Welcome! This blog contains research & information on lifestyle, nutrition and health for those with MS, as well as continuing information on the understanding of the endothelium and heart-brain connection. This blog is informative only--all medical decisions should be discussed with your own physicians.

The posts are searchable---simply type in your topic of interest in the search box at the top left.

Almost all of MS research is initiated and funded by pharmaceutical companies. This maintains the EAE mouse model and the auto-immune paradigm of MS, and continues the 20 billion dollar a year MS treatment industry. But as we learn more about slowed blood flow, gray matter atrophy, and environmental links to MS progression and disability--all things the current drugs do not address--we're discovering more about how to help those with MS.

To learn how this journey began, read my first post from August, 2009. Be well! Joan

Friday, April 27, 2012

Clinical trials and "Finders' Fees"

April 27, 2012 at 7:54am

Something that is not discussed very often (or ever) is the fact that clinical trials for pharmaceuticals can be a very profitable business for a university, MS center, clinic and lead investigator.  We know that drug companies pay the researchers, and pay for the use of facilities---and this has been a very lucrative business model for many.  But something that has been kept quiet is the fact that physicians are paid "finders' fees" for enrolling patients in clinical trials.  Because they need your body to test the drugs---signing you up is rewarded.

The published paper that first brought this practice to my attention was written by Maran Wolston, a woman with MS, who found out about her doctor's commercial interests in the drugs and trials he was recommending to her-- I suggest all pwMS and those that love them read her paper-

People are clamoring to be tested and treated for CCSVI.  We've seen CCSVI clinical trials fill up within days, patients are turned away.  Could the real push back from neurology regarding CCSVI treatment clinical trials be that neurologists do not want to lose potential patients for their own pharmaceutical clinical trials?


If your doctor suggests you're the perfect candidate for some clinical trial, you might ask how much he's getting paid to recruit you.

Finders fees from $2,000 to $5,000 are common, say University of Toronto researchers Trudo Lemmens and Paul Miller. The fees are being paid to physicians, nurses and other health care professionals.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Why mouse models of stroke and MS don't work

April 22, 2012 at 8:51am

MS is not the only neurological disorder which has a flawed rodent model.  Turns out, stroke researchers just aren't happy with their mouse model, either.  Why?  Because the immune response after stroke is different in mice and people.

EAE is not MS in humans.  
Believe it or not, the current MS drugs cure mice of EAE.  But they sure do not cure people of MS.  
What's the problem?   There are many problems with the EAE model.    
Here's my favorite description of what's wrong with EAE, from Dr. Michael Dake--

"There's an animal model, but it's not really, unfortunately, like most animal models, it's not really a human model.  Basically, you take like a mish of ground up spinal cord and brain from some other species, you mix it with some oily substance, some TB bacilli, and some bordatella pertussis, some whooping cough toxin, and inject it into peridium,  and what you get is this whopping inflammatory response, and that's good because you get the accelerated disease process, but obviously in humans, it's a much more chronic and progressive thing."

People with MS haven't had this cocktail of viruses injected into their brains.  (Good thing!)
But there's much more. The immune system of rodents and humans are very different, too.
Stroke researchers understand that their rodent models are not working.  
This is because the immune reaction after ischemia is very different in rodents when compared to humans

Here is a recent paper on the problem with the rodent model of stroke--and the difference in the immune response in mice and men.

Important to note---the immune system responds after stroke, just as it does in MS.  Ischemic injury, or lack of oxygen to brain tissue, calls in the immune system to clean up dead cells.  This happens in all mammals.

The rodent immune cell composition is remarkably different from that of humans.
Specifically, rodents have a lymphocyte predominance with a 1:5 ratio of neutrophils to lymphocytes.
Humans have a 2:1 ratio of neutrophils to lymphocytes.

What does this mean?  Time for some explaining.
Neutrophils and lymphocytes are both types of white blood cells that make up the innate immune system of all mammals.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

There is no miracle pill

April 11, 2012 at 12:18pm

We all know nutrition is an important part of good health and recovery in chronic illness.  If some forms of MS are indeed related to the venous system, as Dr. Zamboni's and others' research indicates, it's important to live a vascular healthy lifestyle.  

Medical doctors like Dr. Terry Wahls and Dr. George Jelinek have shown, through their own lifestyles and published research, the importance of diets rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables.  It helps some people with MS find stability.  I believe there is no coincidence in this fact.

I wanted to write a bit about the new supplement companies coming forward with special, proprietary blends of products for MS that "enhance your DNA!!" or "provide epigenetic support!!"  These products can only be purchased by a special distributor.  

They all seem to all have snazzy webpages and YouTube videos hosted by toothy and tanned men in white coats.  Some of them get celebrities to hawk their wares.  The products all end in "ex" or sound vaguely scientific and futuristic.  They claim to switch on your body's own DNA. (Here's the deal, your DNA is already in the on position.  Epigenetics just means outside influences that change our DNA...stuff that isn't written in our code, but affects of genes from the outside.  Your genes are changed by what you ingest and come in contact with--both the good and the bad.  In other words, you control your epigenetics.)  

We then read testimonials from our friends online, whose lives have been forever changed by this one product, and they sincerely want to help us.  But this supplement can only be purchased from so and so, and we'd better go and meet so and so and change our lives.  Oh, yeah.  There's a dollar sign attached.

 ALL of these new supplements contain phytonutrients.  Phyto simply means plant in Greek.  So, these are nutrients from plants, that's all.  Nothing super special or proprietary. These supplements are very colorful.  Jeff's curcumin supplement leaves my hands orange.  We just had a note from the Hubbard Foundation on beets, and as Jason noted, BE CAREFUL!  Beet juice stains!  So does wine, which is rich in phytonutrients.  Any fruit or veggie rich in these nutrients will probably stain, because they have such intense color.  God made them colorful, and He made them good for us.