UKMSR has record presence at worlds largest conference for Multiple Sclerosis

Blogs, News
The UKMSR Team at ECTRIMS 2022
The UKMSR Team at ECTRIMS 2022

The UK Multiple Sclerosis Register (UKMSR) was pleased to have had seven abstracts and six presentations accepted based on UK MS Register Data at European Committee Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) 2022 in Amsterdam last month.

ECTRIMS is held once a year and is attended by over 7000 Academics, Researchers and Clinicians in the field of MS and aims to benefit people with Multiple Sclerosis by engaging professionals in the promotion and enhancement of research, learning and care.

Attendees are invited to submit brief overviews of their research early results at conferences like ECTRIMS, so they can get feedback from other scientists and showcase what they are working on. These are vetted by multiple reviewers before they are accepted to be displayed at a conference.

Here is a summary of the research that was accepted at the conference that used UKMSR data. Thanks to all our participants and NHS hospitals who have contributed to this important research.

Abstracts that were accepted to ECTRIMS

Dr Jeff Rodgers by his poster at ECTRIMS 2022
Dr Jeff Rodgers by his poster at ECTRIMS 2022

Dr Jeff Rodgers Senior Research Analyst, UKMSR looked at Antidepressants and disease progression –  ”We showed, by using UKMSR data to replicate some of the features of a clinical drug trial, that antidepressants not only worked in treating the symptoms of depression, but they also helped improve some of the physical symptoms of MS.  These results add evidence to the theory that depression is a symptom of MS and not a separate comorbidity, ie people with MS aren’t just depressed, their depression is a result of their MS. Our working hypothesis being that the depression and certain physical symptoms of MS are caused by an underlying process that is being treated by the antidepressant.”

Dr James Witts, Research Analyst, UKMSR – looked at diagnosis criteria for people on the UK MS Register and also using Welsh Hospital and GP data.

Associate Professor Rod Middleton, CI for the UKMSR, looked at whether wealth was the same as good health

Dr Richard Nicholas, UKMSR Clinical lead, looked at data across five different international registers and diagnosis and DMT prescribing.

Researchers from Imperial college London looked at:

  • The relationship between age, symptom onset and disability in MS
  • The impact of Covid19 on MS
  • Progression in the absence of relapse – whether relapses associated with worsening could be separated from long term disability progression

The Presentations

Sarah Knowles presenting to a room with 3000 capacity on Late onset MS
Sarah Knowles presenting to a room with 3000 capacity on Late onset MS

ECTRIMS was the first conference for our Research Analyst, Sarah Knowles our newest member of the team.  She was invited to present to a crowd of 3000 on her work on late onset MS. Her work found disease onset later in life tend to be more disabled at diagnosis with more motor symptoms and a more progressive disease course and that these effects are more pronounced the older you are when initial symptoms begin. The research suggests that it may therefore be useful to trial alternative treatment options in older populations, a group that is often forgotten about.

  • Colleagues from Imperial College London, with whom we collaborate closely presented on  The different ways MS can progress over time (using MS Register data) and how important online registers are for tracking disease long term.
  • ‘Cognitron’ cognitive tests hosted on the UKMSR have enabled researchers to find a specific MS fingerprint in the results compared with the general pop. This could help with early diagnosis.
  • MS subtyping using ML and how to leverage MRI data-driven models by correlating them to immunology biomarkers of MS.

Many of you may remember last year answering questions about fatigue. We hosted a long questionnaire with colleagues from Kings College London. Federica Picariello presented on the underlying factors that affect fatigue and MS using responses from the UK MS Register data

Finally using data from a number of Registries across the world Lars Fosberg from Karolinska Institute, Stockholm presented on findings that that small short-term improvements in levels of disability had large positive impacts on people’s quality of life (psychological MSIS-29) further down the line.


The UKMSR also had a stand at the conference which allowed them to showcase the work they are doing and make new meaningful collaborations.



Associate Professor Rod Middleton, CI of the UKMSR said “It is very exciting to see the extent that the UKMSR has grown in reputation over the last 12 years and its thrilling to see the impact our data has across all areas of MS”

Thanks again to all our participants and NHS Hospitals who have contributed to our growing bank of data that is enabling researchers to study such a wide variety of factors associated with MS.