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Treatment Options for Multiple Sclerosis
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 12 Noon (Eastern Time)

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Mary Willis, MD

  • Neruological Institute
  • Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research
  • Cleveland Clinic

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a central nervous system disorder-that is, it affects the brain and spinal cord and spares the nerves and muscles that leave the spinal cord. MS is an inflammatory disorder in which infection-fighting white blood cells enter the nervous system and cause injury. It is a demyelinating disorder because the myelin sheath that protects nerves is stripped off during inflammation. When this happens, the nerves cannot conduct electricity as well as they should, causing various symptoms. Symptoms may be the type that come and go over time (relapsing-remitting MS) or progress over time (progressive MS). MS can happen to just about anyone and is long-term.

Since the first FDA approved medication became available in 1993, a total of nine other medications have received approval for the treatment of MS. Some medications can reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms in people with MS while some can slow the progression of certain types of MS. In addition to disease-modifying drugs, incorporating physical therapy, exercise and good nutrition will help create a balanced lifestyle for those living with the chronic illness.

Each person’s MS is different and you should work with your healthcare provider to identify a treatment plan that will help you achieve the best results. Dr. Willis will elaborate on how an effective treatment plan can slow the progression of the disease, decrease the number and severity of relapses, and reduce the accumulation of new lesions.

As part of Cleveland Clinic’s Neurological Institute, the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis offers state-of-the-art resources to provide the most advanced specialized care, supported by an extensive program of research and education. The Mellen Center is the largest and most comprehensive program for MS care and research worldwide, managing more than 20,000 patient visits every year. Basic and clinical research conducted at Cleveland Clinic sheds new light on MS every year.

Mary Willis, MD, is a Staff Neurologist in Cleveland Clinic’s Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research. Dr. Willis completed her Clinical Neuroimmunology Fellowship at Cleveland Clinic’s Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research in 2012. She is currently on the board of directors for the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America and a member of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers.

To make an appointment with Mary Willis, MD, or any of the other specialists in Cleveland Clinic’s Mellen Center, please call 216.444.8600, toll-free at 800.223.2273 (extension 48600) or visit us at clevelandclinic.org/mellen for more information.

This Health Chat will open on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 to allow you to submit questions. We will try to answer as many questions as possible during the chat. Please create an account to attend the chat and submit your questions.