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MS: SO Frustrating!

suspicionWhile it may not be on the front pages of the health section every day like Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) still affects a number of lives across a broad spectrum of the population. One of the most difficult aspects of trying to treat the condition has been trying to get a handle on what actually causes it.

One of the most widespread approaches to Multiple Sclerosis has been a supposed breakthrough treatment referred to as Liberation therapy. While it has only been around for a short time, many experts attempting to unlock the secrets of MS had touted it as an essential ingredient in a treatment regiment.

The theory behind Liberation therapy had been that the narrowing of neck veins would create a back-up of blood on the brain that was responsible for inflammation and the subsequent triggering of MS and its various symptoms. While many considered the treatment to still require further substantiation, a large and extremely vocal group of people involved in research for an MS cure declared that the medical establishment was resisting.

Traditionally, most experts in the area believe that MS is caused by an auto-immune reaction.

Several years later, it appears that many of those same people are now having to eat their words as the vein-narrowing theory has been proven to be false. One of the main reasons appears to be human error during the testing phase. Ultrasound operators may very well have been pressing too hard on the necks of patients during the study – physically causing the veins to appear blocked.

Researchers at McMaster University in Canada have released a damning study that contracts a substantial amount of research conducted at that very institution years before. Dr Ian Rodger was originally on board with the idea that Liberation therapy could be a breakthrough in MS treatment, he declared that the new study has completely changed his mind.

The findings were published in the respected journal PLOS One.

Rodgers stated that “we went in open minded. When we set up the study, we didn’t know what to expect. I guess what we anticipated, like most clinical studies, was that there would be some sort of middle ground… This is black and white.”

The original study that was conducted at McMaster was a prominent reason for many MS sufferers to undergo what was an unproven therapy to fix these apparent vein blockages. When the media picked up the story and began broadcasting it to the masses, government and healthcare providers struggled to keep up with demand. It led to many situations where patients would ignore the advice of their neurologists, who were against the idea that Liberation therapy offered any tangible benefit.

This represents another instance where a small group of individuals were able to advance a flawed agenda thanks to help from the news media. With more studies indicating that doctors are pushing incorrect and unhelpful treatments on patients in all areas of medicine, it’s important for individuals to be empowered with the best health and wellness information.

It’s interesting to me how science follows the money trail when it comes to possible therapies. I’m not getting on my high horse about it. Everyone has to live.. but sometimes I wonder why more ‘accessible’ health alternatives are either ignored or actively discouraged.

So if a rat study shows promise for a disease, what importance does science give it? Here’s a rat-based study on motor neurone disease using hydrogen therapy.