ActiveMSers seeks out and reviews the better multiple sclerosis sites on the internet. If there is a website you would like to recommend or see reviewed, contact ActiveMSers at info@ActiveMSers.org. Sites below are broken down by topic and are recommended by ActiveMSers.
General MS Information
National Multiple Sclerosis Society (www.nmss.org) Easily one of the biggest and most complete websites devoted to multiple sclerosis. This is a site all active MSers should explore. NMSS has information for the newly diagnosed, treatment options, webcasts, details on current research, and links to local chapters. + Nice info on current trials (i.e., potentially free treatment), unbiased information a relief from the typical pharma websites, a complete resource valuable to all MSers and their families. - Info from NMSS so unbiased, specific advice hard to come by. Getting to the MSWorld message board (a partner of the NMSS) requires an onerous number of clicks; instead use the direct link to MSWorld, see below.
Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (www.mymsaa.org) Like the NMSS, the MSAA has lots of helpful information for those with this disease, including lots of events, a free cooling vest and accessory program, videos, and a magazine. + Their cooling equipment distribution and standard equipment distribution programs for those with financial issues is a godsend. - The website is in need of a freshening. But hey, it's a not-for-profit.
Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (www.msfocus.org) The MSF offers programming and support (including a toll-free helpline) to keep people with MS self-sufficient and their homes safe, while their educational programs heighten public awareness and promote understanding about the disease. Check out their info section on coping with multiple sclerosis. Better yet, their helpful (and free) booklets cover a ton of MS topics: pregnacy, CAM, nutrition, exercise, intimacy, cognition and more. + Their cooling equipment distribution program is super awesome for those with financial issues. - Their free magazine (get a subscription!) has solid content but the design is a bit dated
MS Forums/Message Boards
MSWorld (www.MSWorld.org) The official message board and chat center for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MSWord has the one of the more active MS forums on the web. The site is deceptively deep, offering an online MS magazine with stories from MSers, book reviews, weblinks and more. That said, MSWorld is best in its element of connecting MSers: its forum and chat room. + With dozens of forums and subforums, not to mention the extremely popular General MS Q&A section, the board is robust. Frequent chat sessions. A good site for newbies. - In their forums, links to other websites are restricted, meaning most posters have to post the link in their user profile, a hassle. Posts are always reviewed before they appear and might not show up for hours or ever. Sadly moderators are extremely inconsistent.
Patients Like Me (www.patientslikeme.com) The multiple sclerosis section of Patients Like Me has some 25,000 MS members. What makes this site unusual is that you can search for other MSers who share your symptoms, treatments, MS type, and a host of other filterable topics. The forum is modestly popular. + There is an excellent symptom tracker complete with graphs that can be combined with your meds. It's fun to compare yourself to others and to see other patient histories. The site requires registration, so it's relatively private. - The forum, while easily searchable, is a bit clunky to use. It's also heavily slanted to the female persuasion (80% of members). And since the site requires registration, it can be a hassle if you want to breeze by. If you fill out everything it can be revealing.
About.com's Julie Stachowiak, PhD's newsletter (www.ms.about.com) For news on multiple sclerosis in a competent and practical newsletter, I really enjoy the weekly one from epidemiologist Julie Stachowiak, author of the Multiple Sclerosis Manifesto. She was diagnosed in 2003 (although she has had the disease for much longer) and has lots of first-hand experiences. + Julie touches on a wide array of topics, from current breakthroughs to daily living with the disease. Her sign-off, "take of yourselves, my friends," is always comforting and friendly. - She does tend to recycle topics, but it's hard to find much fault here since a) it comes out 52 times a year and b) new folks are being diagnosed every day.
MS Activity Programs
Can Do Multiple Sclerosis (www.mscando.org) Founded by former Olympic skier Jimmie Heuga in 1984, Can Do MS teaches people with multiple sclerosis how to use exercise to help manage their life. Their lifestyle enrichment programs include education, nutrition, mental well-being, and exercise. + An informative e-newsletter is delivered on a regular basis and usually has at least one or two in-depth features as well as details on a variety of programs and events sponsored by the center. - Content lacks hands-on information and specific advice, although it is being added. Programs, five days, can be pricey but scholarships are available.