Home - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Skip to navigation Skip to content

We've come a long way

When Eugene May was a medical student in the mid-1980s, people with multiple sclerosis were often misdiagnosed, untreated and dismissed without hope.

My, how things have changed.

"The research going on
surrounding the cause,
course and treatment of
MS is vibrant and productive."
- Dr. Eugene May

Today, the Seattle neuro-ophthalmologist, who specializes in treating the effects of MS on the eyes, is more than hopeful about research advances in MS diagnosis and treatment. He’s excited at what he envisions as a world without MS that lies within our reach.

“In the time span of my career, our perception of MS has changed from a difficult problem with few treatment options, to one that is eminently treatable from many different vantage points,” Dr. May told guests at the Seattle MS Luncheon in October.

Also at the MS Luncheon, Chairman of the National MS Society Board, Weyman Johnson, labeled the bygone days of MS treatment as “diagnose and adios.” Dr. May agreed the options were slim even just 20 years ago. Then, MS was “a mysterious disease” and even neurologists were often uninformed. People were typically told to go home and rest, while some were offered steroids, immune suppressants or a few other medications to treat their symptoms.

“Now, things are different and we neurologists have a lot more to offer people with MS,” Dr. May explained. “And that’s only because of the millions of dollars of funding that have supported the work of thousands of brilliant and hard-working neurologists and scientists over the years, largely supported by the National MS Society.”

He noted that advances are currently being made in research into:

  • The role of genetics in determining why MS may cluster in some families and racial groups
  • The link between MS and sun exposure and Vitamin D levels
  • The relationship between birthplace and prevalence of MS
  • Development of oral medications that will “hopefully free many people with MS from their needles”

Groundbreaking research studies like these - as well as studies into quality of life issues - are being conducted at all the MS Centers in the Puget Sound area and in many private practices, Dr. May pointed out.

“The research going on surrounding the cause, course and treatment of MS is vibrant and productive,” he said. “I am very happy to have seen the fruits of that research and happy to be practicing in a community where so much of that research is taking place.”

Then get involved in research! View the list of clinical trials that are currently recruiting subjects

Read more MS Connection articles



All active news articles