Merck is dedicated to saving & improving lives of people with Multiple Sclerosis; a chronic autoimmune and inflammatory condition affecting the central nervous system.
MS affects over 2.3million people worldwide, with most diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. It occurs more than twice as often in women than men and is the most common disabling neurological disease in young adults. There is currently no cure for MS. In fact, scientists are still striving to discover what triggers the immune system to attack the protective ‘myelin’ coating of nerve cells.
MS is very difficult to diagnose. There is no single ‘test’ and symptoms - including issues with seeing, walking and talking - differ considerably from person to person. Years of discoveries have helped make the condition more manageable but, there is still a high need for further progress.
Having spent 20 years researching and developing solutions for advancing MS care, Merck’s aim is to address unmet medical needs with “active innovation”. Not just in developing treatment, but also in how people are treated.
Portraying this complex story in a simple, accessible way was the live experience’s primary aim and key objective: to articulate the purpose of understanding the emotional as well as physical impact of Multiple Sclerosis, with relevance to a wide range of highly diverse audiences.
In a world where science is more accessible and in-depth than ever, the concept used direct experience to create greater awareness and deeper understanding of how patients feel. Actively changing perception by bringing people closer to a more holistic understanding MS by literally experiencing the disease as they experience it…
Merck debuted two definitive, yet interconnected experiences in Paris at the 7th Global ECTRIMS Meeting, the world’s pre-eminent gathering of MS healthcare professionals and scientists in October 2017. Both combining to emotively and physically immerse people in the lives of the people behind the diagnosis.
MY OTHER LIFE - a next-generation VR experience mapping ‘in-their-skin’ patient stories to user- reactive physical space to provide insight into the psychological and emotional impact of sufferer’s physiological symptoms. Seeing, hearing, feeling, and smelling the challenges faced by two people living with different stages of MS: from the stresses of managing your career to your children reacting to changes they don’t understand.
MS: INSIDE OUT - the accompanying real-world experience directly shows the condition’s effects on the human body with tangibly physical experiences of everyday situations made frightening and unknown by MS. Its four experience zones taking users on a journey through typical everyday challenges faced by someone with MS. At HOME, anything-but-easy chairs and weighted packages show how nerve demyelination affects mobility and dexterity. TRAVEL’s ‘spongy’ platform and scrambling information boards simulate MS-induced exhaustion and confusion. WORK’s salvoes of phone and email requests recreate the anxiety about cognitive dysfunction many with MS endure. Finally, RESPOND & REFLECT provides a chance to digest, question and feedback on what they have learned about the condition, but also the people behind the diagnosis…
A post-experience survey provided the following results:
• 95% said their understanding and awareness of MS improved
• 78% said their medical knowledge of MS improved
• 68% visited the experience to ACTIVELY improve their understanding of MS
REFLECT & RESPOND feedback is summarised by these quotations from Healthcare Professionals:
“It’s difficult to really experience the everyday struggles of MS, but the ‘MS House’ is incredibly insightful. Eye-opener indeed.”
“The anxiety you experience in the workspace is overwhelming. The physical symptoms are hard enough to deal with, but you often forget the mental and emotional toll the condition takes on the sufferer.”
“How overwhelming MS must be, an interloper and millstone in your life. Patients’ resilience at coping and carrying on is amazing. I couldn’t imagine how MS could affect my whole life, but I did in 5 minutes.”
“Life with MS needs heroes to survive.”
The debut appearance at the 7th Global ECTRIMS and ACTRIMS Joint Meeting in Paris has created substantial requests for the experience to visit multiple global territories, proving its power to bring people closer to understanding Multiple Sclerosis.
Credit: Momentum Worldwide, Caudex, McCann Health
Momentum Worldwide has been a Contributor since 10th February 2017.