December 2005 and January & February 2006

Scientists Create Nerve Stem Cell

The first nerve stem cells to be made from human stem cells have been created at the University of Edinburgh.

It is hoped the cells will eventually help scientists to grow replacement brain tissue for people with neurological diseases. Before that they should help researchers test the effectiveness of new drugs.

Professor Austin Smith who led the research at the University said “We’re already talking with the bio-technology and bio-pharmaceutical companies about these taking these cells into screening systems for new drugs. Hopefully that will come to pass within two to three years.

In terms of the possibility of using the cells for transplantation, that’s a much more difficult and longer term thing and I think there we’re talking more of the five to ten year range. “

New Essentials

There are three new MS Essentials booklets here at the Centre. Latest Essentials are:

No. 10 Mood, Depression and Emotions
No. 11 Diet & Nutrition
No. 12 Sex, Intimacy & Relationships

For copies, pop in or give us a call on
01224 692777

Announcement From The Medical Research Team at A.R.I. Foresterhill

Many of you will be aware that MS might be caused by an unusual response to an infectious agent, perhaps a virus. What you may not know is that increasing numbers of doctors and scientists working on MS are coming to the view that the virus involved is one called Epstein-Barr virus, which may cause glandular fever. It is a common virus infecting most people. It turns out that nearly all people with MS have had the virus. Some of you have been helpful enough to have given some blood samples to the Medical School in Aberdeen looking into this virus.

We are delighted to announce that the Medical Research Council has just funded us to study the virus in every patient in Grampian and we will be trying to write to you all in the next month or two.

Dr. Mark Vickers, who is involved with this research, will be coming to the Stuart Resource Centre on the evening of Monday 12th December at 7.00 p.m. to talk about this major project.

Please keep that evening free in order to find out more about this important project. Seating is limited to 70 places so booking is essential. Tel. 692777

Go-Ahead Given fir Prescribing SATIVEX for P.W.M.S.

As of 15th November 2005, GP’s in the UK can prescribe the cannabis based drug Sativex on a “named patient” basis for people with MS. This means that the GP takes the decision to prescribe it based on your individual circumstances. The drug will need to be imported from Canada which may result in a wait of several weeks. This may also apply to repeat prescriptions.

For further information have a look at the MS Society website:

MS Working Group

The Grampian Wide Partnership gave their support to the MS Working Group to look at the services that are provided by Health, Social Work and Charities in the area.

The working group have nearly completed their task and have met nearly 100 people with MS and carers in 4 localities—Aberdeen, Fraserburgh, Inverurie and Elgin.
The working group would like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation workshops.

The feedback from the 11 groups now needs to be summarised. When this has been completed, a copy of the summary will be posted out to everyone who took part in the workshops. Some people were unable to attend the workshops but participated by sending their views. They too will be sent a copy of the summary.

It is anticipated that the conclusions and recommendations will be ready in the early part of 2006.

Ballater & Royal Deeside MS Support Group

An MS Support Group has now been successfully running, at the Stuart Resource Centre in Aberdeen for three years.

Following Reno Zinopoulos’ move to Ballater almost three years ago, a need for support was identified in the area of Ballater, Aberdeenshire. The inaugural meeting, which was led by Reno Zinopoulos, was held on Tuesday 20 September 2005.

One of the ways that people with MS find support and knowledge is by meeting with others in similar situations to themselves. It is felt that the establishment of this Group will hopefully facilitate this and that friendships will also develop from the Group, as they did from the Group which still meets in Aberdeen.

It is the intention that meetings will be held in the afternoon of the third Tuesday of every month.

If you are interested in joining the Group, please contact the Stuart Resource Centre, where staff will be happy to provide you with details of forthcoming meetings.

What is the DPHS?

The Disabled Persons Housing Service Aberdeen is a new local charity offering housing advice and information to disabled people, their families and carers. Our main aim is to assist disabled people who are looking for suitable housing in Aberdeen City either in the social rented sector e.g. council or housing association, or in the private sector through private landlords, estate agents and local developers.

We aim to work closely with all local landlords and to hold details on our database of all their current and planned adapted, barrier free and wheelchair accessible properties. This will enable us to ‘match’ our clients with the most suitable properties when they become available either to rent or to buy.

We will liaise with Homechoice, the common housing register in Aberdeen and, with the clients permission, we will discuss an application with them to see if we can provide any further support.

Funding to date has come from Aberdeeen City Council, Communities Scotland, Castlehill Housing Association and The Lintel Trust.

We are currently still setting up the service and developing our computer databases but we are happy to deal with any enquiries and already have a considerable client list.

Based at 43 Raeden Court the DPHS Aberdeen is managed by a committee of local people the majority of whom are disabled. We are a user led organisation and the views and exeriences of disabled people are important to us. We want to give people with disabilities the chance to consider the housing options that are right for them at their own pace and choice. If you’d like to get involved please give us a call.

Contact details – phone/fax 01224 810222. Email:


For people living in the Aberdeenshire area there is also a DPHS Aberdeenshire working out of Peterhead. Tel. 01779 490908.

Although each is funded differently a number
of DPHS charities are in the process of being set up around the country.

Banish the Winter Blues

How often have you said over the past few weeks “Aye, the nights are fair drawin’ in”. It is common for us to feel fusionless and wabbit at this time of year. When we were cavemen this saved us going out at night and risking being eaten by the odd sabre toothed tiger who may have been hanging around the front door! Our inclination is to curl up by the fire and hibernate, after all bears, squirrels, hedgehogs and even tortoises hibernate, they may have the right idea! What I would like to do in the following article is give you a few hints on how you can preserve your health and sanity over the winter months. As ever I take a holistic view of things looking at physical, psychological and social welfare. It is useful to think of the advice in the form of the mnemonic WINTER

W – is for Warmth.
When you have MS your temperature regulation and control can be very poor – cold hands and feet are common. It is important therefore that you keep warm and avoid any swings in temperature. Think about what you are wearing, new fabrics and polyesters developed from climbing and mountaineering are very lightweight but very warm. They also have the advantage that you tend not to sweat or they will wick moisture away from the body keeping you comfortable and warm at the same time. You might even want to ask Santa for some – he may even bring you silk!

I – is for Illumination.
As the nights draw in you may feel your mood drop, may feel increasingly tired, desire to binge on chocolate or other carbohydrates. The idea of hibernation may seem very appealing. This is due to the fact that the human in common with all other animals is very sensitive to day lengths. Living in northern climes the difference between summer and winter are more marked. We require daylight to stimulate our brains and produce a chemical known as seretonin. This is the chemical which is reduced in the brains of people with depression. It is important therefore that we maintain good illumination in our homes and work areas. People with true seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may wish to purchase special lighting. There are a number of companies who now sell daylight bulbs and daylight fluorescent tubes as well as light boxes.

N – is for Nutrition.
Again the temptation is to stuff ourselves with carbohydrates getting ready to hibernate. For a healthy winter we must try and avoid these temptations. Stick to a balanced diet, 5 fruit or veg per day. You may wish to supplement your diet with vitamins, there is some evidence to show that high dose vitamin C along with Zinc helps prevent colds and flus. There are other remedies such as Echinacea, which are also put forward as remedies to prevent winter health problems. Christmas and New Year tend to be the time of over indulgence in food, chocolate and alcohol. Try and avoid this, over indulgence leaves you feeling bloated and sluggish and the pounds that you put on in the winter months are all the more difficult to get off.

T – is for Try Something New.
Think about taking up a long neglected hobby. Try a new hobby. Think about crafts or games. Intellectual stimulation that these offer with keep your mind active throughout the long winter months.

E – is for Exercise.
Do what you are able to do, remain active through the winter months, maybe swimming, maybe bowling, maybe gentle exercise classes. Any form of exercise releases “happy chemicals” such as endorphins and seretonin into the body and exercise in itself makes you feel fitter and healthier in both body and mind.

R – is for Relatives.
We all have them. Christmas can be a time for great happiness with relatives but also too many Christmas dinners are spoilt by conflict. Try and avoid conflict. Try and resolve any difficult issues with your relatives before Christmas rather than over the Christmas table when it may be clouded by one or two glasses of wine.

Dr. Ken Lawton G.P.


Do you have problems with your bladder or bowel? A continence clinic is held in the Stuart Resource Centre on the first Friday afternoon of each month. The Clinic is held when the resource centre has no other classes or sessions on and is a totally confidential service where you will be able to discuss your problems and queries with a National Health Service Grampian Continence Nurse. First appointments last for approximately an hour and follow ups last thirty minutes. Don’t suffer in silence and don’t let embarrassment make you miserable. If you are experiencing any problem please make an appointment with the Stuart Resource Centre. Tel. 01224 692777 and seek the professional help that you deserve.

Telephone Help with Benefits

For information or help with benefits contact the Benefits Enquiry Line for people with disabilities and their carers – A real live person on the other end who can quide you through what benefits you may be entitled to.
Tel. 0800 882200l or look at the website

Important Contact Numbers Over The Yule Period For People In The Aberdeen Area


G-DOCS & NHS 24 Tel 08454 242424l
HOSPITAL Tel 01224 681818
HOUSING (Tenant Helpline) Tel 01224 523000
HOUSING (Homelessness) Tel. 01224 693350
POLICE GRAMPIAN AREA (including DOMESTIC VIOLENCE UNIT (Child & Family enquiry): Tel. 0845 600 5700
SOCIAL WORK (Out of Hours Service) Tel 01224 693936
SAMARITANS Tel. 0845 790 9090 (Local Branch) Tel 01224 574488

‘Tis The Season of Goodwill To raise some charity cash why not buy from us?

For stocking fillers:
WRISTBANDS –Collectors items of the future. £1.99 ea.
MUPPET BADGES – The kids love them. £1.00 ea.
SHINING STAR BADGES – Fun & raise awareness. £1.00 ea.
POCKET DIARIES – Neat and nifty. £3.00 ea.

For your tree:
CHRISTMAS STARS – In gold, silver or bronze. £1.00 ea.
HAPPY SNOWFLAKES –In yellow or red. £2.00 ea.

To send to friends:
CHRISTMAS CARDS – Choose from a large selection. Various prices.
SMALL GIFTS – A range of ornaments, knick-knacks, perfumes & jewellery from our shop. Various prices.

N.B. There will be no “disabled shoppers” evening at the Bon-Accord Centre this year.

Mile of Copper

We’ve still some distance to travel but due to your efforts we’ve raised £1854.84.
Why not get the kids involved? At the end of each week or month just turn out your pockets and get them to put the copper into a bag or tube. If everyone helps we’ll get there soon.