“It is wonderful to watch the progress of a project, which the Diamond family and their Foundations have supported for many years.

Since 2008, research into Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO)  has been conducted, with our support, by the UBC/VGH Hospital Foundation through the work of Dr. A Traboulsee and his team.

Recently the NMO Clinic has played an important role as a participant site in the clinical trial of a new and promising treatment, with a large pharmaceutical company. With national and international colleagues, they are making strides in MRI imaging for Multiple Sclerosis, are developing a Canada-wide database for NMO and related disorders, and working to speed prompt diagnosis and treatment of the NMDA disorder- perhaps familiar from the book “Brain on Fire”. Through ” Patient Day”, improved patient educational outreach services continue to be offered, too.

It is very gratifying to see the outstanding progress being made in British Columbia in NMO. We are proud to have played a role in making this vision a reality.”

~ Rick’s Heart Foundation

What is NMO?

Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a central nervous system disorder that primarily affects the eye nerves (optic neuritis) and the spinal cord (myelitis). NMO is also known as neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder or Devic’s disease. It occurs when your body’s immune system reacts against its own cells in the central nervous system, mainly in the optic nerves and spinal cord, but sometimes in the brain.

The cause of neuromyelitis optica is usually unknown, although it may sometimes appear after an infection, or it may be associated with another autoimmune condition. Neuromyelitis optica is often misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis (MS) or perceived as a type of MS, but NMO is a distinct condition.

Neuromyelitis optica may cause blindness in one or both eyes, weakness or paralysis in the legs or arms, painful spasms, loss of sensation, uncontrollable vomiting and hiccups, and bladder or bowel dysfunction from spinal cord damage. Children may experience confusion, seizures or coma with NMO. Neuromyelitis optica flare-ups may be reversible, but can be severe enough to cause permanent visual loss and problems with walking.

Mayo Clinic Staff (2017, Dec 15). Overview [Web log post]. Retrieved Nov 4, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/neuromyelitis-optica/symptoms-causes/syc-20375652

For more on this story visit NMO Centre For Brain Health