Pediatric MS research gets boost
from sales of license plates
Research into pediatric multiple sclerosis at UB and Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo (WCHOB) is getting a boost from New York State motorists who purchase custom license plates bearing the National Multiple Sclerosis Society logo.
UB’s Jacobs Neurological Institute is receiving $10,000 from the license plate sales, which have taken place since 2004. The customized plates are the result of efforts by the National MS Society Upstate New York Chapter to create awareness and raise money to support pediatric MS research across the state. UB and Stony Brook University, which also is receiving a donation from the license plates sales, host two of six Pediatric MS Centers of Excellence nationwide. The centers work with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as part of a network to provide comprehensive care and conduct clinical research related to childhood MS.
“The MS society logo plate revenue program will be used in continuing our prospective studies focusing primarily on outcomes and risk factors related to pediatric multiple sclerosis,” says Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, UB professor of neurology in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and director of the Pediatric MS Clinic at WCHOB. “We are performing ongoing research evaluating visual and neuropsychological outcomes, as well as occupational therapy/physical therapy outcomes.”
In previous research, Weinstock-Guttman and her colleagues evaluated MRI outcomes in pediatric patients with MS in comparison to adult MS patients, and found that the disease was more aggressive in children.
Since 2006, the Pediatric MS Clinic at UB and WCHOB has provided care to more than 250 children from Western New York, New York State, the U.S. and as far away as England and Saudi Arabia. The clinic’s multidisciplinary approach to pediatric MS means that all aspects of patient care, including involvement in research studies, is fully integrated, says Mary Karpinski, medical social worker at the clinic. “We make sure that patients and their families get all the services they need,” she says.
Western New York has one of the highest prevalence rates of MS in the nation: The U.S. incidence rate is 133 cases per 100,000 people; in Western New York, it is 267 cases per 100,000.
Although MS often is considered an “adult” disease, as many as 10,000-15,000 American children may have multiple sclerosis.