What sort of facts and figures have you been getting from your research?
So one interesting area that we’ve been looking at is men and women cope with their MS using different coping techniques. Men use humour and they use a little bit of denial, but not much, women are rather good at seeking information and trying to positively reframe things. We’ve also picked up that older people use different techniques than younger people, older people might be willing to use religion as a way to cope with the difficulties of their MS. That’s of not just academic interest, it’s of practical interest, because I’ll tell you, my main job is I’m a jobbing neurologist, I’m a clinician first and foremost. I have to discuss with commissioners and discuss with my colleagues that we need to recognise that different people use different coping techniques and therefore, when we’re trying to work out ways to help them cope, we need to find out from them what techniques work for them and use the things that are powerful for them and not waste their time with things that are not suitable for them. Now, that looks pretty an obvious statement, but anybody who’s lived with MS or who cares for people with MS knows that sometimes you almost feel that if you’re not willing to accept what’s offered, that’s it, you know. There it is, have it, if you don’t have it, well, you declined. It’s not a matter of you declined, you looked at it and you thought, this doesn’t work for me.
Yeah, it’s definitely not a one size fits all sort of illness.
No. And we need to have the proof of that and we also need to understand what different things would work for people and adapt our programmes accordingly.