AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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Unlocking the Mystery of Multiple Sclerosis With Tech

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Recruitment begins for a Keck School of Medicine of USC study of the first smartphone app to combine clinical data, MRI imaging and and genetic data for people with multiple sclerosis 

What if a single smartphone app could help solve the enigma of multiple sclerosis (MS) and move new treatments ahead at lightning speed? That was the bold idea that led Keck Medicine of USC neurologist Daniel Pelletier, MD, professor of neurology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and division chief of the Neuro-Immunology and USC Multiple Sclerosis Center, to develop myMS, the world’s first smartphone app capable of collecting large amounts of clinical, imaging and genetic data for people with MS. Enrollment is now underway for a pilot study of the app. The user-friendly app is a comprehensive platform for collecting data in different domains such as walking, cognition, vision, quality of life, demographics, MRI imaging and genetics. And because the app can be used on any smartphone, anywhere, it breaks down some of the geographic barriers encountered in traditional research. “We have so much to discover about MS, and our traditional methods of studying it are not going fast enough,” Pelletier says. “Each incremental finding is like one drop of water in the ocean. If we want to reach the point of individualized therapy for MS, we need a massive amount of data, which is what inspired me to think of a solution that was completely out of the box.”

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