Doctors' Notes

MS Awareness Month: Celebrity Spotlight

Welcome to Doctors’ Notes, our newest contribution from Urban Health correspondents and husband and wife physicians Dr. Rob and Dr. Karla Robinson.  The dynamic duo will be fielding questions about health, as it relates to African Americans.  Please feel free to send them questions via digitalpitches@ebony.comWe promise to keep it anonymous. 


As a Grammy award nominated singer-songwriter, Tamia has been a mainstay on the R&B charts with her hits for almost 20 years.  First discovered by Quincy Jones as a teen, this Canadian-born songstress is best known for her hits “You Put a Move on My Heart” (1995), “Spend My Life With You” (duet with Eric Benet, 1999), “Stranger in My House” (2000), “Into You” (2004) and “Beautiful Surprise” (2012).  With a notable string of hits to her credit, equally as impressive is her ability to battle multiple sclerosis–an often debilitating disease–with grace.

Multiple sclerosis (also known as MS) is a degenerative disease of the central nervous system that can lead to various symptoms including episodes of pain, fatigue, balance disturbances, stiffness and spasms, vision problems, bowel/bladder dysfunction and dizziness.  The symptoms of MS vary widely and, in severe cases, can progress to permanent disability leaving those affected unable to walk or speak clearly.

Diagnosed with MS in 2003, Tamia attributes her ability to control the disease to a healthy and balanced diet, exercise, and a medication regimen that works for her symptoms.  She also credits her husband, former NBA player Grant Hill, with modeling how to take care of the body through diet and exercise. Tamia has continued to raise awareness about MS through her work with the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

MS remains a disease that is often misunderstood.  As a result, there are a lot of myths related to the cause, course, and treatment of the disease.  Increase your awareness about multiple sclerosis as we dispel some of the most common myths about this disease.

MS is a disease of old people.  This can’t be further from the truth.  There are more than 400,000 people with multiple sclerosis in this country, and most are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20-50 years old.

Everyone with MS ends up debilitated.  MS is a disease where the symptoms vary widely from person to person and even within one individual.  Some forms of MS are very aggressive and progressive, where other forms have more of an episodic course with minimal disruption of life in between.

People with MS can’t exercise.  As with many chronic illnesses, exercise is actually encouraged in multiple sclerosis.  Once thought to worsen symptoms of MS, exercise has now been shown to improve fatigue, balance, and mobility.

There is a cure for MS.  Unfortunately there is no cure.  However, there are many treatments that have been shown to improve the symptoms of MS.  There is often times a regimen of diet, exercise, and medication that can work together to control this chronic disease.

If no one in my family has MS, I am not at risk.  While there is a genetic component and increased risk of MS with family history, there is also thought to be a possible autoimmune, environmental, or infectious link to developing multiple sclerosis.  There may or may not be a family history of the disease in those newly diagnosed.

It’s a health thing…we’ve got to understand!

About the Doctors:

Dr. Karla and Dr. Rob are the founders of Urban Housecall Magazine and host the Urban Housecall Radio Show.  For more from the doctors, visit their website at, like them on Facebook UrbanHousecallMagazine, and follow them on Twitter @urbanhousecall!