According to the Wall Street Journal, it seems another MS “cure” fails again. There was a theory saying MS was a cardiovascular disease (chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency or CCSVI) rather than a disease of the immune system. It turns out the blockages are more prevalent in patients with MS than healthy subjects, but the difference is 44% to 25%. What’s more 42% of patients with other neurological conditions had the blockages. It is interesting to note subjects who had MS for longer were more likely to have the blockages, leading some to theorize MS and other neuro conditions may cause CCSVI instead of the other way around.
I can’t say I was happy to read the results. In reading it, I do wonder if some of the symptom relief was due to increased blood flow post surgery. Regardless, I think one of the most telling points in this whole treatment process may be just how important hope, attitude and placebo effect can be. It seems treatment after treatment whether it’s bee stings, MS diets, or massive amounts of vitamin D (like I take now) all have populations who show some general improvement of symptoms.
I know it’s easy to look at most of these as clinical failures when it comes to providing lasting relief or a cure. What if what they show in aggregate is the power of believing one will feel better if one but follows a course of action? It’s funny because I’ve seen little meta analysis across studies for different “cures.” We have a lot of anecdotal evidence for how stress seems to make one far more likely to have a flare. Maybe all of these studies in aggregate actually show the opposite can be true where belief one is going to get better actually makes one better.
If one believes in fate, one might laugh when told 5 min after I posted this I was called by my neurologist and told my blood caries the JC virus making it slightly more than twice as likely for me to get PML (usually fatal brain infection) if I continue taking Tysabri. I’m not horribly big on the fate as god’s cosmic joke line of thinking, but I do find some irony in posting how important good thoughts are for good outcomes only to be told the treatment I use has twice the chance previously advertised of killing me. In case anyone thinks this is dramatic I’m going to die news, it raises the odds to 1 in 200 of getting PML.
Guess maybe it’s time to live up to the logic I said I would use in this situation. Give me fewer good years over more numerous crappy years. Time to keep living happy for all I have and can do. Now back to regularly scheduled programing of positive thoughts.