A panel of four experts at Frontiers 2017 in front of an audience

4 hot topics at the UK’s largest MS research conference

Later this week, over 100 MS researchers and clinicians will gather for MS Frontiers, the UK’s largest academic conference for MS research.

The brightest minds in MS research

Our biennial MS Frontiers conference brings together leading experts in MS research from around the world. They'll be discussing their latest findings - from treating fatigue in children with MS, to the effect of antibiotics on myelin repair in mice. And we’ll be there making sure you hear about the most exciting findings as they’re announced.

Having the brightest minds in one place to discuss ideas and share knowledge is crucial to improve our understanding of MS and find ways to stop it.

Here are 4 hot topics on this year's programme:

1. Causes of MS

The conference will be opened by Professor Alberto Ascherio, who's travelling all the way from Harvard University to present his talk ‘Can we prevent MS?’. He'll discuss how smoking, vitamin D, childhood obesity and the Epstein-Barr virus may predict the risk of someone developing MS.

Other talks include: how living in different areas may affect the risk of getting MS and how genes can interact with infections to affect MS risk.

2. Managing MS

We’ll hear from dozens of studies finding better ways to manage MS, including:

  • how pelvic floor muscle training can manage urinary incontinence in MS
  • the effect of a drug called PR-Fampridine on hand function in people with advanced MS
  • results from the CRAMMS trial which tested a rehabilitation programme for memory and attention problems in MS.

George Pepper, founder of shift.ms, will also be talking to researchers about how they can involve people with MS in their research.

3. Gut Microbiome

Recent research suggests the gut microbiota (all the bacteria living in our intestines) may play a role in MS. We have experts from the Netherlands and Canada, as well as the UK, presenting their research into how these bacteria affect MS.

We'll be finding out why healthy mice who receive stool samples from people with MS can develop an MS-like condition. And how the gut microbiota differs in children with and without MS.

4. Neuroprotection

In MS, nerve cells are damaged when their protective myelin covering is attacked. With the nerve fibres lost, messages from the brain and spinal cord can’t get through, which can lead to symptoms becoming permanent.

So to stop MS, it’s vital we find treatments that can protect nerves from damage. We'll hear the latest progress in this crucial area of research. Like how nerve cells that have lost their myelin can signal to other cells that they need help.

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