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ECTRIMS 2023 | Menopause and MS: the need for targeted treatments

Rhonda Voskuhl, MD, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, discusses the under-addressed issue of menopausal women with multiple sclerosis (MS) experiencing worsening disabilities. Notably, the exacerbation is not due to new inflammation requiring escalated disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) but rather neurodegeneration that occurs without evident relapses or MRI inflammation. Current treatments are insufficient, especially since women represent the majority of MS patients. Data indicates that women undergoing natural or surgical menopause fare worse neurologically 10-15 years post-menopause, especially if it occurred earlier. Papers have underscored the neuroprotective role of estrogens and how their absence can lead to neurodegeneration. Dr Voskuhl highlights the urgency of moving beyond treating mere menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and addressing the more serious implications of lost neuroprotection. This interview took place at the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) Congress 2023 in Milan, Italy.

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I am an inventor on patents own by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) related to estriol treatment for neuroprotection licensed by CleopatraRX and for estrogen receptor beta ligand treatment for neuroprotection (unlicensed).