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BBC News
13 Dec 2011

Rare Gene links Vitamin D and MS

Researchers say a variant gene which reduces vitamin D levels could be directly linked to MS.


News article from BBC News Health

A rare genetic variant which causes reduced levels of vitamin D appears to be directly linked to multiple sclerosis, says an Oxford University study.

UK and Canadian scientists identified the mutated gene in 35 parents of a child with MS and, in each case, the child inherited it.

Researchers say this adds weight to suggestions of a link between vitamin D deficiency and MS.

The study is in Annals of Neurology.

Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).

Although the cause of MS is not yet conclusively known, both genetic and environmental factors and their interactions are known to be important.

Oxford University researchers, along with Canadian colleagues at the University of Ottawa, University of British Columbia and McGill University, set out to look for rare genetic changes that could explain strong clustering of MS cases in some families in an existing Canadian study.

They sequenced all the gene-coding regions in the genomes of 43 individuals selected from families with four or more members with MS.

The team compared the DNA changes they found against existing databases, and identified a change in the gene CYP27B1 as being important.

When people inherit two copies of this gene they develop a genetic form of rickets - a disease caused by vitamin D deficiency.

Just one copy of the mutated CYP27B1 gene affects a key enzyme which leads people with it to have lower levels of vitamin D. Read full article here.

Biogen Idec
17 Oct 2011

Mobility Matters

Campaign launched to highlight importance of Impaired Mobility in Multiple Sclerosis


According to new research released today (Monday, 17th October 2011) 54% of patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are very or extremely affected by decreased mobility in terms of their quality of life.  The research was announced at the launch of a new campaign supported by Biogen Idec and MS Ireland entitled ‘Mobility Matters in MS’. Mobility impairment is one of the most physically and emotionally disruptive aspects of MS as it restricts daily life, can result in a loss of independence and can affect a patient’s ability to work. 

Over 7,000 people and families live with MS across Ireland. MS is a progressive neurological condition that can affect a person’s health, lifestyle and relationships. While mobility is the main factor affecting patients’ day-to-day living, the condition also greatly impacts other areas of their lives.

- 55% of respondents say they are extremely / very affected by decreased daily living activities

- 54% say they are extremely / very affected by decreased mobility

- 53% claim to be very / extremely affected by decreased sexual function

Speaking at the launch of the campaign today, Ava Battles, Chief Executive of MS Ireland said “MS Ireland welcomes the launch of Biogen Idec’s Mobility Matters in MS campaign. Through our ‘Getting The Balance Right’ programme we have delivered thousands of physiotherapy and exercise related programmes we really understand how important mobility is for people with Multiple Sclerosis. The Mobility Matters in MS website is a valuable resource for patients and healthcare professionals alike, as well as carers, family and friends. The site has a combination of practical tips on managing everyday tasks, as well as advice on what people with MS can do to be as mobile as possible.”

Consultant Neurologist Chris McGuigan at St Vincent’s University Hospital Dublin said, “People with MS can improve their mobility in many ways. Apart from maintaining their general health in terms of diet and exercise, it’s important for them to recognise the areas, which are posing the greatest challenges so that they can be addressed. Common problem areas with mobility include balance, poor vision and impaired sensation in feet and legs. Access to structured physical and occupational therapy, with additional medication where appropriate, can help improve safety when walking.”

To read full press release click here.

Our friend Anne Marie Hayden features in 'Real Lives’ a series of patient videos which provide a first-hand account of the issue of mobility. View here

To support the campaign, a new website, has been developed, providing advice and encouragement to people with MS on how to maintain and increase their mobility.

MS Ireland
14 Sep 2011

MS Living a Great Success

MS Ireland hosted Ireland's biggest MS event in celebration of our 50th Anniversary.

President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, MS Ireland's Chief Executive, Anne Winslow & MS Ireland's Board Members

Our MSLiving Convention and Research Symposium held on the 9th - 11th September at the Burlington Hotel, Dublin shared the latest developments in MS research, discussed practical ways to meet the challenges MS may bring and was a social opportunity for people to meet and talk about MS.

Friday, 9th September

Research Symposium:

MS Ireland hosted Ireland's first research symposium on MS. A number of national and international speakers presented a variety of aspects of MS Research.

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Saturday, 10th September

President’s Address:

MS Ireland was honoured to welcome our Patron, President of Ireland, Mary McAleese

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Main Convention:

A weekend of talks, workshops, exhibitors and social events

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Presentation for International Person with MS:

Allen O’Connor was presented with MSIF’s 2011 James D. Wolfensohn Award for International Person with MS by Peer Baneke of MSIF

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Gala Dinner and Annual Awards:

Each year we seek nominations to our National Awards for MS Person of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Carer of the Year. The purpose of these awards are to formally recognise the contribution people play in the lives of their family, their community and our Society. We are delighted to announce the Award winners:

MS Ireland Person of the Year 2011: Mark Mitchell

MS Ireland Carer of the Year 2011: Vanessa O' Donovan

MS Ireland Volunteer of the Year 2011: Maureen Feeney

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Sunday, 11th September

Annual General Meeting:

MS Ireland 12th Annual General Meeting 2011 (51st AGM since its foundation) was held on Sunday 11th September at 10.30am.

Board Member Profiles 2011-2012 
Annual Report:

This report gives an overview of our work for our members, volunteers, many supporters, our funding agencies as well as providing details of our financial position.

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