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Telechat September 19: Multiple Sclerosis

Sunday, July 18, 5-6pm PST, 8-9pm EST join us for our next informative Imagery International Telechat.

RSVP that you will attend. Imagery International members can log into the members section and send an email. Members can also invite their friends.

Value of Relaxation & Guided Imagery to Improve Quality of Life with Multiple Sclerosis
with Miriam Franco, PsyD and Guided Imagery Specialist

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects approximately 400,000 Americans and millions world wide. It is an autoimmune disorder whose cause is unknown

Miriam Franco, PsyD

and has no cure.

There are 4 types of MS identified yet the majority of individuals affected are diagnosed initially with Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS) which is characterized by flare ups with heightened muscle weakness, fatigue and spasticity. Rates of anxiety and depression are 3 times higher with MS than in the general American population. With Relapsing Remitting MS, women outnumber men 3 to 1. Due to advances in MRI technology, individuals with MS can now be diagnosed in their late teens. The majority of those with MS live with this condition from young adulthood on. With time, secondary progression of the disease can lead to physical immobility, incontinence, and increased assistance with activities of daily living. 50% suffer from cognitive impairments.

Juliet Rohde_Bown hosts

Current medical interventions for MS center on disease modifying therapies administered by injection that if started early can delay course of disability by 15 to 20 years. Botox has been approved recently to relieve upper limb spasticity and is administered by injection also. Botox is undergoing clinical trials to gain approval to reduce bladder spasticity and urgency that will be administered by injections as well. Once disease modifying therapies become effective, some receive high risk drugs by means of infusion therapy. Newer pharmacologic interventions (chemotherapy drugs) are pending FDA approval. They will be administered orally and will eliminate injection anxiety and site reactions but are expected to evoke anxiety given their potential toxicity. Across all interventions, medication adherence is a significant problem in MS. Further, the cost of MS to individuals and their families is great as many with MS find it difficult to work with advancing symptoms and economic hardship is common. The unpredictable, uncertain course of the disease makes it very difficult for people to cope, plan and problem solve. To cope well with MS one must learn to cope with fluctuating adaptations, constant interruptions in planning and scheduling and constant adjustments regarding one’s body and sense of self.


Dr. Miriam Franco is a psychologist, certified guided imagery practitioner (BON) and MS specialist. Dr. Franco is on the Health Care Advisory Council of the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America and writes an online column as the Philadelphia MS Examiner. She has been a keynote speaker at the Consortium of MS Centers Conferences in the last 4 years on Quality of Life issues and MS and specific use of RGI to improve adherence to MS injections and other interventions. She has designed specific Relaxation and Guided Imagery interventions to reduce anxiety, injection anxiety, MRI related anxiety, depression, muscle strain, spasticity, fatigue, pain and relieving caregiver stress. Dr. Franco will share ways in which RGI can provide wonderful opportunities for those with MS to learn safe, effective ways to increase self-advocacy, self-empowerment and improved self efficacy in managing the symptoms, treatments and challenges of MS.

We attempt to record our telechats as a podcast (mp3) which will be available in future in the member’s section.

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