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May 2008 Off the Wire . . .




Bayer Schering Pharma Starts Global Awareness Campaign - Mastering MS

Main Category: Multiple Sclerosis
Article Date: 17 May 2008 - 0:00 PDT
The results of an international survey presented by Bayer Schering Pharma shows that many people face the same fears and concerns when they are first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). In the survey, 71 percent of people with MS had at least one concern about how the disease would affect their relationships; 64 percent said being diagnosed had a negative impact on their career. To address these concerns, Bayer Schering Pharma launched Mastering MS today. This global public awareness program provides insight into the lives of people with MS, offering tools and expert advice that can help anyone facing a chronic disease lead a physically and emotionally fulfilling life.

Mastering MS highlights inspirational stories of people who have mastered living with MS whether as a spouse, parent, child, friend or co-worker, like 36-year old Dane Betina.

Betina was studying to be an auxiliary nurse when she began having difficulty seeing. For more than a month, she could only make out silhouettes. Like most people with MS, Betina feared how the disease would change her life, and worried that the people around her would no longer see her as a vibrant, active young woman.

Seven years later, Betina has refused to give up. "I want people to see me as Betina, not as a disease. A lot of people have diseases but they manage to do things anyway. I have proven to others, and most of all myself that I can manage my MS, have a full-time job and spend time with my family and friends," said Betina, whose sight was completely restored after starting treatment. " Even though I have a disease that can't be cured, it doesn't hold me back now. Looking back, I would not change anything. It has been rough - a lot of hard work, sweat and tears - but it has been worth it."

The program also features expert advice from Denise Knowles, a certified relationship counselor from the United Kingdom, as well as Michele Wahlder, a career coach and licensed psychotherapist, on how to keep personal and work relationships strong while coping with a chronic disease.

"It's not uncommon for people first diagnosed with MS to experience feelings of confusion and uncertainty," said Denise Knowles. "Like Betina, people with MS may worry that others will treat them differently, that they'll lose their job, or simply that they'll no longer be able to hold their children or grandchildren. These concerns are perfectly normal. With some creative approaches, relationships with family, friends and co-workers can continue to be a great source of comfort and joy for a person coping with MS. This might include planning in advance for social activities, seeking outside support to help a spouse or children cope with the diagnosis, or asking for accommodations like shift changes or different software on the job to make working easier."

"For people living with MS, the good news is that research shows starting treatment with interferon beta early may delay the development of disability. Along with an effective treatment, it is equally important to help patients find ways to cope psychologically with the disease," said Dr. Karl Baum, Chief of Neurology, Hennigsdorf Clinic, Hennigsdorf, Germany. "That is why I welcome programs such as Mastering MS for my patients. Mastering MS helps people understand how MS affects their physical and emotional lives, and provides them with the resources needed to give them a sense of hope about the future."

About the survey

The international survey of 650 people diagnosed with MS from 12 countries worldwide showed the following results:

• Eight in 10 people surveyed have felt anxious, confused or overwhelmed at the time of diagnosis, and one in three report that they have not stopped feeling this way

• The biggest concerns at the time of diagnosis were fear of being disabled later in life (65 percent) and the fear of being a burden on others (61 percent)

• Nearly 60 percent of respondents said their biggest concern about their career was the ability to perform on the job as they did prior to their diagnosis

• More than 80 percent of respondents have made changes to their social life as a result of their MS

• The strongest concern among those who were married or dating was that their partner would become a caregiver (45 percent) or have to take over their responsibilities (42 percent)

• However, more than half of respondents said their partner and 40 percent said their friends were their biggest source of emotional support

About Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

More than 2.5 million people around the world have MS, a disease that affects the body's central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, optic nerves). The symptoms of MS vary from person to person and can be unpredictable. Common symptoms include fatigue, blurred vision, weakness of one or more limb, numbness and tingling, stiffness, dizziness, slurred speech and loss of bladder control.

In most cases, MS progresses over time, but early diagnosis and treatment may help slow disease progression and manage symptoms. With early detection and treatment, people with MS can continue to lead active lifestyles for longer periods of time.

Multiple Sclerosis Communities worldwide - the MS-Gateway Community-network

Commitment to MS

Bayer Schering Pharma AG is committed to research and development in the MS field, not only having launched the first disease modifying MS drug, Betaferon, in 1993, but by currently pursuing new treatment approaches to prevent the progression of the disease. Betaferon was recently granted an extension of its indication in Europe, the United States, Australia and Canada for the treatment of patients with a first clinical event suggestive of MS.

The Bayer Group is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer HealthCare, a subsidiary of Bayer AG, is one of the world's leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry and is based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Diabetes Care and Pharmaceuticals divisions. The pharmaceuticals business operates under the name Bayer Schering Pharma AG. Bayer HealthCare's aim is to discover and manufacture products that will improve human and animal health worldwide. Find more information at

Bayer Schering Pharma is a worldwide leading specialty pharmaceutical company. Its research and business activities are focused on the following areas: Diagnostic Imaging, General Medicine, Specialty Medicine and Women's Healthcare. With innovative products, Bayer Schering Pharma aims for leading positions in specialized markets worldwide. Using new ideas, Bayer Schering Pharma aims to make a contribution to medical progress and strives to improve the quality of life. Find more information at

Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer's public reports which are available on the Bayer website at The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

The full story can be found in BayNews.

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