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Targeted Research

Sonya Slifka Longitudinal MS Study
Understanding the Impact of MS

The National MS Society takes the leading role in advocacy, research, and treatment for people living with MS. The Sonya Slifka Longitudinal MS Study will prove invaluable for all three areas of service.

Asking and answering questions
In the same way that the legendary Framingham Heart Study revolutionized the way we look at heart disease, this study tracks a large, diverse sample of people with MS, looking for patterns that will lead to better treatments and possibly even a cure. Initiated with a gift from Society friend, Richard Slifka, and named in honor of his mother, the study follows the same participants for years, seeking answers to questions regarding MS over time. How many persons living with MS actually get the treatments they need?

Are there patterns that indicate why some people respond to particular drug treatments when others do not? Using telephone interviews, over 2,000 people with MS answer questions every six months regarding the disease’s influence on their daily lives, the effectiveness and types of treatments they receive, and how they utilize health care. The study also collects information on participants’ economic status, quality of life, social and family issues, access to MS specialists, and more.



Promise: 2010 Update: Sonya Slifka Longitudinal MS Study Renewed
Winter/Spring 2007

First Publication from the Sonya Slifka Longitudinal MS Study
June 2004

First Stage Of Sonya Slifka Longitudinal MS Study Completed
August 2001

Who was
Sonya Slifka?


Once the data has been collated and identifying information removed, it is made available to the scientific community thereby expanding the usefulness of the study.

One important group the study tracks are people who have been recently diagnosed with MS. Information from this subset lets health professionals and researchers chart the course of the disease from the very beginning.

A benefit to every person affected by MS
This groundbreaking study is producing vital information about the disease’s impact on individuals and families. The Sonya Slifka Longitudinal MS Study gives advocacy groups the information they need to inform policy makers about long-term care, prescription drug coverage, and disability rights in order to reflect the best interests of people living with MS.

As the Framingham Study proved so successfully with heart disease, this type of inquiry can have far-reaching effects on research. Patterns gleaned from this study greatly benefit current research programs and at the same time suggest promising avenues for further research that could benefit millions worldwide.

The Sonya Slifka Longitudinal MS Study will improve treatments for persons currently suffering from the ravages of MS. Information from monitoring diverse people with MS helps investigators to understand which therapies are working best and may suggest promising routes to better treatments. This study promises to add significantly to what is known about MS and to improve the lives of all those living with this disease.

Acting now for a better future
Long term inquiries like this one produce tremendous advances in preventive medicine and treatment. The data this program generates advances research efforts across the board, providing answers to crucial questions that smaller studies cannot encompass. The foresight and support committed now will create the breakthroughs and successes on which people with MS depend.

Researchers need YOU!
Interested in joining the
Sonya Slifka Longitudinal MS Study?
Get more information on how to join (PDF)






Last updated November 16, 2007