Multiple Sclerosis, Don’t Let It Define You

Body Mind SoulOne way to understanding any disease is to talk to your doctor and another is to read about the disease from various medical sources. It is not always wise to rely on one source for information. With how much information we come across these days on the internet, it shows how much people are talking about a particular, disease, war, or anything else of great interest. One disease that is of interest is Multiple Sclerosis or MS. This two part interview consists of TV host of the show, Jason Silva BrainGames, which is a “pioneer series in the genre of “smartertainment”- content that entertains while expanding your knowledge. It’s about making smart the new sexy.” He talks in more detail about the show and why he started it in relation to MS. While Silva is not a doctor, Dr. Newman, a specialist of MS was also interviewed specifically about the disease.

LatinTRENDS (LT): Why did you start the show?

Jason Silva (JS): National Geographic came to me after seeing some of my web videos asking me to host their new series Brain Games. It was a unique opportunity to extend my passion for ideas beyond the web and back into television.

I’ve also extended my passion for ideas by partnering with Biogen Idec™ to raise awareness of the innovative efforts of individuals that are helping people with multiple sclerosis (MS) across the country, and the great work that is being done to help the MS community. My discussions with these visionary individuals in two videos now available on ThePostGame.com in the health & fitness section of the website. (www.thepostgame.com/health-fitness).

LT: Can you talk about the video series a little bit?
JS: I also have a YouTube channel called SHOTS OF AWE where I make short films exploring breathtakingly big ideas. The goal is for these videos to act as ‘trailers for the mind’ and engage audiences to probe deeper into existential issues related to technology, philosophy, creativity and the human condition. The series has received over 13 million views and social media shares from prominent figures such as Richard Branson, director Ron Howard, Actor Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo DiCaprio.

LT: What is the greatest take away for you when you do speaking engagements or talk to people about the show?
JS: I do many talks and keynotes for companies all over the world including Google, Microsoft, IBM, Intel and others. My favorite part is getting to really (hopefully) impact audiences viscerally when thinking about exponential technological change and its implications.

Stephen Newman MD, Director of the Comprehensive MS Center at Island Neurological Associates gives a more in-depth discussion about the disease, advice about living with MS, treatments and other information.

LatinTRENDS (LT): Briefly, can you describe MS, the causes and symptoms?
Stephen Newman (SN): Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an immune mediated disease that occurs when inflammatory cells, that are programmed to fight infection, make a mistake and, attack the central nervous system, which is the brain and the spinal cord. The attack is on the fatty insulation that surrounds nerves called myelin, causing the nerves to short circuit and not be able to transmit information. As a result of this damage, people develop various types of disabilities, including weakness, numbness, tingling, visual disturbance, fatigue, and problems with their ability to think.

LT: What type of treatments are there for people living with MS?

SN: The first disease modifying treatment for multiple sclerosis was FDA approved in 1993 and was done by injection. Prior to that, there were no medications that could altered the course of the disease. There are now 10 medications on the market, including both injectable and pills. One example of a medication that is used to treat relapse forms of multiple sclerosis is Tecfidera. This medication was released approximately a year and a half ago. It is FDA approved to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, and has been shown to be effective in 2 large clinical trials. Specifically, it was shown to reduce relapses, and delayed physical disability. This medication can have side effects, including reduction of white blood cell count, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain and flushing. So, when making a medication choice, one has to take into account the beneficial effects and side effects, before making a decision regarding treatment.

LT: Are you specialized in MS for both children and adults?
SN: I am only specialized for adults and mainly based on preference. Children have different needs than adults.

LT: What is the best advice that you could give to someone living with MS in terms of coping methods?

SN: First is to be your own advocate in treating your disease by taking your medication and following the doctor’s advice. It is important to use all support systems available including family friends, and medical professionals. Second, MS is a lifelong disease and living with it requires a marathon of effort, and self-dedication. There is no cure for multiple sclerosis; however, by doing the right things quality of life can be maintained.

It is important to be fully educated about any disease. There are numerous experts out there who are specialists and their goal is to educate others on their findings. This is never any harm in having too much information, it is just more power to you.