MS Australia, along with a number of professional associations and advocacy groups, has endorsed an international report on early treatment entitled 'Brain health: time matters in multiple sclerosis'. It was written by a global expert group led by UK neurologist Professor Gavin Giovannoni.
The report presents consensus recommendations on diagnosis, therapeutic strategies and improving access to treatment in MS. Its core recommendation is that the goal of treating MS should be to preserve tissue in the central nervous system and maximize lifelong brain health by reducing disease activity. The report calls for major policy changes aimed at achieving the best possible outcomes for people with MS and those who care for them.
The report includes the following recommendations which are specific actions that aim to achieve the best possible outcome for every person with MS:
- A therapeutic strategy that offers the best chance of preserving brain and spinal cord tissue early in the disease course needs to be widely accepted – and urgently adopted.
- Significant delays often occur before a person with symptoms suggestive of MS sees a neurologist for diagnosis and treatment.
- Early intervention is vital.
- Regular monitoring of disease activity and recording this information formally are the cornerstone of the strategy recommended by the authors.
- Offering the full range of therapies that can reduce disease activity improves the chance of finding the best option for each person with MS.
- Major public policy changes are needed in order to translate recent advances in the diagnosis and treatment of MS into improved outcomes.