Comparing Australia and New Zealand MS Populations Project (COMPANZ)

COMPANZ aims to explore the long-term effects of MS medications, also called disease modifying therapies (DMTs) by comparing people with MS living in Australia and New Zealand, because access to MS treatment programs differs between countries. They will examine the links between MS medication use and other long-term health outcomes, including disability, employment, and socio-economic outcomes such as income, and educational opportunities.

Participants are invited to be involved in this new collaborative study being conducted by:

  • Dr Deborah Mason, a neurologist from Canterbury District Health Board New Zealand
  • Professor Bruce Taylor, a neurologist from the University of Tasmania, Australia
  • Dr Suzi Claflin, a post-doctoral research fellow from Menzies Institute for Medical Research, Australia

To Participate you:

  • Must have been involved with the 2006 MS Prevelance Study
  • Have indicated that you would like to be contacted for further studies

To find out if you are eligable to participate contact:

For further information see:

Introduction - Comparing Australia and NZ MS Populations Project

Participant Information - Comparing Australia and NZ MS Populations Project

Reviewing the experiences of MS resources

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have developed four short, animated films about multiple sclerosis.which provide easy-to-understand information about multiple sclerosis and can be accessed on YouTube at the following links; How does MS affect my brain?”, “How does MS affect my cognitive function?”, “What is cognitive reserve?” and “ How can I keep my brain healthy?”.

They are looking for people living with MS, people who work with them, and their relatives, friends and loved ones to complete short surveys on the films in order to learn from their experiences of the films and to inform the development of future resources for people with MS. The surveys can be accessed at the below links until Monday, July 17th:

How does MS affect my brain? Survey

How does MS affect my cognitive function? Survey

What is cognitive reserve? Survey

How can I keep my brain healthy? Survey

Thank you in advance - your participation will be invaluable in helping them to improve the resources they develop for people with MS!

Clinical Trial for Potential MS Treatment: clozapine and risperidone

Professor Anne La Flamme and Dr David Abernethy are conducting a clinical trial to examine the use of two medicines, clozapine and risperidone, for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). Clozapine and risperidone are currently used to treat mental illnesses but have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in the brain and therefore may also be useful for treating MS. At the dose used in patients with mental illnesses, clozapine and risperidone can have a range of side effects, but research performed in Prof La Flamme’s laboratory has shown that a lower dose may be suitable for treating MS.

This trial will assess the safety and acceptability of treatment with a low dose of clozapine or risperidone in patients with secondary progressive MS by comparing their use to people given a placebo (inactive medicine). The study will also look at whether these medicines can reduce the symptoms of MS, and how they might affect the immune system. This information will help determine if one or both of these medicines should be further developed as a treatment for MS. This would be particularly beneficial to people having secondary progressive MS since there are no alternative treatments currently available.

The study is being run in Wellington and is currently looking for participants who:

  •     Have secondary progressive multiple sclerosis
  •     Are aged 18 – 70 years
  •     Have an expanded disability status score of 3.5 to 6.0

Participating in the study will take 7 months with regular visits to Wellington Hospital for monitoring. Participants will be compensated for their time.

For more information download the Participant Information Sheet, which contains much more detail for those who are interested or contact one of the study investigators:

Prof Anne La Flamme
School of Biological Sciences
Victoria University of Wellington
and Malaghan Institute of Medical Research

Dr David Abernathy
Head of Neurology, Wellington Regional Hospital
Capital and Coast District Health Board

Liz Goode
Research Nurse
Wellington Regional Hospital
Capital and Coast District Health Board
(04) 806-0078 (office)