Question of the Week: More research means more options. How has this helped you?

Cathy Health Guide
  • When I was diagnosed in the late 1980’s my neurologist (not specializing in MS) told me there would be a cure in 5 years.  Needless to say, I changed neurologists.


    When we entered into the 1990’s, Newsweek declared it “The Decade of the Brain”, telling us that research would be geared toward solving the mysteries of, among other illnesses, Multiple Sclerosis.  No such luck.


    Looking back, I realize the push for a “cure” spawned a proliferation of research and a certain feeling of urgency sparking more competitiveness among pharmaceutical companies who were crawling over each other in an effort to find better medications (and a cure) for people with autoimmune diseases. The cure may be long off (my opinion) but our options increase every day.

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    Reading the Spring 2013 issue of The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s magazine, Momentum, I noticed an article by Sara Bernstein entitled, “Protecting the Nervous System From MS” (page 57 – 59).  It talks about new ways MS researchers are looking into areas to not only stop immune attacks, but also to protect the brain and spinal cord from becoming unhealthy. 


    1. New therapies for other nervous system diseases could point to a faster FDA approval for use in MS.  One example is an epilepsy drug, Phenytoin, and in a small study they are seeing whether it can “reduce or prevent nerve fiber injury in 90 people with optic neuritis.”
    2. Antioxidants (such as in green tea) that fight off free radicals that can turn on immune attacks.  Researchers have found that one antioxidant in particular, Lipoic Acid – reduced inflammation and prevented nerve loss in mice with optic neuritis. (Journal of Neuroimmunology: 2002; 131:104-14)
    3. One researcher is investigating a component of polyphenon E to reduce the loss of nerve cells in mice with EAE (experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis), an illness similar to MS.


    My Question of the Week is: What good news have you heard about current research for MS, and what medications/complementary therapies/spiritual guidance have helped you manage your MS?  I’d love to hear some positive stories to share with each other. 


    Let us all keep hope in our hearts.  Together, we can fight MS!



    Cathy Chester is the author of An Empowered Spirit, a blog for people age 50+ who want to live a vibrant and healthy life.

Published On: March 18, 2013