Weekend Update, May 19th, 2013- This was a busy week for me personally and, as always, no different in the world of multiple sclerosis. Here is a weekly summary of some news items that caught my eye:
Iran claims they have cure for multiple sclerosis
News was released this week that the Iranian Multiple Sclerosis Society has claimed they are in the final stages of clinical trials of a cure for MS. The cure is reported to be a “herbal substance” which can completely cure the disease. There isn’t much detail in the report other than it is an oral syrup that is created from special “oil plants.”
I’m very skeptical of this report – not because it is based in Iran but because of the very limited details and information given.
Josh Harding up for NHL award
With the NHL releasing their league award finalists over the past two weeks, news came this week that Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding was nominated for the Masterton award. The award is given to the player “who who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
The other nominees are Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Boston’s Adam McQuaid.
For me Harding is the sentimental favourite. As you probably already know, Harding was diagnosed with MS last summer and missed most of this season while he got himself sorted out (we’ve all been there). Minnesota starting goalie Nicklas Backstrom was injured prior to the opening on the NHL playoffs and Harding assumed the starter’s role in Minnesota’s first round matchup versus the Chicago Blackhawks.
Minnesota was ultimately defeated by Chicago in five games, but Harding played well and was an inspiration to all of us in the MS community. Sidney Crosby has a full enough trophy case; the award should go to Harding.
Surprise, surprise, smoking can increase the progression of multiple sclerosis
While this shouldn’t be surprising to anyone, it was reported this week that:
patients suffering from relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) who also smoked more than ten cigarettes per day had a greater risk than non-smokers of progressing to secondary progressive MS, or SPMS.
As a reformed former social smoker, I can’t say that this comes as news to me. However, those of you out there with MS who smoke may want to consider quitting.
Study reports that interferon beta therapy doesn’t show a decrease in rate of disability progression
In the limited time I had to do research this week, I came across a report about a University of British Columbia study from July of 2012. It was posted on the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada’s website which reported:
Researchers compared people with relapsing-remitting MS treated with interferon beta with untreated contemporary and historical groups of MS patients and did not find evidence that treatment with interferon beta was associated with a reduction in the rate of disability progression.
This report was troublesome for me as I take Copaxone which is interferon beta therapy. After hearing about Dr. Terry Wahls making an amazing recovery with diet and my own recent struggles after starting on Copaxone, I’m left to wonder about the value of the medication.
However, I’m not ready to throw out my meds just yet. I’ll do more reading and consult with my neurologist, wife, and family before making any rash decisions.
Until next time,