“Someone asked me what am I doing about the fact that MS is essentially shredding MSers brains because of inactivity of the ‘system’ to treat their disease early and effectively.”
“Yes, I am being serious about the lobby or campaign. Several colleagues and I are starting a lobby focusing on brain health in MS. Early diagnosis, early effective treatment, NEDA and treating-2-target will be core components of the message we will be promoting. We have also stolen the concept from stroke that ‘Time is Brain’ to get the message across that we need to take the treatment of MS very seriously. It is our responsibility to look after and protect your brain as much as possible. The aim is to protect your cognitive reserve so that you can age normally. Lofty ambitions? Yes, but why wouldn’t we want to aspire to allowing MSers to age normally?”
“What can you do about it? You need to adopt all the health behaviours that have been shown to improve brain health. The lessons for you are the same general lessons that apply to the whole population. The following is my list:
- Exercise regularly if you can; aerobic exercise 3-4x per week.
- Improve your diet; I recommend the British Heart Foundation Diet or a Mediterranean diet.
- Keep yourself mentally active; I am not sure that the evidence of brain training is robust enough to be prescribed to MSers, but it makes sense.
- Stop smoking.
- Improve your sleep hygiene.
- Review what drugs you’re on; many of the drugs we prescribe to treat the symptoms of MS make cognitive impairment worse.
- Actively manage any co-morbidities you may have, in particular high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol.
- Depression, low mood, anxiety and stress; if you are depressed or anxious please seek advice and treatment. Depression and anxiety affects cognitive function. Try and manage levels of stress.
- Invest in social capital; keep working on your relationships with your family and friends. Social isolation is not good for cognitive functioning and the factors that impact on cognition.
- If you are post-menopausal you may want to discuss the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with your family doctor. There is some evidence that HRT may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.“
|From Alzheimer’s treatment and prevention.|