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A holistic approach to disease

In 2018, thanks to the generosity and unfailing support of its donors, the Belgian Charcot Foundation has been able to increase the amount of its support to multiple sclerosis research from € 200,000 to € 300,000. Seven research teams have been awarded funding for their fundamental research. Their research focuses not only on the immune system and its initial dysfunction, but also on the biomarkers which enable disease activity to be monitored and on the cells responsible for the destruction of the myelin sheath and its ability to regenerate.

Also, the second Charcot Fellowship (a doctoral grant) will be awarded to a young scientist wishing to perform research in the area of inflammatory disease as part of a doctorate. Our Foundation is keen to support not only teams of experienced researchers but also to give young scientists an opportunity to advance the state of knowledge by undertaking a 4-year research project.

We also intend to remain close to people currently suffering from the disease and struggling with it on a daily basis. Physical activities and sport can play an essential part in this, as described in a well-documented article by Dr Olivier Bouquiaux, who rightly emphasises the risks encountered by physical deconditioning and muscular atrophy resulting from under-use. Dr Bouquiaux demonstrates that it is essential that physical activity be maintained from the onset of MS, supplies specific information concerning the type of training to be undertaken depending on the level of disability, even when the patient is no longer able to walk without assistance. MS patients must be able to engage in maintaining their physical activity, which is also extremely important if comorbidities such as excess weight, type 2 diabetes and cardio-vascular complications are to be avoided.

Our Foundation therefore supports a holistic approach, from the most basic laboratory research to the most specific practical clinical applications. However, all of this needs to remain based on rigorous methodology and a scientific approach.

Prof. Christian Sindic