Recognition of Multiple Sclerosis in Non-white Populations


In part 1 of this video interview with ACT editor Andy Studna, Tirisham Gyang, MD, assistant professor of neurology at The Ohio State University discusses how new research is changing the way industry recognizes multiple sclerosis in non-white populations.

ACT: What do you think has caused the lack of awareness when it comes to the recognition of MS in non-white populations?

Tirisham Gyang: So that's a very good question. I think historically multiple sclerosis (MS) has been taught to be a disease that affects primarily white individuals. In medical school, that was what we learned. That was what we were trained to look for. Whenever we saw, whenever we thought about MS, it was typically in the context of a white, young female. So now that we're getting more evidence and more data that MS affects everyone, and actually the incidence is growing higher in minority populations. I think there's just a lack of that catching up of awareness because there's still that notion that MS is something that affects primarily white individuals.

ACT: How can industry address that lack of awareness?

Gyang: I think it's just being inclusive in whatever messaging we're giving to people. First of all, we could start with teaching. When we teach in medical schools, we want to teach that MS affects everyone. But in the messaging in terms of who can get MS, I think that picture needs to just include anybody, whether it is an ad or it is a flyer or it's an example we're trying to make of a potential MS patient. We need to be inclusive in the types of people we're presenting as potential patients that could have MS and we need to let other people know that MS can affect everybody. And it does, you don't have to be from a specific demographic for us to think about MS, but anybody can get MS.

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