals, and other factors. [More]

Books about MS and Cancer
(from our March telephone support group meeting)

Since 1999, after my 20th year of living with MS, I found out I had breast cancer.  Since then, I have been searching for information about how others have coped with that dual diagnosis.

 Recently, I found Blindsided: Lifting a Life above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir

by Richard M. Cohen, who was diagnosed with MS at age 25, just as Washington DC was caught up in Watergate and his career was taking off.  In his preface, Cohen describes his story to be about the search for emotional health, not about sickness. [More]

An Overview of MS Symptoms and Medications

Using information from the National MS Society’s website -- a valuable source for information about diagnosis, management and life with multiple sclerosis (MS) --the October 2015 MS/Cancer conference call discussed MS diagnosis, symptoms and medication. Here is a summary of our discussion. This information can be found in more detail on the national website at

 Both the National MS Society and the American Cancer Society sponsor the MS/Cancer call. 

Criteria for a diagnosis of MS

 No symptoms, physical findings or laboratory tests can by themselves determine if a person has MS. Different approaches can determine if a person meets the long-established criteria for a diagnosis of MS and to rule out other possible causes of symptoms the person is experiencing. These strategies include a careful medical history, a neurologic exam and various tests including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), evoked potentials (EP) and spinal fluid analysis.

To make a diagnosis of MS, the physician must meet these three criteria:

  • ·      Find evidence of damage in at least two separate areas of the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves
  • ·      Find evidence that the damage occurred at least one month apart
  • ·      Rule out all other possible diagnoses.

The four types of MS are as follows:

Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS)

RRMS is the most common disease course and is characterized by clearly defined attacks of worsening neurologic function. [More]

Small Trial Shows Estriol, A Pregnancy Hormone,
Reduces MS Lesion Activity In Women With MS

Summary: In a small-scale, early-phase trial of the hormone estriol, a form of estrogen, women with relapsing-remitting MS showed decreases in MRI-detected brain lesion activity and immune responses during treatment, suggesting that additional study of estriol is called for to determine longer-term efficacy and safety.

  • Women who have MS and are pregnant often experience fewer MS symptoms and relapses, especially during the second and third trimester. Because the hormone estriol is elevated during later stages of pregnancy, and mice given pregnancy levels of estriol were shown to have fewer symptoms of an MS-like disease, the hormone was considered as a candidate for testing against MS.
  • Estriol was well tolerated. Six women with relapsing-remitting MS experienced significant decreases in brain lesion numbers and volume, as well as reductions in levels of immune proteins indicative of inflammation. [More]

Nerve Conduction & Research of Dr. Stephen Waxman
by Diane O’Connell, InsideMS
Winner of the prestigious 2002 John Dystel Prize for MS Research unravels basic nerve functions to set the stage for nerve repair. Click here to read the article.

CDC provides info about MS and Cancer risk
Dr. Matthew M. Zack of the Division of Chronic Disease and Health Promotion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided extensive references from MEDLINE that show studies of the risk of cancer associated with multiple sclerosis since 1966. [More]


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