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MS study making a difference

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for Disability Issues

EMBARGOED UNTIL 5.00pm, 7 August 2006 Media Statement

MS study making a difference

Disability Issues minister Ruth Dyson has congratulated researchers on their world-leading study of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

"This is a ground-breaking study, the first ever in the world to examine the prevalence of MS across a whole country," said Ruth Dyson.

The minister was speaking at the launch of the initial findings from the National Multiple Sclerosis Prevalence Study at Parliament this evening. Preliminary results from the study indicate there are likely to be many more people living with MS than previously thought.

"While MS can be debilitating, most people with the disease are able to lead a fairly normal life and continue to be actively involved in their community. One of the benefits of this study will be to have an accurate measure of how many New Zealanders are affected by MS, and this will significantly assist in the planning and provision of resources and services."

The study is being conducted by the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences and jointly funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of New Zealand.

The study’s key aim is to accurately measure the number of people living with MS around the country. Researchers will look at why MS seems to increase the further people live from the equator, and why there may be lesser rates of the disease amongst Maori.

The final results of the study will be available by the end of 2007.

People with MS who would like to participate in the study can contact 0800 677 839 (0800 MS STUDY) or email msstudy@chmeds.ac.nz

For more information about Multiple Sclerosis and the study, visit http://www.msnz.org.nz

ENDS

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