Archive for ‘

Oct 10 2023 MS Living Well Podcast. Making Strides: Enhancing MS Mobility

Wherever you are on your multiple sclerosis journey, there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of mobility. Our experts, both holding doctorates in physical therapy, offer invaluable guidance on enhancing your walking abilities through targeted exercise and specialized therapy. Learn how to reduce the risk of falls, alleviate spasticity, and build endurance for a more active life.

Cutting-edge technology, from wearable electrical stimulation devices to incredible exoskeletons, are revolutionizing mobility for those living with MS. Discover how neuromodulation, in conjunction with physical therapy, can pave the way for new neural pathways. Virtual reality and anti-gravity treadmills are redefining therapy options for those people with advanced MS. Moreover, gain insights into conquering travel challenges, empowering individuals living with multiple sclerosis to venture out into the world.

This is episode is sponsored by CIONIC.

Barry Singer, Director of The MS Center for Innovations in Care, interviews:

Gretchen Hawley DPT

Gretchen Hawley DPT is a physical therapist and multiple sclerosis certified specialist since 2013. She received a Bachelor of Science degree at Elmira College in Upstate New York obtained a Doctorate of Physical Therapy Degree from Simmons University in Boston.  As a leader in virtual physical therapy, she founded The MSing Link, an online platform for individualized therapy and exercise.  Dr. Gretchen is both an author and podcaster, sharing her insights into mobility for those living with multiple sclerosis.

Annie Morrow DPT

Annie Morrow DPT graduated with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2014 from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.  She is Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy. In 2021, she became the Director of the Stephen A. Orthwein Center, a fully accessible fitness center in St. Louis, featuring state-of-the-art equipment for individuals with disabilities. Her clinical interests include gait and balance impairments as well as exercise for individuals with progressive diseases.

Sep 12 2023 MS Living Well Podcast. MS Care Equity: Empowering Underserved Communities

Health equity represents the pursuit of the highest level of well-being for all individuals, ensuring that every person, regardless of their background, enjoys a fair and just opportunity to achieve their optimal health.

Disparities exist within the multiple sclerosis community. It’s a stark reality that Black individuals with MS face an increased risk of disability, while Black women are disproportionately affected by this condition compared to their White counterparts based on a Kaiser study.  Additionally, Hispanic patients often contend with an earlier onset of MS, occurring 3-5 years before it typically manifests in White individuals. Both social determinants of health and genetic factors play significant roles in shaping outcomes for these communities. Strategies to enhance MS care in underserved communities include increasing the availability of healthcare providers, providing crucial translation services, and addressing biases both within the healthcare team and the communities they serve.

Rural MS patients experience unique challenges, often encountering barriers in accessing specialized care.  Connecting lower-income patients to vital resources, including medications and MRI scans, is essential. Innovative approaches like telehealth and improved transportation options can bridge the gap for those with higher levels of disability. As an MS community, we can all advocate to ensure that everyone regardless of their circumstances receives the comprehensive care that they deserve.

This podcast episode is sponsored by EMD Serono.

Lilyana Amezcua MD

Lilyana Amezcua MD is an Associate Professor of Neurology and the fellowship program director at the University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree from University of California Irvine and her medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, followed by neurology residency and clinical fellowship in neuroimmunology and multiple sclerosis at USC. She spearheaded the collaborative research consortium Alliance for Research in Hispanic MS (ARHMS) and serves as principal investigator. Dr. Amezcua serves on numerous national and international committees including as an elected member to the NMSS National Medical Advisory Committee and NIH NINDS Health Disparities Strategic Steering Committee.

Dr. Jacqueline Rosenthal

Jacqueline Rosenthal MD joined Shepherd Center’s medical staff in July 2019 and treats patients in Andrew C. Carlos Multiple Sclerosis Institute. Dr. Rosenthal graduated from Xavier University in New Orleans and received her medical degree from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. She completed her residency in neurology at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. She completed her fellow in neuroimmunology at Emory University School of Medicine and at the Atlanta VA Medical Center.

Aug 22 2023 MS Living Well Podcast. Bridging MS: Connecting You to Resources

Navigating life with multiple sclerosis? Gain valuable insights from MS insiders! Stanford nurse practitioner Jong-Mi Lee reveals strategies for accessing MS centers and maximizing available resources. Acquire valuable tips on various topics including overcoming mobility challenges, managing workplace issues, and receiving quality care despite insurance obstacles.

Many inspiring and resilient individuals living with MS actively share their perspectives on social media platforms within the MS community. Dominic Shadbolt, a renowned MS patient advocate and founder of The MS Guide, highlights his personal favorites and provides essential advice for sifting through the wealth of online information.

Access reliable knowledge and support from global non-profit organizations. Dr. Jaime Imitola, esteemed MS neurologist and Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Connecticut, offers practical approaches to surmount financial barriers and attain crucial MS treatments.

Link to key resources

This podcast episode is sponsored by Octave.


Barry Singer MD, Director of The MS Center for Innovations in Care, interviews:

Jong-Mi Lee NP

Jong-Mi Lee NP is a nurse practitioner, specializing in multiple sclerosis at Stanford in California since 2005. Ms. Lee completed her undergraduate degree from University of California at Berkeley and her Master of Science in Nursing at Samuel Merritt University. She serves on the MSAA’s Healthcare Advisory Council and a long-standing member of the International Organization of MS Nurses including former West Regional Liaison. Ms. Lee received the 2010 Community Partner Award from the National MS Society for dedicated service on behalf of persons living with MS.

Dominic Shadbolt

Dominic Shadbolt is an expert patient living in the United Kingdom who has been living with multiple sclerosis since 1994. He started as a patient-to-patient resource for people living with MS.


Jaime Imitola MD

Jaime Imitola MD is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Neurology at the University of Connecticut. He serves as director of the Division of Multiple Sclerosis and Translational Neuroimmunology. He completed his medical school training in Cartagena, Columbia followed by post-doctoral training at Harvard, neurology residency at Temple University and fellowship in MS at Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia. His areas of expertise include neural stem cells and progressive MS.

Aug 1 2023 MS Living Well Podcast. MRI in MS: From Pixels to Progress

Step into the powerful realm of MRI imaging, providing us with an unparalleled view of multiple sclerosis. Discover how acute inflammation becomes vivid with contrast, and how various MRI sequences unveil the past battles fought within your brain and spinal cord. We’ll explore advances in techniques, revealing brain shrinkage, gray matter disease and myelin repair. Understand the impact of MS on brain processing efficiency during rest and specific tasks through functional MRI imaging. Crucial questions regarding where and how often to get MRI scans are addressed. Latest guidance on avoiding contrast for routine MRI monitoring in MS shared.

This podcast episode is sponsored by Octave.


Barry Singer MD, Director of The MS Center for Innovations in Care, interviews:

Robert Zivadinov MD, PhD

Robert Zivadinov MD PhD is Director of the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC) since 2003. Dr. Zivadinov is Professor of Neurology at Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. He also is Director of the University’s Center for Biomedical Imaging at the Clinical Translational Science Institute.  Under his leadership, BNAC has performed over 90 Preclinical and clinical Phase I-IV trials involving over 15,000 subjects and 50,000 imaging scans.

Dr. Christina Azevedo

Christina Azevedo MD is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology at the University of Southern California. Dr. Azevedo attended college at University of Notre Dame and medical school at Oregon Health & Science University. She then completed her neurology residency at Dartmouth, a Sylvia Lawry fellowship in clinical MS and Neuroimaging at Yale and a Master’s degree in Public Health at Yale. Her area of expertise is use of MRI imaging in multiple sclerosis.

Jul 11 2023 MS Living Well Podcast. Inside MS: Navigating Inflammation

Dive into a deeper understanding of the role of inflammation in causing injury to the brain and spinal cord in multiple sclerosis. It’s a journey marked by ups and downs, where the adaptive immune system composed of lymphocytes (T and B cells) attack myelin and the innate immune system clears damaged myelin. An immune cell called microglia can create smoldering inflammation in MS that poses a threat of progressive disability.

Explore the arsenal of MS treatment strategies developed over the past 3 decades to either alter or suppress the immune system to reduce inflammation. Triumphs and limitations of our current MS therapies shared. Antioxidant research, diet and new therapeutics tackling smoldering inflammation bring newfound hope.

Episode is sponsored by EMD Serono.

Prof. Klaus Schmierer

Klaus Schmierer MB BS, PhD, FRCP is a Professor of Neurology at the Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London, and Consultant Neurologist at The Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust, where he is the Research Lead for Neurology. He completed his neurology training at the Charité Hospital at Humboldt University in Berlin. His MS research interests include epidemiology and cause(s) of MS, quantitative MRI imaging and clinical trials.

Michael Kornberg MD PhD

Michael Kornberg MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at John Hopkins. He completed college at Yale University. He received M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and stayed at Johns Hopkins for neurology residency and a clinical and research fellowship in neuroimmunology. Dr. Kornberg conducts research aimed at better understanding the processes that drive MS progressive disability such a neurodegeneration and remyelination failure.

Jun 20 2023 MS Living Well Podcast: Multiple Sclerosis in Childhood


Yes, children can get multiple sclerosis. Children ages 12 and up are more typically affected and rarely before age 8.  Awareness is essential for prompt diagnosis and treatment of pediatric-onset MS (POMS).  Accurate diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in children requires screening for other conditions like MOG antibody-associated disease (MOGAD). Risk factors associated with higher rates of developing MS in kids include Epstein-Barr virus infection, genetic susceptibility, pesticide exposure, smoking (and secondhand smoke), low vitamin D, obesity and diet high in saturated fats.

Multiple sclerosis in kids can be very active with frequent relapses and concerning MRI activity. Rapid use of highly effective treatment is important to preserve brain health including cognition. Completed and ongoing global pediatric trials are redefining care. Oral fingolimod, for example, reduced relapses by 82% compared to interferon beta-1a injections weekly. Thanks to treatment advancements, teens living with MS have a brighter future ahead of them.

This podcast episode is sponsored by Octave.

Barry Singer, Director of The MS Center for Innovations in Care, interviews:

Brenda Banwell MD

Brenda Banwell MD is Chief of the Division of Neurology and Co-Director of the Neuroscience Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). She is a Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario, a pediatric neurology residency at the University of Toronto-The Hospital for Sick Children and a fellowship at Mayo Clinic.  Dr. Banwell advocates for pediatric multiple sclerosis patients as the Chair of the International Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Study Group and as Director of the International Medical and Scientific Advisory Board of the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation.

Emmanuelle Waubant MD PhD

Emmanuelle Waubant MD, PhD is a Professor of Neurology at the University of California San Francisco and serves as director of the UCSF Regional Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center. She studies environmental and genetic risk factors, including in children with the disease. A native of France, Dr. Waubant completed a residency in neurology at Toulouse University Hospital and a fellowship training in neuroimmunology at UCSF. She chairs the clinical trial task force and serves on the steering committee of the International Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Study Group.

May 30 2023 MS Living Well Podcast: Being Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis

Julian Gamboa shares his first symptoms of multiple sclerosis including spinning sensation and double vision. He had substantial obstacles and setbacks in being diagnosed including a prolonged hospitalization. After being in a very low place, Julian rallied with the support of others including his family. He conveys how he eventually obtained superb MS care and utilizing his social media guru skills to help others being diagnosed with MS.

Dr. Jakai Nolan

Dr. Jakai Nolan opens up about her own unique insights on being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis since she is both a neurologist specializing in multiple sclerosis and a person living with MS. As she shares her own personal story, she reviews key symptoms suggestive of MS and the importance of advocating for prompt evaluation to prevent a delay in diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Nolan covers treatment selection, mental health concerns and lifestyle modifications for someone recently diagnosed.

This podcast episode is sponsored by Octave.

Barry Singer MD, Director of The MS Center for Innovations in Care, interviews:

Julian Gamboa

Julian Gamboa is the Social Media Director for Maximum Effort, supporting brands affiliated with Ryan Reynolds including Mint Mobile, Aviation Gin and Wrexham AFC. He received his BA in marketing from the University of California, Berkeley. Previous work experience includes leading Telemundo LA’s first organic social strategy in live streaming and celebrity advertising and senior marketing and social media manager at Adweek. In 2017, LinkedIn recognized Mr. Gamboa as a Marketing and Social Media Top Voice. In late 2021, Mr. Gamboa was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and serves on the Board of Directors of the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America.

Dr. Jakai Nolan

Dr. Jakai Nolan is a neurologist specializing in multiple sclerosis in Villa Rica, Georgia and Endowed Neurology Chair for Tanner Medical Center. She received her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from Vanderbilt University, a Master’s degree in Public Health at Emory University and her medical degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Georgia Campus. Dr. Nolan completed her residency training in neurology at Kettering Medical Center in Dayton, OH and a clinical fellowship in neuroimmunology/multiple sclerosis and spasticity management at Riverside Medical Center in Columbus, OH.

May 9 2023 MS Living Well Podcast: Earliest Stages of Multiple Sclerosis


Years before the first typical neurological symptoms of multiple sclerosis such as numbness or visual loss, individuals can have other symptoms that are often overlooked. This period of time is called the MS prodrome. During the prodrome phase, there is an increase in symptoms including skin, gastrointestinal and psychiatric issues. Research may lead to earlier detection of MS.

Sometimes brain spots or “lesions” typical of multiple sclerosis can be surprisingly found in people who get an MRI scan of the brain for unrelated reasons such as headaches or head trauma. If the person never had MS symptoms, it’s called radiologically isolated syndrome (RIS). RIS risk factors that really increase the risk of a MS relapse include spinal cord lesions, oligoclonal bands in spinal fluid and new MRI lesions over time. Clinical trials for RIS treatment reviewed including recent positive results.

This podcast episode is sponsored by Octave.

Barry Singer MD, Director of The MS Center for Innovations in Care, interviews:

Helen Tremlett PhD

Helen Tremlett PhD is a Professor in the Division of Neurology at the University of British Columbia and the Canada Research Chair in Neuroepidemiology and Multiple Sclerosis. She trained in pharmacoepidemiology and multiple sclerosis with a PhD from Cardiff University, UK. Her ongoing research studies include the MS prodrome, safety and effectiveness of the disease-modifying drugs for MS; pharmacogenomics; risk of MS in special populations; impact of comorbidities on MS outcomes; and the gut microbiome and MS.

Erin Longbrake MD PhD

Erin Longbrake MD PhD is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Yale School of Medicine. She is Director of Neuroimmunology Clinical Research and Director of the fellowship program. She received her MD & PhD degrees at The Ohio State University. Dr. Longbrake completed her neurology residency and was a Sylvia Lawry fellow of the National MS Society from 2013-2016 at Washington University in St. Louis.

Apr 18 2023 MS Living Well Podcast: Is My MS Controlled?

Knowing which MS changes are significant enough to warrant speaking up can be hard. Relapses can occur every 1-2 years without treatment, but much less frequently on disease-modifying treatment. Distinguishing between an actual relapse, a pseudorelapse or just brief worsening of symptoms (Uhthoff’s phenomenon) explained. Options for relapses such as steroids, plasmapheresis and ACTH are reviewed. Importance of MRI monitoring addressed since most new MS lesions pop up on MRI scans without actual symptoms.

Slow progression of disability can be challenging to detect. Physical changes can include slower walking, worsening balance and more hand coordination problems. Cognitive worsening may be noticeable due to short-term memory loss, word-finding issues and multitasking challenges. Tools to improve monitoring for disease progression highlighted such as in-office testing, remote electronic monitoring and biomarker blood testing. Why multiple sclerosis disability can worsen without MRI change explained. Ways to better advocate for prompt care of worsening MS shared.

This podcast episode is sponsored by Octave.

Barry Singer MD, Director of The MS Center for Innovations in Care, interviews:

Jacqueline Nicholas, MD

Jacqueline Nicholas MD is System Chief of Neuroimmunology & Multiple Sclerosis, Director of MS Research and Neuroimmunology Fellowship Director at the OhioHealth Multiple Sclerosis Center.  She completed her neurology residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, serving as chief neurology resident. Dr. Nicholas completed a fellowship in clinical neuroimmunology, multiple sclerosis and spasticity and a Master of Public Health at The Ohio State.

James Bowen, MD

James Bowen MD is Medical Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle as well as a Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Washington in Seattle. He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and completed his neurology residency at the University of Washington. Dr. Bowen has served many roles within the National MS Society, including serving on the National Clinical Advisory Board.

Jul 31 2022 Insights on Multiple Sclerosis in India

Multiple sclerosis lecturers including Dr. Barry Singer being honored at the Madras Medical College in Chennai, India.

The true prevalence of multiple sclerosis in India is unknown, but a new national registry should hopefully provide insights. During my visit to AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) in Delhi, Professor Padma Srivastava shared with me that over 1000 MS patients have been entered into the registry so far through a network of neurologists around India. Multiple sclerosis is being diagnosed more readily due increasing access to well-trained neurologists and widespread availability of relatively low-cost MRI imaging.

It was my honor to be invited to lecture at government hospitals to share the United States changes in MS care including early use of high efficacy treatment for appropriate patients. Special thanks to Professor Neera Chaudhary at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi and Professor R. Lakshmi Narasimhan at Madras Medical College in Chennai and their department faculty for sharing their insights in MS care of Indian patients. In addition, I learned about the high rates of neuromyelitis optica in India similar to many other Asian countries.

Awareness of multiple sclerosis in India is critical for earlier diagnosis and treatment. Monoclonal antibody and generic oral disease-modifying therapies are available, but health inequalities still exist. In this era of numerous treatment options, the prognosis for someone living with MS is much more favorable than prior generations. In India, the stigma of being diagnosed with MS often results in young individuals not being able to marry and have families. Strong advocacy efforts will hopefully lead to change and improved quality of life for those living with MS in India.