Dr. Jonathan Calkwood

Recent Articles

MS may cause Linda Gill to fall, but she always gets up

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

When doctors told her “around my birthday” in 2000 that she had multiple sclerosis (MS), Linda Gill asked a ton of questions. “’What is MS? Explain to me what is it?’ My kids thought I was going to die the next day,” recalls Gill. “I felt that way too when I first got it.”

After learning of her illness, “I think my hardest thing was how my friends and family would perceive me now,” continues Gill. Before she retired from her job, her unusual walking caused an unnecessary stir among coworkers: “I walked like I [was] drunk, and I [was] accused of [being drunk],” she recalls. Continue Reading →

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Early diagnosis critical for treating multiple sclerosis

The disease can be especially aggressive in Blacks 
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

A person living in the U.S. is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) every hour, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, affecting more than 400,000 people — over 2.1 million people worldwide. Medical studies have shown that MS is two to three times more common in women than in men and affects Blacks and Whites differently. “Multiple sclerosis is an auto-immune disease. It is when the immune system turns on the body and fights the body,” explains Dr. Jonathan Calkwood, director of the Schapiro Center for Multiple Sclerosis at the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology in Golden Valley.  “This is a very challenging disease to treat because it has lots of different symptoms that it can cause, but primarily it affects the brain, the optic nerve and the spinal cord,” which impact vision, speech, memory and other bodily functions,

Studies also show that MS can be very aggressive in Blacks — oftentimes because Blacks are more likely to be diagnosed later, and they often develop severe disabilities and experience more relapses as a result.

Calkwood adds that young Black males “have the greatest risk of multiple sclerosis — their MS often is more aggressive and may not respond to treatment. We don’t understand why African Americans can have a more aggressive course of the disease — it’s a mystery.”

MS can come in many forms, notes Calkwood. Continue Reading →

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