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06.03.04

Brazos Valley Multiple Sclerosis Support Group

The 10th Annual English Tea benefiting members of the Brazos Valley Multiple Sclerosis Support Group (BVMSSG) was hosted at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University on May 15, 2004 by Dr. Jane Welsh, Associate Professor in the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health and her scientific team.

The English Tea provided a forum for discussion of advances in Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and allowed graduate students to present their research to members of the BVMSSG, demonstrating the vital role that veterinary medical research plays in promoting public health.

This year's discussions focused on the impact of stress on the MS patient and the important role of the blood brain barrier.

In MS patients, the immune system attacks the virus and the myelin membranes making it difficult for the sensory nerves to conduct electrical impulses. When myelin dissolves as a result of MS, a scar forms in its place. These scars prevent signals from traveling through the body and can be aggravated by stress levels. At the onset of MS more than 80 percent of those diagnosed had suffered a highly stressful life event in the preceding year.

Current research suggests that neurological disease combined with stress can initiate the breakdown of the blood brain barrier thereby allowing an influx of immune cells to cross over.

The theory is, that if you have the genes that predispose to MS and high stress levels, which often interfere with the ability to generate an effective immune response to MS causing agents, then the agent will persist and lead to illness, Welsh commented.

Members of the BVMSSG welcomed the scientific information and shared their own unique perspectives on living with MS, which included suggestions on which medications to take, how to deal with depression and finding the right doctor or neurologist to care for their needs.

The English Tea proved to be a tremendous success and allowed researchers to meet and discuss their findings with the patients that they hope will one day benefit from their work.

Contact Information:
Angela G. Clendenin
Director, Communications & Public Relations
Ofc - (979) 862-2675
Cell - (979) 739-5718



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