Multiple Sclerosis

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Alternative approaches and therapies

 ‘Multiple Sclerosis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the brain’s myelin, disrupting nerve signals’

You are at the peak of your life when suddenly you are no longer in control of your body. The doctor makes a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Your reaction is to go into denial, or get a second opinion. Sooner or later, however, you find yourself grappling to come to terms with a condition that you feel is likely to dominate the rest of your life.

Until the mid 19th Century, the medical fraternity did not recognise the existence of MS. Today it is deemed incurable, although some alternative approaches may provide hope.

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the brain’s myelin, disrupting nerve signals. Common symptoms include motor control problems, fatigue, muscle pain, neurological symptoms, and difficulty in thinking. Lesions appear in the brain and spinal cord. Often symptom-free periods are interspersed with relapses, and about two-thirds of these are triggered by a viral infection.

Looking at the profile of people who develop MS, about 70 per cent are female, 98 per cent are Caucasian, and 10 to 20 per cent have a relative with MS, which suggests a genetic predisposition.

Usually appearing between the ages of 20 and 50, MS progresses in different people at different speeds. At some point, many sufferers with reduced mobility require a walking aid or a wheelchair. Average life expectancy is between five and ten years shorter than for the population as a whole.

According to the mainstream perspective, MS is an autoimmune disease with an unknown cause and no cure. This view is being challenged, with myelin damage increasingly viewed as a by-product rather than a cause. The isolated Faroe Islands far to the north of Scotland had never experienced cases of MS until 1940, when British troops were stationed there. By 1945, there was a small epidemic. This strongly suggests an infectious pathway.

Neurologists tend to insist that those who develop MS will have the disease for life, and their best hope is to slow down its progression, easing the symptoms with pharmaceuticals.

Unfortunately the pharmaceuticals present their own problems: interferon causes liver damage, and the anti-immune drug prednisone carries a risk of numerous side effects.

 ‘A 2011 study showed that MS patients had 7.5-fold higher levels of mercury in their cerebrospinal fluid than controls, indicating a link’

 

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