Scene Report: MS Breakthroughs

Over the weekend, I attended the MS Breakthroughs event put on by the National MS Society. The keynote speaker was Jeffrey Dunn, director of the Stanford MS Center. The event promised to inform about the current-day MS Breakthroughs as well as the future of MS Research.

It began with a free breakfast. The guy next to me dug in. I’d already eaten. I heard the danishes were good.

Award Ceremony

Someone who raised $250,00, another raised $100,000 & wrote pieces of legislation.. a team of 4 people raised $1.1m. A cool guy who runs a lot of local support groups received an award.


Volunteer of the year came from Alameda. I used to work in Alameda supervising down’s syndrome adults at their jobs collecting carts for the supermarket.
You can’t drive 26 in Alameda without the authorities checking you out! It’s locked down tight in Alameda.

Grouping and Splitting

Dr. Dunn started off with some history of the MS Society, and its important role fostering collaboration, explaining the scientific paradigm of grouping and splitting.

Things start far apart and come together, collaborate, and become normalized, then specialization occurs. Repeat process forever.

Biology is complicated

Biology is complicated – the result of complex processes comprised of many interacting components. Why things happen is often unclear.

We need a map

In MS, the immune system attacks the brain. There are at least a few thousand pathways in the immune system – there’s no map. Dunn thinks we need one, because identifying the specific immune pathways driving disease can enable individually tailored treatment

Immune Hypertension

Dr. Dunn suggested that Multiple Sclerosis is an endstage name, like referring to a “stove fire” as a “burned down house”. He said a better name might be immune hypertension.

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