Spotlight on: Kevin Marcaida 💪

“Hello, my name is Kevin Marcaida. I’m a Neuroscientist at Imperial College London and Investor in Biotech and Pharmaceuticals. My story started in 2019 on a trip to NYC. Before the onset, I experienced severe jetlag from the 8-hour flight from London, and because of this, I couldn’t sleep for more than 3 hours at a time. I began to experience symptoms gradually – I first noticed glimpses of VS on a casual nature hike in Long Island. When glancing up at the forest canopy, I saw flashes of bright colours followed by afterimages of the sun. At first, I didn’t think too much of this. However, after a few dysregulated nights of sleep, the symptoms became more pronounced. Near the end of the trip, I managed to get my first proper night’s rest. However, upon waking, the symptoms I experienced became permanent and was accompanied by white ‘static’ overlaying my visual field.

What I find very frustrating about VSS is the lack of medical insight, especially in the clinics. I had several consultations with General Practitioners, with each visit being turned away or receiving the typical ‘anxiety’ diagnosis. Irritated by these experiences, I decided to investigate the symptoms myself. Given my background as a Biomedical Scientist, I quickly found several research journals and an entire community dedicated to VSS. Whilst I wasn’t too pleased with the research findings, I was at least happy to know that other people understand and are working hard to find solutions – eventually inspiring me to take an interest in Neuroscience.

At the end of the day, I do not let my disorder define who I am and what I can accomplish. However, I acknowledge that it’s part of me forever – and that’s perfectly fine. I always believe that it’s best to see both the good and the bad in experiences, no matter the situation. It’s ultimately just a matter of perception.”

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“Ten years ago, in 2012, we presented work at a neurology meeting systematically describing why Visual Snow was not simply migraine aura and was a distinct disease entity. This was not received with universal acclaim, to say the least. In the intervening period, visual snow has come in from the medical ‘cold’ and is being studied actively by a number of groups on three continents. The recognition of the condition, broadening education, and funding research would not have happened were it not for the Visual Snow Initiative. I realize to the many with this often very disabling condition that it seems nothing has or is being done. Progress to treatment is never fast enough nor advances to recognition and understanding. With that said, visual snow research would be idling in a backwater where it not the Initiative. Going forward, we need to double, re-double, and re-double again our efforts for the search for effective treatments and, one day, a cure. Thank you for the Visual Snow Initiative for all you have done and continue to do.”

— Peter Goadsby, MD, PhD, DSc, Professor of Neurology, UCLA, Awarded 2021 Brain Prize

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