What Should MS Research Really Be Focusing On?

Dr. Gross Health Guide
  • I was watching TV commentator Neil Cavuto the other day being interviewed over the disaster known as the economy and was quite impressed with his insights. He has a way of cutting to the chase.


    The interview closed with Neil saying that he had just returned from some procedure to improve vocal difficulties related to his neurological condition. Neil Cavuto indicated he has Multiple Sclerosis.


    A public person with MS is nothing new, but in Cavuto's case it's instructive because he's proof that thinking ability in MS patients is hardly impaired universally. Anecdotally, I've always been impressed with the intellects of MS patients. (Talk about preaching to the choir!)

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    Exactly what kind of speech intervention Neil had is not relevant here. It's hard to draw the line when celebrities announce they are grappling with a disease. Letting the stars choose what they want to reveal is reasonable.


    So I checked out Neil's biography available in a USA Today article. Amazingly, before he developed MS, the Financial Guru had beaten Hodgkin's disease!!


    And it’s no freak coincidence.


    Let me be give you the gist of the relationship: Hodgkin's lymphoma has been linked to Epstein Barr Virus (EBV). Multiple Sclerosis has been linked to Epstein Barr Virus. Neil's double whammy has been reported in others. Studies have not been able to prove that EBV is causing either MS or Hodgkin's but more information concerning how it can trigger the disease or make it worse needs to be performed. Antiviral therapy for EBV and related viruses has shown promise (in the context of MS or otherwise). EBV is also associated with autoimmune disease. MS of course has autoimmune features.


    Why don't we know more about whether she should upgrade the focus on viral destruction to treat or prevent MS? Simply put: Research is all over the place. There is no concerted international program to clarify a “War on EBV”.


    In the spirit of the Olympics, it's time to get the principals (researchers, scientists, neurologists, immunologists, infectious disease specialists) united in one stadium to develop a series of definitive studies designed to ascertain whether we should concentrate efforts on destroying and/or preventing EBV infections in not only MS patients but in other autoimmune diseases and in Hodgkin's lymphoma.


    Perhaps Neil Cavuto would be interested in spearheading such an effort.

Published On: August 14, 2008