Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Return of Bits and Pieces

People seemed to like my previous two "Bits and Pieces" posts, so here's a go at another one. Presented for your perusal are a few items of interest that have muscled their way into my consciousness over the past week or so...

Emperor Penguin Manchot empereur

Image via Wikipedia

  • The illicit but medicinal drug experiment continues, as I've taken a hit of marijuana before bed every night for the past two weeks, and it's definitely helping me sleep better. It's incredible how much stronger the weed is now than when I was a teenager in the 70s. Back then, I could share a joint with a friend and then go to geometry class fully under control but thoroughly amused by all the silly shapes and equations. With the stuff I have now, one strong hit and I'm pretty much zombiefied. It definitely helps with spasticity, though, and with my joint pain as well (no pun intended). Oh, I've also made friends with a very funny 7 foot tall Emperor Penguin named Emerson, who talks like Peter Lorre and does hilarious things with his big penguin toes. For some reason, Karen keeps making believe that she can't see him. I think she's trying to drive me insane. Help.
  • CCSVI has finally gotten some relatively prominent US press, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, albeit in the local and regional section (click here for article). While it's been getting intense coverage in Canada, and has even been taken up by the Canadian Parliament (click here), the US media outlets have by and large completely ignored CCSVI. Even after last week's announcement of NMSS funding for research into CCSVI, not a peep out of US newspapers or television news outlets. As I've written before, I find this extremely suspicious, since the United States has no truly independent news sources anymore. Virtually every major American newspaper and television news outlet is owned and operated by huge conglomerates which are very happy to gobble up the advertising dollars of the pharmaceutical companies. During some TV programs, it seems that every third commercial is for a pharmaceutical drug. Viva Viagra...
  • The NMSS is sponsoring a live webcast, "What's New in MS Research and Treatment", on June 30 from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET (click here to sign up). Topics covered will include oral and other new therapies on the horizon, nervous system repair and protection, and an international overview of CCSVI research. The CCSVI piece will be presented by Dr. Robert Fox of the Cleveland Clinic, who is leading one of the teams that is receiving an NMSS grant for CCSVI research. Other presenters include Dr. Peter Calabresi of Johns Hopkins, who has had the pleasure of examining me on two occasions (clearly, the highlights of his illustrious career), and Dr. Loren Rolak, of the University of Wisconsin. These live webcasts are always interesting and full of information, and I'm sure the CCSVI segment will provide plenty of fodder for discussion and debate. All interested parties should certainly watch.
  • It's long been noted that MS and other autoimmune diseases often seem to go into remission during a woman's pregnancy. Now, scientists from the University of Michigan and the National Institutes of Health have discovered a possible mechanism for the phenomenon (click here for article). The researchers have identified an enzyme that is reduced in the immune cells of pregnant women compared to non-pregnant women. It appears this enzyme down regulates the immune system, which is necessary during pregnancy to protect the fetus, which includes proteins from the father that are alien to the mother and could be targeted by the immune system as invaders. This dampening of the immune system could explain the pattern of MS disease remission that is commonly seen in pregnant MS patients. For all of the CCSVI advocates out there, please keep in mind that research such as this does not contradict CCSVI theory. CCSVI provides an elegant hypothesis as to the mechanism that causes the immune system to react to CNS tissues, and also explains how immune cells might get through a weakened blood brain barrier. Thus, any drug or natural process that suppresses or modulates the immune system would have efficacy in the CCSVI model of the disease. Just saying...
  • Now, for things that make you say hmmm. Or, in this case, hum. Here's a TV news piece on an acoustic medical device that is claimed to work on MS and other disorders. I'm not too sure about this one, but my friend Emerson the 7 foot Emperor Penguin swears by it...
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  2. Haha! Maybe they're all smoking weed while they sit there with their feet up against the sonic-pay-me-a-lot-of-money-for-snake-oil-treatment?

    Glad to hear you are feeling better with your new nightly "treatment." Do penguins make good pets?

  3. I'm just glad you made a friend. Does he smoke too? Dr. C was my first neuro, maybe he remembers me!! Does anyone ever forget their first?

  4. I was intrigued by the title of the research paper "The effects of a low frequency waveform on peripheral vascular disease".

    Mmmm. Vacular disease. Very interesting...

    Thanks Marc! Hi to Emerson..

  5. Marc,
    Your bits and pieces make my day!
    I can't understand why Karen can't see the she looking in the right place? And, Sativex, a Cannabis based medicine, is legal in Canada, but of course, in the medically advanced USA, it is non-existent. Not expensive enough?

    And, I always mute the Viagra commercials...wish someone would just plant flowers in that stupid bathtub!!!

  6. Marc, thanks for your bits and pieces. The pot didn't fix my spasms, but they did become very amusing! The biggest problem I had with it was that I could suddenly feel every synapse in my legs down to the bottoms of my feet which made it very difficult to walk. Between that and my giggling, it was much too much information to process. Good thing I didn't have to make a quick trip to the loo! And that DH was here to help me. No, it isn't the same stuff I enjoyed so much in the 80's - and I had MS then too.

    As for the frequency generator... gimme a break. She's not walking all that well the short distance they show of her. I don't believe a word of it.

  7. Google "Estriol and Multiple Sclerosis." Why more attention isn't given to this connection is beyond me. Could the answer be as simple as a pill?

  8. Interesting article on the above...

    Supports the thinking that it would help men as well as women??

  9. One last ESTRIOL reference and I promise I'll quit!