Rome, April 9 (beraking latest news Health) – Affects the central nervous system causing a wide range of symptoms, including cognitive, visual and language disorders. For this reason, multiple sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease that is still scary, but certainly less than in the past, thanks to the various therapeutic options that allow patients in most cases to avoid the most serious consequences in terms of disability.
“Only in recent years have we seen so many new drugs enter clinical practice that represented a real revolution for this pathology that was treated with far fewer therapeutic options twenty years ago.” Luigi Lavorgna, neurologist at the Center for Multiple Sclerosis of the First Neurological Clinic at the Polyclinic of Naples, in an interview published on the Aleati per la Salute website (www.alleatiperlasalute.it), the new portal dedicated to medical information- scientific research carried out by Novartis, underlines the importance of the new therapies with which this chronic, complex and unpredictable disease is managed, which affects about 2.5-3 million people worldwide, of which 600 thousand in Europe and about 122 thousand in Italy, according to data from the Italian Multiple Sclerosis Association (Aism).
The turning point in the history of the disease, according to Lavorgna, dates back to the advent of the “first new generation therapies” which, together with many other oral and infusional active ingredients, allow the progression of this disease to be controlled very effectively. “Today the therapy is more and more customizable – Lavorgna explains – The goal is to identify the most suitable drug for each patient and for the specific phase of the disease in which he is found”. Of course there is still a minority slice of patients refractory to therapy, but the prospects bode well.
In this scenario, another turning point is that represented by the Covid-19 pandemic. As in other medical specialties, the need to continue clinical activity in a context of social distancing has led to an acceleration of digitization and an ever greater involvement of telemedicine.
“After the initial and inevitable dismay, the use of digital tools proved to be effective and gave comforting results”, says Lavorgna, thinking back to the first months of the health emergency. Doing telemedicine in neurology, despite the difficulties, is not impossible: “60% of the physical examination can take place remotely, on webcam, even with the necessary precautions – specifies the neurologist – Apart from the evocation of reflexes, some related tests sensitivity and vestibular tests, a neurological examination can be carried out at a distance “.
From both a scientific and daily clinical practice point of view, the drive towards telemedicine and digitization of the patient journey is giving very encouraging results in the management of multiple sclerosis: “More and more doctors and patients are satisfied with these innovations – Lavorgna highlights – We think of the youngest, in particular: they have their own life in their smartphone. For them, being able to manage their health from their mobile phones, through video consultations or dedicated apps, is just an advantage “. Surely living in the hospital remotely makes them feel less sick, which is fundamental for a disease that, like multiple sclerosis, arises at a young age, particularly between 20 and 40 years.
“In Italy we count on a national health system which, despite everything, is excellent. Moreover, the centers specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis are widespread throughout the territory”, continues Lavorgna.
For the expert, “in the face of the excellent results of these first telemedicine experiences, we expect to be able to continue on this path” even in the post-pandemic. “It is only a question of overcoming some cultural resistances that remain in a small part of the medical world and, perhaps, also in politics”, he concludes.
The intervention of the specialist is available on: https://www.alleatiperlasalute.it/salute-20/qual-e-il-percorso-che-oggi-compie-il-paziente-con-sclerosi-multipla.