Multiple sclerosis neurologist marks retirement with symposium

Dr SImon Hammond.

Dr SImon Hammond.

AN Orange neurologist and one of the country’s top multiple sclerosis epidemiologists will mark his retirement on Friday with a symposium dedicated to MS.

Dr Simon Hammond, founding neurologist of Orange-based Central West Neurology and Neurosurgery, is retiring later this month after 28 years’ practice.

Dr Hammond said experts needed to understand more about the disease to help people diagnosed to live a mostly normal life span.

“We need to keep working to better understand the causes of MS and why the condition is becoming increasingly more frequent,” he said.

“Throughout my career, this unpredictable condition has continued to baffle even the brightest of minds working to help those diagnosed with their best management options.”

Dr Hammond said treatment had come a long way during his career, with more than 10 medications supported by the PBS. 

“Still, there is much work to do and important areas such as developing biomarkers of disease activity including advanced MRI techniques and permanently inducing immune tolerance to the central nervous System are being discussed at this conference,” he said. 

“At present, treatment with most drugs is thought to be needed lifelong and the disease often starts in young adults, particularly in young women.”

Fellow neurologist, colleague and MS researcher from the University of Sydney, Professor Simon Hawke, will bring together the nation’s foremost MS experts to discuss the issues affecting the MS population in Australia.

The symposium will boast some of the country’s best minds currently working to diagnose and treat MS and improve outcomes for patients.

Speakers include neurologist professors James McLeod, John Pollard, Con Yiannikas, and Georges Grau, associate professors Suzanne Hodgkinson, Michael Barnett and Scott Byrne.

MS researchers Justin Garber, Mahtab Ghadhiri, Karen Ribbons and Felix Marsh-Wakefield will also be talking about their work. 

The symposium will be held at The Greenhouse of Orange from 9am-5pm.

A valedictory dinner will be held in honour of Dr Hammond at 7pm.