David’s backing Scottish drive to stop multiple sclerosis in its tracks

A Midlothian man with multiple sclerosis has praised the work being done in Scotland to fight the condition.

Thursday, 25th April 2019, 6:03 am

David Trotter, 35, was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in 2004 and receives treatment from NHS Lothian.

In this MS Awareness Week, MS ­Society Scotland are encouraging ­people to support the research that will ­eventually lead to a cure for people like David.

He said: “We’ve made a lot of progress in treating relapsing remitting MS since I was diagnosed and it’s been good to see new treatments become available.

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“As Scotland has such a high rate of MS it makes sense that we are a significant part of the research into stopping it in its tracks.

“It’s important that we keep fighting to find more treatments particularly for the progressive forms of the condition as, currently, there is nothing available on the NHS in Scotland.”

MS affects the brain and spinal cord as the coating that protects nerves (myelin) is damaged, which can cause a range of symptoms from tremors to fatigue.

The majority of people (around 85 per cent) are initially diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS, which causes distinct relapses of symptoms, which then fade away either partially or completely.

Dr Anne Astier at the University of Edinburgh has researched what kind of role vitamin D might play in MS.

Her project aimed to find out how immune cells move into the brain and spinal cord – where they can cause damage – and whether vitamin D is involved in that process.

Dr Astier said: “MS is a very ­complicated condition with a number of ­factors determining whether you might get it.

“It is thought that one of those factors is vitamin D – which might play a role in why prevalence in Scotland is so high.

“The research I’m involved in could help develop more and better treatments for MS with fewer side-effects.

“We’ve come a long way in the past 25 to 30 years and I’m optimistic, as I think many people are, that we are ­getting ever close to stopping MS.

“Ultimately, it’s all about helping people with MS. Learning more about the condition and providing more treatments will help people live well with the condition and that’s incredibly positive.”

Dr Astier’s research is one of a number of projects that have been funded by MS Society throughout Scotland. There are currently 10 projects receiving funding from the charity and a further 48 across the UK.

David added: “It can be hard to think long term as someone watching the developments in science but what has been happening is undoubtedly positive.

“There is a lot of promising work going on and we need that to continue with researchers looking into the causes and potential treatments and people participating in trials and studies.”