The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has just released a series of three videos covering various aspects of PPMS, and I found them to be surprisingly honest and informative. Most importantly, the videos dispense with many of the old notions about the disease, and touch on some of the latest developments in the research and understanding of this very challenging form of MS. In my opinion, these videos are so useful that they should be viewed by anybody dealing with any form of MS, simply because they contain valuable information that crosses the boundaries of disease type.
The first video, "Understanding Primary Progressive MS", talks about the substantial differences between PPMS and the other forms of the disease (RRMS, and SPMS, and PRMS), and discusses some of the challenges involved with correctly diagnosing PPMS. This video features Dr. John Richert who is the Ex. VP, of Research & Clinical Programs at the NMSS, being interviewed by a woman who looks very much like somebody I dated about 14 years ago. I wonder whatever happened to Jill?
The second video, "Strategies, Research, and Hope for Primary Progressive MS", is to me the most valuable of the three videos. In it, Dr. Richert clearly makes the point that an "autoimmune" response is not the primary driver of the PPMS disease process, and thus none of the current crop of immunosuppressive or immuno modulating drugs are useful in treating it. He also states that this is also true for SPMS, and that there is more going on in the RRMS disease process than was previously thought, as well.
Hallelujah! I've been saying for years now that a misguided immune system is only a symptom of MS, and not the cause of the disease, and that focusing on suppressing or modulating the immune system is like treating a broken leg with painkillers. This disease damages far more than just the myelin coating of nerve cells, and it's great to know that research time and money is finally being spent on trying to comprehend the underlying cause of the disease, as well as searching for strategies to protect and repair damaged nerve tissue. This is a tremendous leap forward in the understanding of the Multiple Sclerosis disease process, and pertains not only to PPMS, but to all of the other forms of the disease as well. In my opinion, this video is must viewing for everyone afflicted with any form of MS.
The third video, "Moving Forward with PPMS", talks about the emotional and psychological impact of dealing with a progressive degenerative illness. It features Rosalind Kalb, PhD who is the Director of the Professional Resource Center at the NMSS, being interviewed by a very somber man who looks like somebody just defecated in his lap. Cheer up, dude, things can't be that bad...