NMO and How to Rock the World of a Scientist

In an effort to learn more about neuromyelitis optica (NMO)—a chronic illness also known as Devic’s syndrome or Devic’s disease—I tuned into another YouTube video of a PhD.

He’d been interviewed while attending the European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS (ECTRIMS), an annual conference that typically meets in Europe.

ECTRIMS is a very important gathering that attracts the most influential leaders in MS and other demyelinating diseases.

Not only do you have big brains (like this PhD) in attendance, but you also have neurologists—some of the biggest key opinion leaders—and big wigs from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, all in one large place.

smart genius excited fat beard
I bet there was genius all over that conference. Source: www.giphy.com

Thousands of these folks gather to present their most recent findings from clinical trials. They share crucial information during clinical presentations and they also collaborate on new projects.

Get the picture? These are the BIG BRAINS of the world in the field of demyelinating disease.

Wouldn’t you just LOVE to attend? I just would. I love smart people—especially when they have a good heart, which seems to be hard to find sometimes in the pharmaceutical industry…

The PhD basically had a quick down and dirty description of NMO, which I’ll re-frame for you below:

  • An autoimmune disease that’s very complex in nature
  • Usually affects women more than men
  • Onset of symptoms occurs typically around 40-50 years of age
  • Although similar to relapsing MS where attacks come and go, and people usually recover or at least get close to baseline, relapses in NMO are cumulative
  • MS drugs can have a negative impact on NMO
  • Scientists do not believe that NMO is an early form of MS
  • Early diagnosis can help to minimize the impact of relapses
  • There are no FDA-approved treatments for NMO as of September 2016
  • Clinical trials are currently taking place which will hopefully lead to effective therapies
  • Approximately 23 countries are represented in the research and fight for treatment development
  • The Guthy Jackson Foundation is playing a key role in identifying unmet needs, and is working with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and various pharmaceutical companies towards a cure

Alisha Stone

Alisha Stone

Alisha Stone has a BA in psychology and is dedicated to improving the lives of others living with chronic illnesses.

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