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Corner office: a world-wide vision.

The joint meeting of the leadership of the National MS Society and our counterparts in the International Federation of MS Societies in Atlanta this November makes me think of athletic competition. I can't help it. The summer's Centennial Olympics were followed by the heart-stopping Paralympics, and I think most of us can still see the images of achievement, commitment, and victory left by these great athletes.

The wheelchair field events by Laura Schwanger of New Jersey, who has been living with MS since 1981, deserve special mention. Our hats are off to her display of grace, skill, and fortitude in the discus, shot put, and javelin competitions.

In the world-wide effort to end multiple sclerosis, the definition of winner is a bit different. For every series of experiments and clinical trials that leads to a breakthrough like the two interferons, there are dozens and dozens of initiatives that don't pan out. But they may have been winners also.

In medical research, solid knowledge is a platform on which success is built. If research shows that a promising idea doesn't work, we move ahead on sounder footing than before. Good data and good decisions emerge from good studies, perhaps, especially from those with unexpected results. Good decisions bring us closer to a world free of the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis.

It's much easier to point this out today, in the context of a first generation of new drugs with exciting positive results. But this has always been true. The successes we have in our hands today emerged from a half-century of labor. There were many dead ends and many, many doomsayers along the way. We can be proud of our clear and persistent vision.

Today, there are some 1300 scientists worldwide engaged in MS research, through the efforts of the National MS Society and fellow members of the IFMSS. This means there is now a global marketplace where scientific ideas are being fomented, tested, and compared.

We are seeing an outpouring of new insights, new treatments, and better ways to manage MS. The accomplishments include smarter technology to overcome physical losses and better drugs for quelling symptoms as we pursue the ultimate -- cure.

Since there are no borders to what MS can do to people's lives, there should be no barriers to continued meaningful international collaboration, cooperation, and communication. The vision of a world without MS demands this of us all.
COPYRIGHT 1996 National Multiple Sclerosis Society
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:multiple sclerosis research
Author:Dugan, Mike
Publication:Inside MS
Date:Dec 22, 1996
Words:401
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