11.03.2016

Why I Like the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America

When I was diagnosed with MS, I found myself stumbling into and reading up on a variety of pages posted online by the National Multiple Sclerosis SocietyWhile the National Multiple Sclerosis Society certainly does a lot in the area of MS, I've increasingly gotten the feeling that it functions as an arm of the pharmaceutical industry. You can see this bias in the description of "Complimentary and Alternative Medicines" as risky, for instance, while "Treating MS" via conventional means is approached much less skeptically. Here's an annual report from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society regarding funding from pharmaceutical companies; it looks like the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is pulling in just over $10 million annually in big-pharma money.

I see the  Multiple Sclerosis Association of America as a rather different type of group. The MSAA provides free cooling equipment for folks with MS, free MRIs for those who can't afford to get needed scans of the brain and spinal cord, and sponsors various activity-based fundraisers (swims, for instance). The MRI fund was just re-established in 2016, after being offline for a while.
It's not that the MSAA is all about living with MS drug-free or anything like that (they have plenty of pharma-related info online and in print), it's just that they seem to do immediately helpful things for folks with MS. So it's a cool organization that I'm hoping to stay connected with.

In a future post, I should talk a bit about MS Australia, another national MS society. From what I've seen, MS Ausralia has a different character still, sponsoring a variety of public lectures (some of which are online). 

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