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Multiple Sclerosis: Meet the incredible artist turning her MRIs into art

2/13/2017

The Daily Rise: A regular digest of the stories and news that affect patients.

Living with Multiple Sclerosis: Artist #FacingMS turns MRIs into art

Elizabeth Jameson, like many patients living with multiple sclerosis, once found it difficult to face her MRI scans.

"I found that the actual MRIs, I didn’t want to look at them," she told Fast Company. "They were black white and ugly and I just didn’t even want to look at them. A lot of patients feel the same way." 

So, she decided to reclaim the power lost to those fear-inducing scans by transforming them into art.

"I want to take the fear out of looking at MRIs," she explains of her work. "We're all defined by the technology now, we talk to the image rather than the talking about the disease. I decided to find beauty in their complexity."

Jameson transforms her brain scans into a vibrant, unique form of portraiture that celebrates the imperfect body and brain. She is changing how neurologists communicate with their patients in presenting brain scans, and, in the process, finding power in her patient voice. 

"My art is 90% my brain for the simple reason that I am my brain," Jameson, who is now quadriplegic, explains of her work, which is included in the permanent collections of the National Institutes of Health, Stanford University, Yale University, and the Center for Brain Science at Harvard University. 

Elizabeth Jameson's Story: From Public Interest Lawyer to Public Interest Artist

Patients can draw inspiration from Jameson's work and her story. 

After graduating from Stanford University and Boalt Hall School of Law, Jameson had a successful career as a public interest lawyer. She fought for children with chronic illness and disabilities, until her life took an unexpected turn. 

One day, while playing with her kids, she found she couldn't speak. A brain legion had temporarily stripped her of her voice. After intense speech therapy, she regained her ability to speak -- only to face a new challenge: her diagnosis with a progressive form of multiple sclerosis. 

"I was a public interest lawyer, so I decided to become a public interest artist, whatever the hell that would mean," she recalled.

Jameson's latest project, #FacingMS, is changing clinical waiting rooms through art, storytelling and technology. 

Feb. 15: Join Elizabeth at Patients Rising University's Spotlight Multiple Sclerosis

Interested in learning more about Jameson's work?

This Wednesday, she'll join our all-star panel at Patients Rising University's Spotlight Multiple Sclerosis. Our inaugural Patients Rising University event will feature a comprehensive look at innovation, barriers to access and necessary health care reforms for patients living with multiple sclerosis.

Patients Rising University was developed to educate patients on ways to navigate an increasingly complex health care system. We've heard from many patients affected by regulatory decisions. We've seen patients that face real barriers to access. Through Patients Rising University, we're providing patients with tools and strategies tailored to specific diseases.

Wednesday, February 15 from 6 PM - 8 PM
Mission Bay Conference Center
1675 Owens Street, #251
San Francisco, California 94158

RSVP for Patients Rising University: Spotlight Multiple Sclerosis, or if you can't make it to San Francisco, tune in for our live webcast.