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Local MS Expert, Dr. Ralph Benedict, Leads Prestigious Lancet Neurology Article

Local Multiple Sclerosis expert, Dr. Ralph Benedict, leads prestigious Lancet Neurology article

Western New York (WNY) has long been known as a “hot spot” for multiple sclerosis (MS) cases.  In Buffalo and Rochester, the rate of MS is double that of the remainder of the country, according to the WNY Chapture of the National MS Society. If there is an upside to this issue, it is that Western New York is also home to some of the most knowledgeable health care professionals working on this disease.

“We don’t know why this disease is more prevalent here.  I am just thankful that my work here in WNY has brought to light the true plight of the MS patient,” said Professor Ralph H. B. Benedict, PhD, Department of Neurology and Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York.  Dr. Benedict is also lead author of a recent article on MS and cognitive impairment published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet Neurology.  The article focuses on cognitive impairment, one of the less familiar symptoms of MS.  Some patients may experience these deficits starting when they are quite young while others develop cognitive problems later in life.

MS is a chronic and progressive illness in which the immune system attacks the protective layer around nerve fibers, which cause inflammation and scare tissue, making it difficult for the brain to send signals to the rest of the body.   The most common symptoms of MS are fatigue and difficulty walking; however, patients can also experience acute or chronic pain, tremors, speech disorders, and cognitive difficulties.  Since MS is progressive, many who suffer from the disease  eventually reach a point where they can no longer work.

“Dr. Benedict understands that a person without income is going to have higher stress levels and difficulties managing their disease because they might not be able to afford prescriptions, tests, or sometimes even appointments,” says Christopher J Grover, an attorney in the Buffalo office of Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC.  “Dr. Benedict recognizes the value in assisting his patients with gathering evidence of their disability and providing his opinion of their ability to function,” added Grover.  “He uses neuropsychological tests and brain imaging to quantify cognitive and physical deficits.  This evidence assists the claimant in proving their inability to perform any type of full-time work.”

“If my patient is in the process of applying for Social Security Disability, my goal is to help the Social Security Administration appreciate the depth of the problem in a hidden cognitive impairment,” Dr. Benedict said. “Often individuals develop coping mechanisms that help them cover up deficits for a time, but eventually problems begin to develop with not only job performance, but also how they relate to the workplace, co-workers and their superiors.” According to Grover, this type of support from a client’s physician and/or other health care providers is critical to the positive outcome of an SSD claim.

If you or someone you know can no longer work due to MS or another chronic illness or injury, request a free consultation with Christopher Grover at cgrover@jeffreyfreedman.com or call at 800-343-8537.  Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys has been handling Social Security claims for more than 40 years.