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

 
Gold For RNZ: Muslim Post-9/11 Series, Kim Hill Win In New York

The Radio New Zealand podcast series Public Enemy has won a gold award for excellence for its presenter, Mohamed Hassan, at the prestigious New York Festival Radio Awards announced in Manhattan today. RNZ National’s Saturday Morning host, Kim Hill, also received a gold award for Best Radio Personality. More>>

Human Rights Commission: Give Nothing To Racism

A campaign urging New Zealanders to give nothing to racism and refuse to spread intolerance has been launched by some of the country’s most well-known people. More>>

Louis Vuitton Series Win: Emirates Team NZ Will Challenge For The America’s Cup

By beating Artemis 5-2 they now take on Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup match starting next weekend. More>>

ALSO:

Monterey: Rodger Fox Big Band Invited To Celebrated Festival

The Rodger Fox Big Band has received an invitation to perform at the 2017 Monterey 60th Anniversary Jazz Festival in the USA in September of this year. More>>

AntARTica: Scientist’s Painting Discovered In Antarctic Hut

The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust has discovered an almost perfectly preserved 118 year old watercolour painting among penguin-excrement, dust and mould covered papers found in an historic hut at Cape Adare, Antarctica. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Set In Stone

Tthere are over a thousand public war memorials scattered around the country, commemorating over 30,000 New Zealanders who have died in wartime, and most of whom are buried overseas. More>>>More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland