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Disclaimer: 'MS Views and News' DOES NOT endorse any products or services found on this blog. It is up to you to seek advice from your healthcare provider. The intent of this blog is to provide information on various medical conditions, medications, treatments, and procedures for your personal knowledge and to keep you informed of current health-related issues. It is not intended to be complete or exhaustive, nor is it a substitute for the advice of your physician. Should you or your family members have any specific medical problem, seek medical care promptly.

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Saturday, September 5, 2015

Clinical Studies of Cannabinoid Capsules for MS Expected Later This Year

August 26th, 2015                     Diogo Bruno, MD 
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease characterized by the destruction of insulating covers on nerve cells by the immune system. The most common form for the disease, relapsing-remitting MS, is characterized by clearly defined attacks of decreasing neurologic function (relapses) followed by partial or complete recovery periods (remissions). Research into novel therapy approaches continues to investigate safer, more effective alternatives to the currently approved MS therapies. The use of cannabinoid-based therapies in particular appear to show promise for controlling relapses in those with the disease.
Clinical Studies of Cannabinoid Capsules for MS Expected Later This Year
MMJ PhytoTech, a drug development company working on cannabinoid-based therapies, plans to initiate clinical studies of new capsule formulations derived from cannabis for the treatment of MS later this year. Their phase 1, safety-oriented clinical studies have been approved by various ethics committees and public health organizations. The company has been actively investigating a new capsule that offers many advantages over smokeable cannabinoid formulations, as oral administration is much more controllable and user-friendly. Furthermore, the company is confident that their capsules can withstand room temperature storage for extended periods of time. In this way, the need for refrigeration is eliminated resulting in lower shipping and storage costs.
Read more



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3 Times a Week Dose Copaxone for Relapsing MS Receives Positive Outcome in Europe

Israel-based biopharmaceutical company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announced last week that its thrice-weekly COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate)40mg/ml treatment for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) has received positive results in a decentralized procedure. The favorable outcome proceeds a Positive Assessment Report from the United Kingdom, the Reference Member State’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and all Concerned Member States (CMS) in Europe that had participated in the procedure. The company is anticipating the granting of national marketing authorizations for Copaxone® very soon.
3 Times a Week Dose Copaxone for Relapsing MS Receives Positive Outcome in Europe
The Reference Member State’s Positive Assessment Report was based on the impressive findings from Teva’s Phase III Glatiramer Acetate Low-Frequency Administration (GALA) study, which involved over 1,400 patients. Results revealed patients dosed three times a week with Copaxone 40 mg/mL experienced significantly reduced relapse rates at 12 months, and a favorable safety and tolerability profile.
Dr. Rob Koremans, the President and CEO of Global Specialty Medicines at Teva Pharmaceutical, said the company is eager to bring this proven, improved formulation of Copaxone to patients living with RRMS to Europe. They are projecting the drug’s availability in Europe to begin as soon as Q1 2015 in Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark, with other EU countries following suit as 2015 progresses.


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Biomarkers of Early MS and Overactive Bladder Identified in New Study

Biomarkers of Early MS and Overactive Bladder Identified in New Study

Researchers at the University of Athens Medical School in Greece have found that people with early stage multiple sclerosis (MS) and overactive bladder (OAB) have reductions in brain serotonin and a stress-related hormone, cortisol. Serotonin is a chemical that helps nerve cells to communicate. The study, titled Neurochemical and neuroendocrinecorrelates of overactive bladder at first demyelinating episode appeared July 30th in the journal Neurourology and Urodynamics.
MS is a debilitating, progressive disease of the nervous system. It is caused by an immune attack on the body’s own myelin, a fatty substance that wraps around nerve cells and allows them to conduct impulses and communicate. When myelin is lost, areas of damage called “demyelination” result, which appear in the brain and spinal cord without warning and cause loss of movement, vision, pain and problems with sensation.
Bladder problems also occur frequently in people with MS, with approximately 75% of individuals with MS suffering from this problem. In fact, OAB may be a sign of a first MS episode.
The control of urination is complicated and involves many different components of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system. Problems with urination are also experienced by people with anxiety and depression, which are conditions that are more prevalent in people with MS.
CONTINUE reading about these new Biomarkers

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Are You Ready and Willing To Be Your Own Source of Stress Release, Joy, Clarity and Lightness?

Michelle Alva's mission is to transform the world by educating and empowering individuals with the most effective, easy and fun ways to self-heal and optimize their health with the intention to facilitate "Major Healing with Minor Effort." Michelle's passion is bridging modern science with ancient wisdom approaches such as physical therapy, yoga therapy, belly dance, and shamanic based energy healing practices.  She integrates her over 20 years experience as a Pediatric and Women's Health Physical Therapist, Yoga Therapist, Infant Massage Instructor, Belly Dance Teacher, Sound Healer and Energy Medicine Practitioner to create an effective and easy way to connect to our heart and soul's joy, to transform our lives, embody our authentic self, process and release stuck emotional energy, and heal at the deepest core level.

Learn what she can do for you by clicking here




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Stressed Out? Breathe In


By Elena Rover
This most basic of biological functions can also be one of the most powerful weapons against stress. Read the research, then try the exercises described at the end of the article to learn how to use your own breathing for relaxation.
woman with head and arms thrown back, breathing
You know all about human respiration. You studied it in med school. In clinical practice, each patient's breathing provides a clue to his condition. Whether or not you wield a stethoscope, a rapid, shallow respiratory pattern is not a symptom you miss.
But one thing your medical training probably didn’t cover was how specific types of breathing can be useful tools for relieving stress—not only for your patients, but for you, too. Whatever the source of the stress—work, family finances, etc.—it’s important for health and wellbeing that you take steps to reduce it.

“The perception in medicine, as it is taught, is that personal life comes second,” says Mark Bertin, MD, a developmental pediatrician in private practice in Pleasantville, NY, and author of Mindful Parenting for ADHD (Palgrave Macmillan, September 2015).  But Dr. Bertin believes physicians need to take care of themselves in order to best care for their patients. To that end, he leads stress reduction sessions for physicians that use mindfulness meditation, incorporating breathing practices. His new, not-yet-published research shows how effective this technique can be. In a study of 65 practicing physicians at a major health system who completed an online 12-session program, Perceived Stress Scores (PSS) went down 27.4 percent, sleep improved 27.5 percent (per the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), and productivity increased 47.7 percent (measured by the Work Limitations Questionnaire). That translated into an average gain of 78.8 minutes of productivity per week per physician, a net gain in work time for spending an hour in the class.  

Not only does reducing stress, at its most basic level, make you feel better, but it makes you work better, too. “Left unmanaged, stress escalates all day long,” says Dr. Bertin. “You get into a ‘reactive’ mode where you are on auto-pilot, relying on routines and protocols. But you need to be aware and alert for the patient who is the exception, and that requires focus. Spending a few moments focused on something neutral like breathing allows the stress response to calm.”

Continue reading (stressless)


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HSE to fund on limited basis cost of multiple sclerosis drug

Extended campaign by patients proves success for medicine that helps sufferers to walk

Patients have been paying up to €500 a month for Fampridine from their own resources. Photograph: Getty Images
Patients have been paying up to €500 a month for Fampridine from their own resources. Photograph: Getty Images

Sept 3, 2015  -  The Health Service Executive has agreed to fund on a limited basis the cost of a drug that helps people with multiple sclerosis to walk.
The announcement that Fampridine (known commercially as Fampyra) is to be reimbursed under the State-funded drugs schemes follows a lengthy campaign by patients who says the drug has greatly aided their mobility.
The HSE says it is in the final stages of putting in place the arrangement around a “responder-based” reimbursement programme for Fampridine.

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Survey says Multiple Sclerosis can harm relationships and jobs

A survey conducted among people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis shows that 70 percent had at least one concern that the illness would affect their personal relationship and 60 percent worried that the chronic progressive disease in the prime of their career makes them less confident in their job. The survey was collected by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals in Wayne, N.J. among 100 Americans with MS.

An awareness program by Bayer called "Mastering MS" has been launched to offer advice to people who live with the challenges of the neurological disease. The experts say the study can help show how the illness creates additional anxiety surrounding the illness and can even add to the exasperation of symptoms, including depression and fatigue.
"An MS diagnosis can create anxiety," said Michele Wahlder, a psychotherapist and career coach from Dallas, Texas. "Support, whether from family, an MS nurse, career counselor or others, may be an integral ingredient to help people with MS deal with these feelings and potentially make adjustments to better manage their daily lives."

One person as part of the study, known as Bradley, is 48 and works in corporate franchise sales, and says: "My job requires spending up to an hour on the phone at a time. When I was diagnosed with MS four years ago, I was worried that I would have problems holding the phone or growing tired. I reached out to an MS nurse, and she gave me advice on how to manage my symptoms. She also taught me to make modifications to my work day, like taking periodic breaks when I feel fatigued. Her advice helped me feel more confident in my ability to succeed at work."

The survey, which looked at the perspectives of people with MS, found that many had similar concerns when they were first diagnosed:

* In the U.S., seven in 10 people with MS reported being worried that they would no longer be able to perform their job as they did before being diagnosed
* More than 85 percent of respondents have made changes to their social life as a result of their MS
* The most frequently reported feelings among those who were married or dating (62 percent) were that their partners would become caregivers or have to handle their responsibilities
* However, more than half of respondents said their partners and friends were among their biggest sources of emotional support.

Read more and watch video found here


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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Found To Contribute to Blood–Brain Barrier Breakdown Experienced By MS Patients

In a recent study published in the Journal of Neuroimaging, a team of researchers from the UCLA have reported the first evidence that obstructive sleep apnea contributes to a breakdown of the blood–brain barrier, which plays an important role in protecting brain tissue. The findings are significant for diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, where compromised blood-brain […]

Read on »



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Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO ) Information Page

Because more and more people are being diagnosed with NMO and several, years after having been diagnosed with MS, I wanted to provide the information showing here and a previous blog posting with it's link showing below


Synonym(s):   Devic's Syndrome

Table of Contents (click to jump to sections)


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What is Neuromyelitis Optica ?

Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is an uncommon disease syndrome of the central nervous system (CNS) that affects the optic nerves and spinal cord. Individuals with NMO develop optic neuritis, which causes pain in the eye and vision loss, and transverse myelitis, which causes weakness, numbness, and sometimes paralysis of the arms and legs, along with sensory disturbances and loss of bladder and bowel control. NMO leads to loss of myelin, which is a fatty substance that surrounds nerve fibers and helps nerve signals move from cell to cell. The syndrome can also damage nerve fibers and leave areas of broken-down tissue. In the disease process of NMO, for reasons that aren't yet clear, immune system cells and antibodies attack and destroy myelin cells in the optic nerves and the spinal cord.
Historically, NMO was diagnosed in patients who experienced a rapid onset of blindness in one or both eyes, followed within days or weeks by varying degrees of paralysis in the arms and legs. In most cases, however, the interval between optic neuritis and transverse myelitis is significantly longer, sometimes as long as several years. After the initial attack, NMO follows an unpredictable course. Most individuals with the syndrome experience clusters of attacks months or years apart, followed by partial recovery during periods of remission. This relapsing form of NMO primarily affects women. The female to male ratio is greater than 4:1. Another form of NMO, in which an individual only has a single, severe attack extending over a month or two, is most likely a distinct disease that affects men and women with equal frequency. The onset of NMO varies from childhood to adulthood, with two peaks, one in childhood and the other in adults in their 40s.
In the past, NMO was considered to be a severe variant of multiple sclerosis (MS) because both can cause attacks of optic neuritis and myelitis. Recent discoveries, however, suggest it is a separate disease. NMO is different from MS in the severity of its attacks and its tendency to solely strike the optic nerves and spinal cord at the beginning of the disease. Symptoms outside of the optic nerves and spinal cord are rare, although certain symptoms, including uncontrollable vomiting and hiccups, are now recognized as relatively specific symptoms of NMO that are due to brainstem involvement.
The recent discovery of an antibody in the blood of individuals with NMO gives doctors a reliable biomarker to distinguish NMO from MS. The antibody, known as NMO-IgG, seems to be present in about 70 percent of those with NMO and is not found in people with MS or other similar conditions.

Is there any treatment?

Click here to continue reading



To see a previous blog posting, click here



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Updates on NMO ( Neuromyelitis optica )


NMO and what You might want to Know

A panel of international clinicians supported by GJCF recently updated the diagnostic criteria of NMOSD, which will most likely increase the incidence and prevalence of NMO.  The Mayo Clinic issued a press release.  Click here to see the press release.



As a result of the new diagnostic criteria (advanced from 2006), we interviewed Drs. Dean Wingerchuk and Brian Weinshenker from the Mayo Clinic asking what this will mean for NMO.  Click here to read the interview.



  Information provided by:


Derek Blackway
Manager, Communications & Advocacy





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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Exclusive breastfeeding and the effect on postpartum multiple sclerosis relapses

Women with multiple sclerosis (MS) who intended to breastfeed their infants exclusively for two months had a lower risk of relapse during the first six months after giving birth compared with women who did not breastfeed exclusively , according to an article published online by JAMA Neurology.

About 20 percent to 30 percent of women with MS experience a relapse within the first three to four months after giving birth and there are no interventions for effective prevention of postpartum relapse. The effect of exclusive breastfeeding on postpartum risk of MS relapse is controversial with conflicting study results.

Kerstin Hellwig, M.D., of Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany, and coauthors analyzed data from 201 pregnant women with MS collected from 2008 to June 2012 with one-year follow-up postpartum in the nationwide German MS and pregnancy registry. Exclusive breastfeeding was defined as no regular replacement of breastfeeding meals with supplemental feedings for at least two months compared with nonexclusive breastfeeding, which was partial or no breastfeeding.

Of the 201 women, 120 (59.7 percent) intended to breastfeed exclusively for at least two months, 42 women (20.9 percent) combined breastfeeding with supplemental feedings within the first two months after giving birth, and 39 women (19.4 percent) did not breastfeed. Most women [178 (88.6 percent)] had used disease-modifying therapy (DMT) agents before pregnancy.

The authors report that 31 women (38.3 percent) who did not breastfeed exclusively had MS relapse within the first six months postpartum compared with 29 women (24.2 percent) who intended to breastfeed exclusively for at least two months.

The authors note the effect of exclusive breastfeeding "seems to be plausible" since disease activity returned in the second half of the postpartum year in exclusively breastfeeding women, corresponding to the introduction of supplemental feedings and the return of menstruation. The introduction of regular formula feedings or solid food to an infant leads to a change in a woman's hormonal status resulting in the return to ovulation.

Continue


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Multiple Sclerosis vs. California's Stem Cell Agency: Disease-a-Week Challenge No.15


He was born with the gift of laughter, and the sense that the world was mad." -- Rafael Sabatini
That opening line (from the novel Scaramouche) would seem to have been written for the comedic genius Richard Pryor. His life was almost unutterably tragic, with every form of cruelty and sadness inflicted on him: raised in a brothel, sexually and physically abused as a child, expelled from school, imprisoned, emotionally terrified of even standing on a stage and performing.
And yet, he made the world laugh. Google some videos of him performing, and I defy you not to get a stomach ache from laughing. Caution: don't listen to him if you have a low threshold for profanity, because he uses curse words like others use punctuation. But funny? Watch him act out the time he stepped into the ring with Muhammed Ali -- I watched it twice preparing for this article, and tears ran down my face both times.
A very different kind of performer was Annette Funicello, one of the stars of Walt Disney's original Mickey Mouse Club, and a series of lighthearted summer movies likeBeach Party. Discovered while dancing the role of the Swan Queen in Tschaikowski'sSwan Lake at the age of seven, Annette's smile could warm a room.
Like most of America, I watched transfixed when Mickey was on, hugging my knees in front of our neighbor's 7-inch screen, lasting out each moment of the show as long as I could. Annette was special; in my secret heart I really felt she was my friend; that smiling person I had never met.
Both were superstars, reaching the peak of the entertainment world; beloved by millions of fans.
But then for each the symptoms began.
Fatigue, at first, just simple-seeming tiredness, surely nothing a good night's rest could not take care of. But then the limbs would tremble suddenly, spasming, or freezing into paralysis.
Worse was to come.
"Blurred or double vision... thinking problems... loss of balance... weakness... bladder problems..."
While making a movie sequel with Frankie Avalon, Return to Beach Bikini, she appeared to be having trouble with her balance. Rumors spread that the problem might be alcohol, which was not true.
In 1992, Ms. Funicello revealed to the world that she had multiple sclerosis. She wanted to help others with the disease, to encourage research, and if going public about the condition would help, she would do it. She even established a research fund, the Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Disorders at the California Community Foundation.
Her husband Glen Holt was a fine man, who loved her every inch of the way. But the quality of her life went down and down, until a wheelchair was the only practical answer. Annette who had once been a dancer now had to be carried. 

The lifespan of a person with MS is not appreciably shortened: both stars lived full lives. Richard Pryor died at 65, Annette passed away at 70.
Although some of the symptoms of MS can be eased by medication, the root cause has not been dealt with -- until now.
MS has to do with the insulation (called myelin) around a human nerve.
Imagine a rat, chewing on a plastic-wrapped electrical cord. What happens when it bites through? A short circuit. The rodent is fried, maybe the house burns down. At very least, the electricity cannot do its job. Flick the switch all you want, but no current can get through; the lights cannot go on.
Similarly, if the insulation around a nerve is destroyed, it short-circuits the body's natural electricity. It distorts the messages between brain, spine, and body, resulting in numbness, pain -- or paralysis.
But what if new myelin could be put in place, re-insulating the nerves?

In Southern California, an effort to do that is underway. With a California stem cell agency grant, Principal Investigators Craig Walsh at the University of California at Irvine, and Jeanne Loring of Scripps Research Institute are tackling the disease with co-PI Claude Bernard at Monash Institute, Australia. (Note: All California funding must be spent in our home state. But when a scientist in another state or nation can bring his or her own funding, as Dr. Bernard is doing, that means more bang to the buck.) Dr. Thomas Lane of the University of Utah was also a huge part of the project, "vital to our efforts," said Dr. Walsh.
Here is a short video of Dr. Loring, giving the "elevator pitch" on how to fight MS.
The mice in the experiment were paralyzed by a virus, in much the way MS works.
Then, the therapy: "...neural precursor cells (NPC) were derived from the human embryonic stem cell line H9. [The paralyzed mice then received] "... transplantation of these NPC cells, which resulted in significant clinical recovery, beginning at 2-3 weeks following transplant."
Paralyzed mice became unparalyzed.
And here is something fascinating. "Despite this striking recovery, these... [cells] were rapidly rejected."
The transplanted cells were rejected -- but the improvements remained. This could be great news indeed, and it might apply to other diseases as well.
Consider: one of the problems of transplanting new organs is rejection -- the body thinks the transplant is an enemy, and fights it. The doctors have to shut down the immune system, putting the patient on special medication for long periods of time, maybe for life. This puts the person at risk: a common cold could have deadly consequences.
Continue reading


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Monday, August 31, 2015

Brother's MS struggle taught meaning of bravery

My oldest brother John was the brightest in our family and definitely the funniest person I knew. It seemed like he was in school most of his life — first at Vanderbilt as an undergraduate with a business major, then at Belmont, where he studied before taking his CPA exam and also obtained an MBA. At the time of his death in 1992, he was working on his Ph.D. in business from Purdue University in Indiana. He used to say that he wanted to have more letters after his name than in his name.
In between periods at school, he worked as an accountant for a major firm in Nashville, but really seemed to like the academic life. His hobbies included building things like his first record player, model airplanes and rockets. He had a very dry sense of humor that could sometimes be a little biting, although he never meant it to be too critical, and would talk with anyone about almost any subject. Nobody escaped his sharp wit, including his little sister, and we often stayed up late in the night discussing various themes and cracking jokes about whatever we were talking about. Nothing was out of bounds in our late-night talks.
He was also one of the bravest people I’ve known. If asked how he was doing, like most Southerners, his answer was always “fine.” He never complained about feeling ill or getting the short end of the stick, even when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his early 20s, at the beginning of his professional and personal life as a CPA, husband and, later, father.
My brother was diagnosed in the early 1970s, before most of the new, promising treatments had been developed. He had a very severe case of MS, certainly not the normal progression many patients experience. As his illness worsened, he had to use a cane, then a walker, then a wheelchair, all by the time he was in his mid-30s. He eventually experienced the disintegration of his marriage. He didn’t complain, even as he had more and more difficulty working, first as an accountant, then a teacher. He was eventually bed-bound and unable to work at all.
I remember in one of our many late-night discussions about random issues, we started talking about people who had committed suicide, and I apprehensively asked him if he had ever thought about it. He looked at me as though I were crazy and vehemently said that he had never thought about it. I think that to him, that would have been giving up, something he never did.
I got a call one day in 1992 while I was away living in Texas and John was still living in Nashville with family. They said that he had apparently thrown a clot that traveled to his lungs. He was gone very suddenly, just shy of his 40th birthday. People who are largely immobile and have diseases like multiple sclerosis are prone to such occurrences, even though MS is not a fatal disease in itself.
I flew home for his funeral that day with very little sleep, feeling quite depressed. But later that night, after the viewing, a few of us gathered at my mother’s house and stayed up laughing and joking about all the funny things my brother had said and done. As sad as we were that night, it still felt like John was with us, enjoying the late-night talks as he always did. After all these years I still feel like he is with us, especially when I hear something that makes me laugh.


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Great grandmother takes on Snowdonia Zipline Wire challenge for daughter with Multiple Sclerosis

Doris Prydderch took to the skies of Bethesda to raise awareness of the debilitating condition which her daughter Valerie suffers from

Doris Prydderch and her granddaughter Katherine at the Zip Wire in Bethesda
Doris Prydderch and her granddaughter Katherine at the Zip Wire in Bethesda


A great grandmother has taken on Europe’s longest zip wire inspired by her daughter, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Doris Prydderch, from Llanberis, took to the skies of Bethesda earlier today (August 29), to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
And the charity holds a special place in her heart as her daughter Valerie, 47, from Llanberis, has suffered from MS for 15 years.
The neurological condition, which affects around 100,000 in the UK, leaves Valerie, who lives by herself, permanently confined to a wheelchair.
She is dependent on carers and her son, Aaron, and daughter, Katherine, every day of the week to help with daily needs such as washing and getting into bed.
The debilitating disease has led to Valerie losing the use of her legs and struggling to use her right arm.
Doris, 69, who knows other people who have suffered from the condition, said: “The condition affects the movement in her muscles.
“There is no cure for MS, and gradually over a number of years, it will get worse.
“The MS has a big effect on her life, but she is still a very independent woman.
“We all get on okay as a family and just make sure we pull together.”
The great-grandmother, who has six grandchildren, three great grandchildren, and three children of her own said she wants to raise awareness of the condition.
Doris added: “The MS Society has been very supportive.
“I remember I went to a seminar a couple of years ago at Ysbyty GwyneddBangor, and there were quite a few doctors who didn’t know what MS is.
“If doctors don’t know, then a lot of the general public won’t either.
“This is about raising awareness of the condition and raising as much money as possible.

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Shemar Moore Shares His Mother's Battle with Multiple Sclerosis: 'She's My Super Woman'

08/27/2015 
When Shemar Moore's mother, Marilyn, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the Criminal Minds actor told himself she just needed to take it easy. 

"I went through the whole denial thing for a couple of years," the actor, 45, tells PEOPLE of learning of his mother's diagnosis in 1999. "I was like, 'Take a couple aspirin and go to sleep...You'll be fine. You'll be fine. Go get a massage and slow down.' " 

But after some time passed, Moore began to realize just how much the debilitating disease was affecting his mother – but also what he could do to help her. 

"I just had to check myself and say, 'Listen, she's scared and asking for help, so let's help her turn in the right direction,' " says the only-child, who had his mother move from San Francisco to Los Angeles so she would be close by. "I've just been learning about the meds and learning about how it affects different people. Five years ago, we thought she was going to be wheelchair bound. Then, by just doing some homework and really seeing what MS was all about, we learned that MS is affecting her, but not entirely. We were able to be specific about the MS and other factors in her life." 

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