Oh, boy! If they'd only learned this seven years ago, when I was first diagnosed, not only would I undoubtedly still be walking, but I'd probably be working in Las Vegas with the Cirque du Soleil. Alas, now I'm shit out of luck, because I don't think I could learn to juggle with only one working arm. The problems of one man shouldn't diminish the fantastic implications of this discovery, though. Why stop at learning to juggle three harmless little balls? Certainly, juggling something more difficult than balls, like chainsaws, or flaming swords, or angry raccoons, or flaming angry raccoons strapped to chainsaws, would require even more dexterity and concentration, and thus be a far more powerful mechanism for myelin repair.
I wonder why the researchers chose juggling? How shortsighted of them. Surely other, more challenging circus activities would be of much greater therapeutic value. If focusing the mind to learn juggling can help MS patients, can you imagine what lion taming could do? Or how about learning to be the man on the flying trapeze? I could probably do that even now, in my relatively advanced state of disability. My legs are so stiff from spasticity, they could just hang me upside down from the bar and give me a push every now and then. If this didn't improve my condition, they could always stick a wire up my backside and a lightbulb in my mouth, and put me to good use as a chandelier. After seven or eight hours of swinging back and forth, though, I'm positive I'd regain all of my lost functionality, and be able to do a mean Lindy, high leg kicks and all. And forget about merely treating MS, attempting to do a high wire act would almost certainly be a cure, especially if they forced patients to walk the wire without a net. If learning to tight rope walk didn't cure them, then falling 150 feet to the ground surely would. Extensive peer reviewed research has clearly demonstrated that death definitely cures MS,.
Uh-Oh, I just thought of a problem with this theory, a fly in the ointment that I don't think the researchers even considered. Maybe it's not the act of learning to juggle that's therapeutic, but the sheer joy one experiences at the very prospect of living the circus life that causes the brain to heal itself. Maybe if MS patients simply adopted circus personas, we would have this disease licked in no time. I can see it now, MS patients the world over, struggling, limping, and driving around in their wheelchairs and scooters , all wearing orange fright wigs, red plastic noses, and oversized exploding shoes. At the very least, it would make time spent in the neurologist's office waiting room a lot more interesting.
But wait a minute, if people with MS started dressing like clowns, how could anyone tell the researchers apart from the patients?
(In all fairness, the research that was conducted is scientifically valid, and demonstrates that the human brain has a capacity for plasticity. The researchers showed that when healthy patients learn a complex physical task, such as juggling, there is a measurable increase of the white matter in their brains. Since one of the most injurious actions of MS is the destruction of white matter (myelin), the researchers postulate that this discovery may lead to future treatments for MS.
It's the idiots who write the headlines that really deserve lampooning. And harpooning...)