News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Christchurch neurologist leading part of a world first

December 17, 2012

MEDIA RELEASE


Christchurch neurologist leading part of a world first clinical trial for MS

A Christchurch neurologist is leading part of the world’s first clinical trial into whether oral vitamin D may prevent multiple sclerosis (MS).

The trial is being conducted in both Australia and New Zealand and will include 240 people with early MS.

Dr Deborah Mason will oversee the New Zealanders taking part in the study while Professor Bruce Taylor, a former Christchurch neurologist now based in Hobart, Australia, is one of the principal researchers heading the trial in Australia.

Dr Mason says MS prevalence in New Zealand is high compared to many other parts of the world and appears to be increasing particularly in females.

Researchers believe New Zealanders may be particularly susceptible to MS because of our low latitude which results in low levels of vitamin D.

“This is particularly true for people living in Canterbury, Otago and Southland. We are uniquely placed to perform this research here and it has particular relevance given our high MS rates,” Dr Mason says.

“It will be the world’s first randomised controlled interventional study using vitamin D in people with MS to see how it might influence this disease.”

MS Research Australia has pledged $3.5 million towards the study.

“This trial may not only find a very modestly priced treatment for early MS it may also give us a lot of information about the effect of vitamin D on MS and may be a precursor to intervention in at risk groups prior to developing disease. It also has synergies with other research being done in NZ in children and others as vitamin D is currently a hot topic of research.”

Dr Mason says the timing of the study has also worked in perfectly as it correlates with other research she has been doing including the NZ MS Incidence Study for the MS Society.

“The society’s study has focused on developing a database of people with MS and has provided the platform to approach suitable candidates to invite them into the vitamin D study, which is scheduled to begin in January,” she says.

Dr Mason says MS can be extremely debilitating and affects more women than men.

“Often in their 20s or 30s during what typically should be the most productive years of their lives,” Dr Mason says.

“Other research has found 92 percent of people with MS have a strong work history but within five years of developing the disease up to 50 percent are no longer working.”

Dr Mason is a consultant neurologist with Canterbury District Health Board based in Christchurch Hospital’s Neurology Department.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Fringe Review: Rossum’s Universal Robots

Written in 1920 by Karel Capek in a newly independent Czechoslovakia, its prophetic tale of artificial intelligence, automata and human morality was initially a big hit, but it then vanished from view, in New Zealand at least, before being revived in Hamilton last year. More>>

SELECT FRINGE SHOWS:

Pictures Of Media: Call For Photographs For Reimagining Journalism

In August this year Freerange Press is launching its next big book. This time we are gathering the best writers and thinkers in the country to look at the changing media landscape in New Zealand. To illuminate and give voice to the writing we want to include around 25 excellent photos. We want these photos to document the different aspects of how journalism is made, how it used to be, and how it is changing. More>>

Safer Internet Day: Keeping Safe Online More Important Than Ever

Tuesday 9 February marks Safer Internet Day. Safer Internet Day is designed to create awareness about the importance of Internet safety and encourages positive use of technology - with a strong focus on young people. More>>

ALSO:

We Have The Technology: Zephyrometer Up And Moving

“The needle’s stoppers had to be repaired because of the extra impact caused by the balance not being correct. We also added an extra 300kgs counter-balance – made from zinc coated steel triangle plates. These adjustments will now stop it bending low over the road in high winds.” More>>

ALSO:

Waitangi Day: Treaty Of Waitangi - Found In Translation

To celebrate the Society of Translators and Interpreters's 30th anniversary, over 90 translators will work together to translate the English and Māori versions of the Treaty of Waitangi into 30 languages... More>>

ALSO:

Northland Development: Trust Applauds $4m Government Funding For Art Centre

Today's announcement of central government support, made by Minister of Economic Development Steven Joyce, provides a key step forward in funding for Whangarei’s Hundertwasser Art Centre & Wairau Maori Art Gallery. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news