New program improving quality of life for MS patients

There are nearly 400 thousand people living with multiple sclerosis in the U.S.  Although modern medicine is making big strides when it comes to treatment, there are things patients can do themselves to help improve their condition.

Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor of, recently sat down with Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project” to talk about her role in spreading awareness about MS.

Rubin teamed up with Biogen Idec and the MS Blueprint Program, designed to encourage people impacted by multiple sclerosis to set personal goals and create activity plans, called MS Blueprints, filled with fun activities to help them attain a more positive life.

Her extensive research on happiness inspired her to study its effect on health and an improved prognosis for MS.

“My book ‘The Happiness Project’ - it turned out really resonated with the members of the MS community and other people living with chronic conditions,” she said. “Biogen and the MS advocacy groups became aware of this, that my approach to happiness which is really focused on concrete, manageable things that you do in your everyday life that doesn't take up a lot of time, energy and money.” has step-by-step instructions for creating personalized MS Blueprints, frequently asked questions about living with MS, and a blog from Rubin on how to incorporate happiness into your daily routine.

“We’re all different, we all have different things that we enjoy doing, different levels of activities that we're comfortable with,” she said. “So with this MS Blueprint each person can pick and choose the activities that are really going to make their life happier if they make it part of their everyday life.”

Some of the activities Rubin suggests for MS patients include joining a book club, getting a massage, or going for a nightly walk. She said too often, when people are dealing with making doctor’s appointments and keeping up with their medication schedule, they don't take time for themselves.

“It's so quick so easy and yet it can give you that boost in everyday life that can make everything easier and more fun and when your life reflects that kind of thing then you're going to feel better,” she said.

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