Roundtable on Neuromyelitis Optica

April 4, 2015 James D. Bowen, M.D.

The neurologists from the MS Center recently attended the Guthy Jackson Charitable Foundation roundtable on neuromyelitis optica (NMO) in Los Angeles. This organization is devoted to improving the care of patients with NMO and promoting research towards finding a cure.

NMOConference_Repovic_Qian_Bowen_TraboulseePictured left: Neurologists from the MS Center at Swedish, Pavle Repovic, MD, PhD, Peiqing Qian, MD, and James Bowen, MD met with Tony Traboulsee, MD, head of the University of British Columbia Hospital MS and NMO programs.

NMO often mimics MS, but has characteristic changes on MRI that allow it to be identified. A blood test is available to help with the diagnosis. It is important to recognize the disease because the treatment differs from MS treatments.

Because it is such a rare disease, there are very few physicians specializing in treating NMO. We were fortunate that all three of our neurologists were recognized and invited to the meeting. Our research was presented on hematopoietic stem cell transplants (bone marrow transplants) for those with very aggressive cases of NMO. We also participated on a subcommittee responsible for planning clinical research in NMO. A conference for patients with NMO was held immediately after the research meeting during which Dr. Repovic participated as a clinical expert.<

The MS Center at Swedish offers outstanding care to patients with NMO. We participate in two clinical studies of treatments for the disease. In addition to our many rehabilitation and wellness programs for these types of patients, we also host one of the few support groups for NMO in the US.

For information on the NMO support group, please email

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