ActiveMSers seeks out and reviews the best multiple sclerosis websites on the internet. It would be easy to boast that we have the best MS newsletter, the best MS forum, the best MS Twitter feed, the best MS blog, and the best overall website. But we would be dead wrong (mostly)--there are lots of helpful sites on the internet for our disease and our feeling is the more tools in the toolbox, the better. As long as they are great tools! If there is a website/blog/etc. you would like to recommend or see reviewed, contact ActiveMSers at info@ActiveMSers.org. I'm pretty picky. Sites below are broken down by topic and are recommended by ActiveMSers.
Best Overall Kick-Ass MS Website
ActiveMSers (www.ActiveMSers.org) Sure, I'm totally biased. What did you expect? But honestly, ActiveMSers features more information about staying active with this disease than arguably any other MS site. And having started March 2, 2006, to my knowledge it's the longest running MS blog on the web. It's loaded with hope, practical tips, essential advice, and it's funny as shit. Oh yeah, and there's cursing—try that MS Society! + Funny, chock-full of MS tricks, great newsletter, a forum with awesome members, clever blog, insightful product reviews, robust social media presence, cursing allowed. - The site could be updated more regularly, and what's up with newsletter not being more frequent. It's almost as if the entire site is run by one dude. Oh, it is.
Best Sites for 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. Local chapters are ideal for finding MS resources in your area if you live in the US. + 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. - The NMSS has raised the hackles of others in the MS community for a variety of petty and legitimate reasons. When you are big, you are bound to attract feedback from all sides.
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, mobile apps, videos, calendar of events, a magazine, toll-free hotline, and so much more I can't list it all. Bookmark this site! + Their cooling equipment distribution and standard equipment distribution programs for those with financial issues is a godsend. - Their magazine, The Motivator, is only published twice a year. Yes, I want more!
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
Best MS Communities, Forums and Message Boards
Shift.ms (http://shift.ms/) This UK-based community and website launched about the same time as ActiveMSers (by George Pepper, a younger, more handsome clone of Dave) and we share amazingly similar attitudes when it comes to MS. Their empowering motto: "MS doesn't mean giving up on your ambitions, just rethinking how to achieve them." + Their website spans much further than their "speakeasy" forum, and is a brilliant way to connect with fellow MSers both in the UK and around the world. Shift.ms movies are professional and moving in ways that I can only daydream of. - It's so hip and cool, I feel a little geezerly among all those youngins.
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 woefully inconsistent. There are so many subforums, getting lost (or losing interest) is too common.
Patients Like Me (www.patientslikeme.com) The multiple sclerosis section of Patients Like Me has some 35,000 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.
Best MS Newsletters
Rocky Mountain MS Center (www.mscenter.org) This center, headed by Dr. Timothy Volmer, a renowned MS expert, puts out easily one of the most informative and educational newsletters about our disease. Sign up to get their quarterly publication (free, print or e-mail) and I guarantee you'll learn a thing or two. Their videos and other resource articles are always bang-on. + Their attitude about exercise and listening to science is what I've been preaching for years. - I fear they still don't have the foggiest clue who I am despite our similar goals.
Multiple Sclerosis News Today (www.multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com) For news on multiple sclerosis in a competent and practical newsletter, I really enjoy the weekly one from MS News Today. I personally know the folks behind this effort, and it is spot on with the latest MS news. + Stories are presented in enough detail in the newsletter so you can make the decision to read or not to read (no egregious click-bait) and few items slip by on their watch. - These puppies clog up my inbox like nobody's business. I have to read them.
MS Views and News (http://www.msviewsandnews.org) Stuart Schlossman started this website in 2008 and has grown it into an information powerhouse with up-to-date multiple sclerosis news and, well, views. Everything MS related is on the table here, from technical research studies to thoughts on CAM. He also does seminars, podcasts, radio, you name it. Presumably he is also one man. + If you subscribe to his twice-monthly newsletter, nothing about MS will get past you. - His newsletter teasers give you just enough info to get interested, but you are forced to click to get the scoop.
This UK-based blog is written by Gavin Giavanonni, the lead researcher and MS specialist at the Neuroimmunology Group at Barts and The London. He's got some sidekick researchers who regularly chime in as well, all of whom effortless dissect into English the latest cutting edge research on our fickle disease. + Their honesty and straightforward approach is refreshing in a world of exaggeration. When other researchers discover a "cure" in mice, they break it down and make sense of it all (and sometimes break it apart). - I had to make a separate folder on my e-mail account because I can't bear to delete one blog post as they are so dang interesting.
MultipleSclerosis.net (www.multiplesclerosis.net) If only there was a blogging site that collected all the brightest, cleverest, sexiest MS bloggers and put them all together, posting new, all-original blogs every single day. Oh, if only. Oh wait, there is. This one. + The number of talented MS bloggers on the site is overwhelming. And the posts are daily. And the writing is inspired. The more you read, the more you want to read, and the writers start to become your friends before you know it. - I recently joined the Health Union team after years of cajoling. Or at least that's what I tell myself. So you might unexpectedly stumble on something I've written. Oh the horrors!
Wheelchair Kamikaze (www.wheelchairkamikaze.com) Marc Stecker was diagnosed with PPMS in 2003 and has turned his vice of being in a wheelchair into a powerful tool for reaching out to others with this disease. A talented writer. And photographer. And videographer. + Insightful, heart-felt, and always thought-provoking posts. Not for newbies, but comforting for those who have been fighting this disease for years. - Marc's blogs can be pretty heavy at times. I could do with fewer rants on Big Pharma and backings of speculative research, but lately he's dialed it back. Maybe he read this?
My Odd Sock (www.myoddsock.com) This clever site's slogan says it all: a funny look at life with a limp. Humor is challenging to pull off, but this former copywriter with multiple sclerosis (wow, that sounds a tad familiar) manages to do just that. An added bonus: there is appropriately an odd sock pictured in every blog doing things odd socks are want to do. + The posts are a quick read, so it's easy to do a drive by and get a giggle infusion before moving on to more somber MS sites. - We never get to see the man behind the words, just that damn sock. Actually, this might be a positive.
Carnival of MS Bloggers (www.msbloggers.com) Lisa Emrich is the founder and organizer of Carnival of MS Bloggers, a bi-weekly menagerie of the best MS blog posts on the net. You can find dozens, probably hundreds, of MS blogs, all sorted in alphabetical order and by time of post. + So many blog posts that you can read and read until your eyeballs fall out. - Your eyeballs might fall out.
Best 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. Solid webinars. - Content lacks hands-on information and specific advice, although it is being added. Programs, five days, can be pricey but scholarships are available.