[FoRK] Multiple Sclerosis

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at ceruleansystems.com
Fri Mar 20 12:48:24 PDT 2009

On Mar 20, 2009, at 6:55 AM, geege schuman wrote:
> Incidental, but the DOD just gave up $5m for MS research. This is  
> first-time
> give. I personally know of large DOD grants for Traumatic Brain Injury
> research.  I can see the interest of DOD in TBI, but MS?

It makes more sense than you might think, for two reasons.  First, the  
Veterans Administration handles tens of thousands of people with MS,  
and it is a very costly disease to treat.  Second, it has been  
observed for awhile that there are prevalences of MS in parts of the  
military that suggest an environmental trigger of some type, which is  
what they are probably researching.  Some of the epidemiological  
patterns are odd.

$5M is relatively small, but the DoD probably has something specific  
in mind.

> (As it was explained to me, there's not much private money in MS  
> research
> because MS effects a relatively small number of people....)

In the US it is something like 300,000-400,000 people, which is  
significantly more prevalent than many other diseases, like ALS.  It  
is also a pretty expensive disease.

I used to do fundraising for MS, and it is one of those diseases that  
tends to be funded by private research foundations. There has been a  
chronic dearth of interest by governments in funding it, but it is  
relatively well-funded as such diseases go from other sources.   
Government funded medical research has a bad habit of often chasing  
Teh Sexy or political favorite rather than the highest ROI.


J. Andrew Rogers

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