Kirsty interviews Dr Klaus Schmeirer, fresh off the victory of a debate surrounding wheelchair users and clinical trials. Klaus believes that if you’re in a wheelchair you should be able to take part in clinical trials.
Kirsty: Okay, I’m here with Klaus Schmierer, I’m going to ask you some questions about ECTRIMS so far. What have you thought about what’s been going on at the moment?
Dr Klaus Schmeirer, Neurologist: Yeah, it’s a big event as always and still growing. I hear this is the highest number of attendants this year. It’s been interesting. I have just come out of a debate that I had with Patricia Coyle, she’s a professor of neurology at Stony Brook in Long Island, and we debated whether people with MS who are in a wheelchair should be included in clinical trials. And I was in favour of the motion and I put four arguments forward: one based on pathology; prior experience of trials; and then peers, so colleagues who are increasingly open to include patients who are as you would say, quite advanced in their disease, to include them nevertheless in trials; and finally, patients because we did a patient survey through our blog and we found that 95% of people with MS think that patients who are in, or people who are in a wheelchair should be included in clinical trials.
Kirsty: So who won the debate?
Dr Klaus Schmeirer: I did. [laughs]
Kirsty: Well done.
Dr Klaus Schmeirer: There was a little Twitter storm – a small one – it was a storm in a teacup, it was all through social media of course, and yes, I won, I think by two-thirds, which was slightly disappointing, I thought maybe I’d win by a larger margin, but still good enough.
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