Seeking Health


Everything’s relative nowadays and my idea of health is probably quite different to yours or a kitten’s for that matter.

I’ve been doing family this past weekend so that my husband and I’d be at home to pick up our new kitten from the Blue Cross (a pet rehoming charity in the UK). And then stay at home to keep her (and us) entertained. She’s working a treat so far.

I think I need to get back to short posts. The ability to edit myself and turn one post into two or three had left me while dealing with our dying cat but, as you can see I don’t think I’ll be distracted by old age and possible pain of another being for the moment rather, enthusiastic exuberance and the idiocy of youth!

Bring it on.

The first thing that caught my eye on my return was an article about untested Ebola treatments causing a UK team of medics to walk out of their voluntary positions in Ebola treatment centres in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The team felt it would be unprofessional giving a treatment originally developed for heart conditions to a group of physically weakened and physiologically complicated sufferers (liver and kidney failure are amongst Ebola patients’ complications). The treatment had limited antiviral properties. The WHO had identified over 50 other treatments that had greater anti-viral strengths. The team were exposing themselves to the patients’ contagious blood all for questionable benefit.

This is another article that’s been brought to my attention. Statins are a drug that have been around for a while and have had some very good PR behind them as you’ll see from the post that explains the difficulties that arise when equating the NNT (Number Needed to Treat in order to see a worthwhile treatment outcome) for preventive medicines where you’re not saving lives rather, preventing deaths.

It’s fascinating stuff and really worth reading if only to get a bit of a handle on how we are so easily persuaded of a thing’s worth by sets of numbers which get mistakenly conflated with other meanings of numbers in other scenarios.

I could list the sorts of pharmaceutical therapies involving supplementation that have received similar treatments but this is a short post as it’s Christmas Day, I’ve just been playing with the kitten at the top of the page and now need to get me some xmas w friends.

Happy Christmas folks.

New Year post will be a rundown of the various strategies we can all do to help us feel at our best.

Happy New Year (depending on the depth of my gluten free mince pie haze) there maybe a post before NYE!

The MS treatment I want to explore

deflated scull and crossbones balloon

In the news today (20 October) the UK was given the proposition that dying folk should be given experimental drugs before they get through the full trial process. Let’s ignore for the moment that the full trial process hasn’t delivered much for MS patients. So what sort of shenanigans are pharmaceutical companies looking for? Extensive testing hasn’t worked in MSers favour so what sort of dark hell might be unleashed without the double blind placebo controlled ‘gold standard’ in place?

Colorado have reported on this idea in May which a bit puts paid to my theory that it was a fine piece of distraction from the venal behaviour of drug companies not investigating an African disease until it starts threatening the monied, developed world.

My first thought was that it was a bit of damage limitation from the pharmaCos to distract us from the fact that curing a killer like ebola just isn’t financially worth them even starting (do they have a union that does pr for ALL their questionable/commercially sound behaviour?).

Bloomberg Businessweek reported on the plan in August.

Why does the treatment of the disease Ebola have any relevance to MS?

Don’t worry, I’m not connecting the two in a  symptom sort of way but I believe both conditions have been poorly served by pharmaceutical companies.

I really feel quite uneasy about the treatment that pharmacos have meted out on MS patients throughout my 20 year ‘MS career’. When I couldn’t get hold of DMDs, before they were available in the UK I wanted them very badly, then NICE was born (especially to avoid the ‘postcode lottery’ surrounding MS prescriptions) and they became available so I read up the trial results as I’ve mentioned more than once.

In my mid 20s with not many regular symptoms it didn’t make sense to me to take multiweekly injections for a less than 50/50 chance of benefit. Other than a couple of goes at steroids to get back my ability to walk again after fresher’s flu went bad in me I have stayed pharma free.

I think I’ve talked about a vascular aspect to MS having been spotted by Charcot in the 19th century. He gave this disease a name and yet this aspect of our condition is barely being investigated. I’ve certainly mentioned my own taste of this theory in Brooklyn a couple of years ago, where an ultrasound was taken of my jugular veins from the INside where a valve was seen to be blocked shut.

We have more and more appropriate imaging technology since noticing in 19thC postmortem brains that veins might be implicated. Why is this theory not investigated further with the full force of what we have at our disposal? It doesn’t help to get too stressed about it but, no matter how many times I stamp my feet, life STILL isn’t fair. My blood gently simmers at the injustice of our woefully inadequate treatment from the people we’re supposed to trust. I feel for those who live under the shadow of Ebola and the horrific injustice they face every day when they continue to see no effective science being done in their name.

I’m glad my father encouraged me to question everything (perhaps not consciously but he did). I think it’s stood me in good stead for identifying folk’s motives. Although I s’pose, with pharmaceutical companies you don’t have to dig too deep to see the profit motive.

Perhaps I’m very wrong though? See, that ‘question everything’ trait is shining through!