I went down to the Mall of America today and saw this exhibit. Although I was unable to try it out (over 2 hour wait), it was interesting to see the number of people who were interested in it.
'Step inside MS'' National Tour Brings First-of-Its-Kind Multiple Sclerosis Simulator to the Mall of America in Bloomington
09.19.07, 11:02 AM ET
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On Friday and Saturday, September 21st and 22nd at the Mall of America in Bloomington, residents have a unique opportunity to experience a brief simulation of what it is like for those living with multiple sclerosis (MS) through a state-of-the-art multi-media educational event called Step Inside MS. The event allows participants to experience the world from the perspective of someone with MS and learn how they can be more understanding and supportive of the estimated 9,000 people living with the disease in the Twin Cities region.
"Multiple sclerosis can change everything -- the way you think of yourself and experience life, your relationships with your family and friends, and the way other people suddenly act around you -- it's a completely different world from anything you have experienced," said Mary Culver of Hennepin County. "Modifications, changes and adjustments become part of your everyday life because you just never know when an MS attack is going to happen or what type of symptoms you will have next."
Even though an estimated 400,000 Americans live with MS, symptoms vary so dramatically from person to person that a veil of mystery surrounds MS like few other chronic conditions today.
Hosted by Biogen Idec, which has two MS products on the market, TYSABRI(R) (natalizumab) and AVONEX(R) (Interferon beta-1a), as well as several MS therapies in development; and Elan, which discovered TYSABRI and now co-develops it with Biogen Idec, Step Inside MS is brought to Minneapolis in collaboration with the Minneapolis Chapter of the National MS Society. National MS Society representatives will be on hand to talk about support for the MS community, while area doctors and patients will discuss available treatment options.
With Step Inside MS, participants interact with cutting-edge media and technology to simulate a realistic approximation of the MS patient experience. Accompanied by a trained attendant, participants enter a small theatrical simulator that houses a treadmill where they will be outfitted with goggles and sensory gloves so they experience many of the symptoms that people with MS often encounter, including unpredictable loss of muscle control and coordination problems, numbness and tingling in the hands, hot flashes, and visual and cognitive impairment such as memory loss and decreased verbal ability. The simulation also illustrates social hurdles that a person with MS often faces.
"Each person experiences MS differently," explains Emily Wilson, spokesperson for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Minnesota Chapter. "Step Inside MS is a first step in understanding this complex disease so that people living with MS, as well as others, can share experiences and better support our MS community."
A New Approach to Learning About MS
Designed by New York City-based events design firm, The RJO Group, Step Inside MS unites communications and entertainment technology with scientific research on the neurological causes and effects of MS. Step Inside MS represents the next generation of health education and a unique method to communicate about one of the most complex diseases being treated today.
According to the National MS Society, in MS, the immune system mistakes myelin, the protective insulating sheath surrounding nerve fibers in the central nervous system as being foreign tissue and attacks it leaving scars of hardened sclerotic patches called plaques in multiple places within the brain and spinal cord. In the process the nerve fibers themselves are also damaged. When this happens, the ability of the nerves to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain is disrupted, and the various symptoms of MS result. Step Inside MS helps to show the reality of MS, while also providing a basis for understanding the treatment options that are available for those who are affected by the disease.
"As a neurologist, it is so important for me to understand my patient's symptoms and concerns," said local neurologist Dr. Susan Evans, MD, Neurologist, of the Noran Neurological Clinic Infusion Medical Director at Noran Neurological Clinic. "The MS Simulator allows me to experience a disease that I have studied for years on a totally different level."
Step Inside MS at the Mall of America
Dr. Susan Evans will be on hand, along with others, to discuss treatment options and how to find assistance with MS. Step Inside MS is free of charge and open to the public Friday and Saturday, September 21st and 22nd at the Mall of America, Sears Court, in Bloomington. The MS Simulator experience takes approximately six minutes.
For more information about multiple sclerosis, research or additional MS programs, services and educational opportunities in Minneapolis, please contact the National MS Society at 1-800-344-4867, the National MS Society's Minnesota Chapter at 612-578-4874, or visit www.nationalMSsociety.org
MS is a chronic disease of the central nervous system that, according to the National MS Society, affects more than 2.5 million people worldwide. It is a disease that affects more women than men, with onset typically occurring between 20 and 50 years of age. Symptoms of MS vary from person to person and include weakness or fatigue; numbness or tingling; blurred vision, impaired color perception or visual loss; poor coordination of muscle movements; difficulty with bladder or bowel control; muscle stiffness (spasticity); speech problems and challenges with memory or other thinking skills.
About Biogen Idec
Biogen Idec creates new standards of care in therapeutic areas with high unmet medical needs. Founded in 1978, Biogen Idec is a global leader in the discovery, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of innovative therapies. Patients in more than 90 countries benefit from Biogen Idec's significant products that address diseases such as lymphoma, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. For product labeling, press releases and additional information about the company, please visit www.biogenidec.com
Elan Corporation, plc is a neuroscience-based biotechnology company committed to making a difference in the lives of patients and their families by dedicating itself to bringing innovations in science to fill significant unmet medical needs that continue to exist around the world. Elan shares trade on the New York, London and Dublin Stock Exchanges. For additional information about the company, please visit www.elan.com
About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn't. We help each person address the challenges of living with MS. In 2006 alone, through our home office and 50 state network of chapters, we devoted nearly $126 million to programs that enhanced more than one million lives To move us closer to a world free of MS, the Society also invested more than $46 million to support 380 research projects around the world. We are people who want to do something about MS now.
Studies show that early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can reduce future disease activity and improve quality of life for many people with multiple sclerosis. Talk to your health care professional and contact the National MS Society at www.nationalmssociety.org
or 1-800-344-4867 to learn about ways to help manage multiple sclerosis and about current research that may one day reveal a cure.
TYSABRI is a treatment approved for relapsing forms of MS in the United States and relapsing-remitting MS in the European Union. According to data that have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, after two years, TYSABRI treatment led to a 68% relative reduction (p is less than 0.001) in the annualized relapse rate compared to placebo and reduced the relative risk of disability progression by 42-54% (p is less than 0.001).
TYSABRI increases the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), an opportunistic viral infection of the brain that usually leads to death or severe disability. Other serious adverse events that have occurred in TYSABRI-treated patients included hypersensitivity reactions (e.g., anaphylaxis) and infections. Serious opportunistic and other atypical infections have been observed in TYSABRI-treated patients, some of whom were receiving concurrent immunosuppressants. Herpes infections were slightly more common in patients treated with TYSABRI. In MS trials, the incidence and rate of other serious and common adverse events, including the overall incidence and rate of infections, were balanced between treatment groups. Common adverse events reported in TYSABRI-treated patients include headache, fatigue, infusion reactions, urinary tract infections, joint and limb pain, and rash.
In addition to the United States and European Union, TYSABRI is also approved in Switzerland, Canada, Australia and Israel. TYSABRI was discovered by Elan and is co-developed with Biogen Idec.
AVONEX is the most prescribed treatment for relapsing forms of MS worldwide, with more than 130,000 patients on therapy. It was launched in the U.S. in 1996 and later in Europe for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS to slow the progression of disability and reduce relapses. AVONEX is marketed internationally in more than 90 countries. AVONEX was the first treatment approved for patients who have their first clinical MS attack and have a brain MRI scan consistent with MS; this use was approved in Europe in 2002 and in the U.S. in 2003.
The most common side effects associated with AVONEX multiple sclerosis treatment are flu-like symptoms, including myalgia, fever, fatigue, headache, chills, nausea, vomiting, pain and asthenia.
AVONEX should be used with caution in patients with depression or other mood disorders and in patients with seizure disorders. AVONEX should not be used by pregnant women. Patients with cardiac disease should be closely monitored. Patients should also be monitored for signs of hepatic injury. Routine periodic blood chemistry and hematology tests are recommended during treatment with AVONEX. Rare cases of anaphylaxis have been reported. Please see complete prescribing information available at www.AVONEX.com