AT the lunchtime meeting on January 12 at the Red Lion Hotel in Henley, members received an enthralling
AT the lunchtime meeting on January 12 at the Red Lion Hotel in Henley, members received an enthralling and thought-provoking talk from Karen Walker, chief executive of the Multiple System Atrophy Trust.
This little publicised condition tends to affect men and women aged 50 to 60, although the earliest diagnosis was of a 37-year-old.
Currently about 3,000 people in the UK and Ireland suffer from it.
MSA can affect three different parts of the brain and may lead to loss of balance and co-ordination, difficulty in movement, clumsiness, difficulty with speech, bladder problems and dizziness.
Karen pointed out that many of the symptoms are also associated with other major conditions and indeed mirror many of those associated with Parkinson’s disease.
In fact, MSA can only be diagnosed clinically and depends on a neurologist recognising the combination of symptoms and signs.
At the moment there is no known cure for the disease and it can only be diagnosed with certainty after death.
Its name indicates the pernicious nature of the disease:
Multiple — cells are damaged in different parts of the brain.
System — it attacks brain structures that control different physical functions.
Atrophy — it results in brain cell shrinkage and loss.
Much early research was carried out by Dr Roger Bannister, the famed four-minute miler.
The Sarah Matheson Trust was established by Sarah Matheson in 1997, four years after she was diagnosed with the disease, before being renamed the Multiple System Atrophy Trust in 2010.
Sarah died in 1999 — the average life expectancy of sufferers is only seven to eight years after diagnosis.
After Karen had taken a number of questions, the vote of thanks was proposed by past president Roger Sayer.