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Sessions with Dr Gretchen Hawley


Neuroplasticity and brain changes with exercise

Monday 17 January at 2pm 

For our first information session of 2022, Dr Gretchen Hawley will be revisiting the topic of neuroplasticity and discussing how exercise can create changes of neural pathways within the brain. Plus, we will be discussing the latest research in remyelination. We’ll be talking about all of the best tips and strategies to help you get the most out of your MS-specific exercises that promotes neuroplasticity, which activity encourages new pathways to be created and promote improvements in specific activities and movement patterns. 

Traditional exercises often won’t help improve weaknesses, however MS-specific exercises can leave you feeling stronger, walk better, enjoy more energy and improved balance. Movement encourages neuroplasticity in the brain, helping muscles gain strength. Dr Hawley says that all this is made possible courtesy of neuroplasticity and the ability of our brain to rewire itself and create new pathways to help our muscles get stronger. 

For example, if you have difficulty lifting your leg due to weakness, this may indicate that the pathway is no longer working because of demyelination. However, every time you attempt to lift your leg, even if there is no visible movement, your brain is attempting to find a new pathway to that limb. Over time and with consistent work repeating this movement, research shows that your brain will find a pathway that will allow the successful lifting up of your leg. 

So please join us for this must-see information session! 

Session overview: 

  • What is Neuroplasticity 

  • How do you get neuroplasticity to “work” 

  • What is BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor) 

  • MRI changes in the brain due to exercise 

  • The latest research on remyelination 

The session will finish with time for question and answers from Dr Hawley.  

We hope you can join us for this session. If you can’t make the session live, don’t worry as we will be recording the presentation and will make it available to watch again for all those registering in advance. 

We have a suggested donation is £5 for this information session, but you can make a donation of your choosing from £1 to attend. 

If you would like to know more about this session or would like help in registering, please email


About Dr Hawley 

A Doctor of Physical Therapy, with years of clinical practice experience, Gretchen is a Physical Therapist and Multiple Sclerosis Certified Specialist through the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centres based in the USA. 

She has a special interest in the management and wellness of MS patients, and presents as the Keynote Speaker at numerous MS events including Living Well With MS events sponsored by the MS Society in addition to MS Views & News. Other collaborations include national MS organisations, including the National MS Society, MS Association of America, and MS Foundation. Additionally, Dr. Gretchen shares her expertise to MS support groups, podcasts, and on her own YouTube and social media channels. 

If you would like to know more about Dr Hawley please visit Dr Hawley’s website The MSing Link.  

Please note we will be recording the presentation and will make it available for you to watch again. 

Please see the feedback from our previous information sessions from Dr Hawley that included 'Neuroplasticity and changes with exercise' and ‘Exercise - the difference between regular and functional exercise’ 

“Just a note to say how inspiring I found this presentation to be. Having had MS for approx 30 years. I must admit to feeling fairly sceptical that I would hear anything new. In fact, it wasn’t so much that this was all definitely new, but it was the way it was conveyed to people like me. I think it took away a continual feeling of failure and replaced it with a new mindset.” – Chris 

“A really excellent presentation. Incredibly informative and made so much sense.” - Participant 

“I thought yesterday's presentation was fantastic. The Dr was inspiring and enlightened me to things I've being doing not quite right for years. I certainly took a lot away from it and thoroughly enjoyed listening.” – Pam 

“Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated Gretchen's talk on neuroplasticity this week.  I had rather given up on exercise as not really helping me (I am in my 70's) but Gretchen's advice has motivated me to try again and try better. So, I am resuming my exercises and paying more attention to carrying them out correctly.  She was spot on about the need to change one's mindset too. I do equate walking with fatigue and difficulty and should endeavour to get out of this negative thinking cycle.” – Participant 

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