Thursday 17 June 2010

Advance in MS Research

Debbie Purdy (pictured), who is campaigning for change in assisted suicide laws, suffers from multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) has a devastating effect on lives with more than 100,000 sufferers in the UK and two million worldwide. Scotland has the largest number of sufferers per capita and it has been proven that the disease is more prevalent in cold climates and attacks twice as many women as men.

Professor Anat Achiron of Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Medicine has uncovered a way of detecting MS years before the illness hits sufferers. Experts predict that the discovery could lead to early treatment to prevent the disease harming patients.

In this country experts have discovered a link between Vitamin D and MS and research into this connection is ongoing. If the disease can be diagnosed long before any symptoms are evident medics will be able to treat the patient as early as possible to prevent further damage within the nervous system.

This advance in MS research will not assist towards a cure because there is no cure at present for this debilitating illness, but any test that can identify MS very early on in the course of the disease can be nothing but good news.


Hamish said...

MS does seem to be particularly prevalent in Scotland, and indeed in Shetland, which is free from many obvious risk factors, such as pollution. Climate is probably a factor.
I didn't know about this recent research which you I have highlighted. As I understand it, there appears to be a connection between Vitamin D deficiency and MS, not Vitamin D and MS.
Not a pedantic quibble. I had to follow the link to clarify that.

subrosa said...

Hamish I'd disagree you're not being pedantic. :) The relationship is between (the lack of) Vitamin D, although I think it's acceptable to say between vitamin D and MS, mainly because the doses of vitamin D are very important.

Glad you read the link. There's so much out there really and some of it isn't good research.

Anonymous said...

You know, Subrosa, you have to be careful when you describe MS as devastating. My wife has been suffering from this disease since 1981, when it was first diagnosed, and she is still with us and still able to enjoy life, although she is restricted. Her form of the disease has been slow and progressive so that, gradually, she has lost the use of her legs, she needs to use a catheter to pass water and her eyes are ‘iffy’ (she sometimes has ‘double vision’). Having said that, most of her bodily functions are OK. Her hearing is excellent; her arms and hands work fine; she can eat and feed herself fine; she poos ok; her speech is fine; she suffers no pain. In fact, we go to Majorca three or four times a year.
Obviously, we have certain equipment. Some of it is provided by the NHS/Social Services (the stuff we have at home), but the stuff we use on holiday is equipment that I personally have made. When we go to Majorca, we have a jolly good time. Because we have been going there for many years now, the staff of the hotel that we use know precisely what we need in terms of specific rooms, etc. We are friendly with the owners and staff of various pubs and cafes, and have a good laugh with them. Obviously, we cannot go on trips around the island, but so what? We enjoy the sun, we read our books, chat and watch the shows in our favourite pub. We eat drink and are merry. Further, there are people with similar disabilities who go there around the same time that we do. We have our little society. We call the place that we congregate in ‘Cripples’ Corner’. There are many people who go around the same time as we do who are not disabled, but who love being with us. Why? Because we have fun! Life is not doom and gloom. Having said that, there are obviously people who have different variations of the disease. My heart goes out to those who really suffer.

I have great doubts about the Telegraph report. Over the last 20 years, we have seen hundreds of similar reports. They never come to anything. Vitamin D deficiency? Well, maybe. Once upon a time, there seemed to be a correlation with mumps. The fact is that nobody knows why the body’s immune system turns on itself. Maybe I have become rather cynical, but I see this ‘break through’ in Israel as just another way to get funding, although I hope that I am wrong.

This is one of the reasons that I am so much against the smoking ban. People like my wife have so few means of enjoying themselves. The total ban is an abomination. There is no reason at all that a reasonable compromise between smokers and non-smokers should not have been engineered. I hate the likes of Patricia Hewitt and co. They seem only to be able to think in macro terms – the ‘health of the nation’ and such. They seem to be unable to think in micro terms – about how their hysteria impinges upon people with problems of various kinds. But look how these very politicians are squealing about the new expenses system! Not a macro matter when it comes to themselves, is it?

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