Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation is working with the Dalhousie Multiple Sclerosis Research Unit (DMSRU) to raise funds that will allow them to recruit a certified MSologist. As the only such specialist in Atlantic Canada, the MSologist position will be dedicated 70% to MS research, with the remaining time dedicated to clinical work, patient and public education, and physician training. With the strong neuroscience program that already exists at Dalhousie University, the MSologist will serve as a catalyst to bring together disparate researchers with a common interest in MS to collaborate on bridging the gap between research and clinical care for the benefit of MS patients and their families.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common disabling disease of young adults – and of women in particular. With common onset between 20 and 40 years of age, MS affects people in the prime of their lives, although it can also affect children and older people. Today, an estimated 100,000 Canadians are living with MS, with a 3:1 ratio of women to men.
For MS sufferers in Nova Scotia, we are fortunate to have clinical and research expertise centred in Halifax, with a satellite clinic also operating in Sydney, Cape Breton. However, while the quality of care delivered by the DMSRU is exceptional, resources are strained. With 2,500 patients actively enrolled in the program, there are 3,000 visits per year to the Halifax clinic alone. We currently have six neurologists doing MS research in Nova Scotia; however, it isn’t a full-time focus for any one of them, and so the research effort is somewhat disjointed.
Given these realities, there is a tremendous opportunity to create a position for a dedicated MSologist (a subspecialty of neurology) with protected research time to advance the cause of MS research in Nova Scotia and throughout Atlantic Canada. The MSologist will further our understanding of the causes of MS and find better treatments on the road to finding a cure.