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Multiple sclerosis, young people are the most affected

This was demonstrated during the presentation of the VII Multiple Sclerosis Solidarity Awards, organized by the Merck Health Foundation with the social endorsement of the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN) and in collaboration with the EFE Agency, where the event took place.

Prizes that are awarded as part of National Multiple Sclerosis Day, December 18.

In the event, in which the needs and emergencies of a disease whose patients have increased by 20% worldwide in the last five years were debated, the Deputy Minister of Health Care and Public Health of the Ministry of Health of the Community of Madrid, Fernando Prados.

Also the general director of the Platform of Patient Organizations, Pedro Carrascal; the coordinator of the Demyelinating Diseases Unit of the Neurology Service of the Hospital de la Princesa, Virginia Mecto; and the basketball player and multiple sclerosis patient, Asier de l’Esglesia.

All of them have applauded the advances recorded in research to treat and diagnose multiple sclerosis, but they ask not to stop in this effort to be able to give a better quality of life to people who suffer from this complex neurodegenerative disease.

They have also appealed to society to achieve more visibility and better health care not only to attend to the sick, but also to help their relatives and support the effort, patience and dedication of their caregivers.

In the opening speech, the executive president of the Merck Salud Foundation, Carmen González Madridhe wanted to dedicate his first words to science.

Thus he highlighted the value of scientific research, “the great driving force behind the most significant advances made in recent history and the hope of all those who have been diagnosed with a disease and who are currently using all their strength to live and fight against her Especially those with multiple sclerosis.”

“Advance, progress, improve, discover are words that mark a path of hope to the
diseases and that with the collaboration and support of all, public and private institutions, in all areas of science, society and all areas of health can improve the quality of life,
welfare and assistance of patients and their families”.

Carmen González Madrid

For this reason, he concluded, it is important to support and invest in science and research, in scientists and in all those institutions that bet on it. Also, to all the social entities that do a magnificent job, supporting people with this disease, their relatives and carers with innovative ideas and betting on a more technological and better adapted world for everyone.

The neurologist Virginia Meca he also emphasized research and assured that he enjoys good health all over the world and “in Spain in particular there is a lot and good health”, and although it is probably always insufficient, it should be noted, he added, that 20 years ago there were only two drugs and today we have seventeen.

The doctor at the Hospital de la Princesa added that the challenge today is in the treatment of progressive forms and “now the focus is on it, knowing why this progression occurs and trying to stop it”.

The doctor has finally alluded to the importance of the doctor-patient relationship in multiple sclerosis, since it is a lifelong disease and the person must feel comfortable.

young multiple sclerosis
Discussion table. From left to right: Virginia Meca, Fernando Prados, Carmen González, Javier Tovar, Pedro Carrascal and Asier de l’Església/EFE/David Fernández

Multiple sclerosis, the focus on young people

A patient, what about the doctor and vice-advisor Fernando Pradosit is very present in the health and healthcare strategies of the community of Madrid, where, he recalled, there are three reference centers, in addition to monographic consultations in 17 hospitals and the different neurology services of all the centers.

We must not forget, he pointed out, that multiple sclerosis is epidemiologically most common in young adults, causing disability, excluding traumatic ones, so early diagnosis and good tools to treat it are very important.

On behalf of patient associations, Pedro Carrascal has vindicated the important role they play in representing and giving a voice to patients and working to improve their quality of life in everything that the health system is not capable of.

In terms of visibility, he said that progress has been made in recent years, and that this means that it is more present on the agendas of research and society in general, which is in favor of higher quality of life of the sufferer of this pathology.

Finally and as a patient, the Asier basketball player from the Church has considered that what young people with multiple sclerosis need most is information and to know “if you can be happy with this disease”.

It is a pathology that needs many specialists: psychologists, neurologists, physiotherapists and even speech therapists, and this is essential for the patient to know, as it is also very important that he explains it to his environment and to his own work, he defended .

The awardees

The path of science, Carmen González Madrid finally pointed out, is what the Merck Health Foundation has been following for 32 years, with its actions and aid in clinical research in areas such as neurological and specifically multiple sclerosis.

For all this, the Merck Salut Foundation has once again announced these awards, which are aimed at the ideas, people or projects that have been most valued or recognized in the world of multiple sclerosis during 2022.

The first prize winner, in the category of Digital and New Technologies Award has been the project EMDATEof the Multiple Sclerosis Association Spain (EME), which aims to dynamically obtain and display the possible anonymized data available on this pathology.

Cristina Asorey GarcíaDirector of Communication at EME, she was in charge of collecting the award.

On the other hand, Silvia Lorea Loperena has collected the prize of Awareness and Disclosurethat has been awarded to the project Rehab Room Schoolof the Multiple Sclerosis Association of Navarrefor its innovative model of interactive and immersive rehabilitation.

In this seventh edition, the prize a Social Action has gone for the Madrid private foundation against Multiple Sclerosisfor the pelvic floor treatment project in patients with multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases.

its president, Francisco Javier Puig de la Bellacasahas collected the prize.

Finally, this year an extraordinary recognition has been awarded to the group Spanish for Pharmaceutical Care in Neurological Diseases (GEAFEN), an initiative born in 2018 following the Strategic Map of Pharmaceutical Outpatient Care (MAPEX) and aligned with the super specialization strategy of the Spanish Society of Hospital Pharmacy (SEFH).

Ana María López González and Pilar Díaz Ruiz, coordinators, have received this recognition, for a task that, since its creation, has continuously improved care for Multiple Sclerosis patients launching different activities like enhance pharmaceutical care to achieve maximum clinical benefit and improve health outcomes, generate a broad knowledge of the pathology among specialist pharmacistscreate one Pharmaceutical Care Guide in EM.

And at the patient level, create information sheets for them making it easier to understand their treatments.

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