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Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence


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Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence Research

Meet our MS Researchers!

VHA Multiple Sclerosis Surveillance Registry and its similarities to other contemporary multiple sclerosis cohorts. William J. Culpepper, PhD, MA; Mitchell T. Wallin, MD, MPH; Laurence S. Magder, PhD, MPH; Eli Perencevich, MD, MS; Walter Royal, MD; Douglas D. Bradham, DrPH, MA, MPH; Gary Cutter, PhD; Christopher T. Bever, MD  
This article reviews the MS registry and concludes that it appears to be representative of the general MS population. It combines the extensive VHA health services encounter data with the registry and found that it provides a rich and unique cohort for study.

Cost of MS Drugs in the US  and the Pharmaceutical Industry: Too Big to Fail?
Daniel Hartung, PharmD, MPH; Dennis Bourdette, MD; Sharia Ahmed, MPH; Ruth Whitham, MD 
This article addresses MS DMT costs that have accelerated at rates well beyond inflation and substantially above rates observed for drugs in a similar biologic class. The authors state that there is a need for clinicians, payers, and manufacturers in the US to confront the soaring costs of thse medications for people with MS.

Escalating MD Drug Costs in the US: Puzzling, Troubling, Suspcious
T. Jock Murray, MD; Murray G. Brown, MD
This editorial reminds readers that the ethics of the medical profession requires physicians to be advocates for their patients and the authors urge healthcare professionals to be more active and initiate a national conversation the issue of escalating MS medications.

How Far Can Epidemiology Take Us in Finding the Cause of Multiple Sclerosis?
John F Kurtzke MD, FACP, FAAN
This monograph is part of our annual Whitaker Memorial Lecture series. The 2013 lecture was given by John Kurtzke MD, FACP, FAAN. His presentation summarizes the major findings on the epidemiology of multiple sclerosis (MS) over the last century, with a focus on the work from John’s long and distinguished research career. In the text and slides, John meticulously leads us through the population-based studies that point to an infection as the underlying cause for MS.
Kurtzke Monograph 

New Study of Gulf War Era Veterans Shows High MS Incidence Rates in Diverse Demographic Groups
This paper introduces a new large demographically diverse military multiple sclerosis (MS) cohort of Vetearns from the Gulf War era (1990-2007). Key findings were that African Americans had the highest MS incidence rates compared with Whites, Hispanics, Asian/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans/Pacific Islanders. The Gulf War MS cohort will be an important resource for further studies of MS risk factors for onset and progression.
> Find out more . . .


Related Articles

MS and Service in the Gulf War

Estimated Incidence of Multiple Sclerosis Among United States Armed Forces Personnel Using the Defense Medical Surveillance System - Deussing Military Medicine 2012 

Incidence and Prevalence of Reported MS in the US - Baum Ann Neurol 1981

An unchanging man faced with changing times - editorial on John Kurtzke by Christian Confavreux 

CCSVI Related

Meyer-Schwickerath R, Haug C, Hacker A, et al. Intracranial venous pressure is normal in patients with multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler. 2011;17(5):637-638.

Baracchini C, Perini P, Calabrese M, Causin F, Rinaldi F, Gallo P. No evidence of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency at multiple sclerosis onset. Ann Neurol. 2011;69(1):90-99.

No Cerebral or Cervical Venous Insufficiency in US Veterans With Multiple Sclerosis Study of Veterans with MS does not support theory that chronic cerebral venous insufficiency (CCSVI) exists in MS. Recently published studies suggest that the perivenous inflammation and perhaps the disease itself are initiated by cerebral venous hypertension or chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency. This study failed to detect a significant difference in the Zamboni et al criteria for impairment to cerebral venous drainage in patients with MS compared with control subjects. 

Exercise and Quality of Life

Turner AP, Kivlahan DR, Haselkorn JK "Exercise and quality of life among people with multiple sclerosis: looking beyond physical functioning to mental health and participation in life." Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 2009 Mar; 90; 3; 420-8


National MS Data Repository

The Centers of Excellence maintain a national MS Data Repository as a part of our mission. The MSCOE repository contains the VHA medial data of every patient diagnosed with MS since 1998; over 44,000 unique and deidentified cases. It is the largest collection of information on men with MS in the world. They comprise more than 80% of the repository with an average age in the mid 50's.

Incident of MS in Portland, OR area

Repository data has been used in our studies of exercise, obesity, pain, spasticity, falls, access to specialty care, disease modifying therapies, complementary and alternative medicine, telehealth, rural medicine, cost of care, and causes of death among VHA patients with Multiple Sclerosis. The Centers of Excellence also use it to contact those patients and caregivers who are within driving distance of upcoming MSCOE educational events, as well as for the delivery of our newsletter.

If you are interested in using the MS Data Repository, contact for details.