*waves* Oh hai! ^u^

So officially, I have NO idea why I didn’t post yesterday. There was so much lovely MSy information that I learned yesterday!

MS isn’t caused or exacerbated by non-electrical physical trauma.

A prospective study of physical trauma and multiple sclerosis.
W A Sibley, C R Bamford, K Clark, M S Smith, J F Laguna
Department of Neurology, University of Arizona, College of Medicine, Tucson.

“During an eight year period 170 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and 134 controls without physical impairment were followed closely to record all episodes of physical trauma and to measure their effect on exacerbation rate and progression of MS. There was a total of 1407 instances of trauma, which were sorted into various categories. Overall there was no significant correlation between all-traumas and disease activity. There was, however, a statistically significant negative correlation between traumatic episodes and exacerbations in 95 patients who had exacerbations during the programme, due primarily to less activity of the disease during a three month period following surgical procedures and fractures. Electrical injury had a significant positive association with exacerbation using a three month at-risk period, but there were no other significant positive correlations in any other category of trauma, including minor head injuries; there were no cases of head injury with prolonged unconsciousness. There was no linkage between the frequency of trauma and progression of disability. MS patients had two to three times more trauma than controls.

Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 1991;54:584-589; doi:10.1136/jnnp.54.7.584
Copyright © 1991 by the BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.

MS is very likely linked to the amount and intensity of stress over a 2-3 years period.

I’d bet that MS at that point is latent and that it’s just kind of activated by intense long-lasting stress.

“[I]n 1982, Warren et al. studied 100 MS patients and 100 control subjects with various other neurologic or rheumatologic diseases. The two groups were matched with regard to age, sex, race, and MS risk zone of residence. The authors conducted interviews of both patients and control subjects about various life events that might or might not have occurred during the 2 years before disease onset. Using part of the Holmes and Rahe scale for stressful life events, these authors found that 79% of the MS patients and only 54% of the control subjects (p < 0.001) reported more unwanted stress than usual in the 2-year study period. They also found that patients had experienced three times the total number of stressful life events (180) than had control subjects (59) during the 2-year period. (Emphasis added by me)

In 1989, Grant et al. reported the results of a study of 39 MS patients and 40 nonpatient volunteers matched on the basis of age, sex, marital status, and socioeconomic positions. Patients and control subjects were evaluated on the life events and disability scale. These authors found that in the 6 months preceding the onset of MS, 62% of the patients and only 15% of control subjects had experienced “severely threatening events” as defined by the life events and disability scale (p < 0.001).

In 1991, Warren et al. interviewed 95 pairs of MS patients who were either in exacerbation or in remission, using the general health questionnaire to measure emotional stress (a score of >=5 on this scale defined emotional stress). These authors found that in the 3 months preceding an exacerbation, 56.8% of the patients had experienced such intense emotionally stressful events, compared with only 28.4% of the patients who were in remission at the time of the interview (p < 0.001).

http://www.neurology.org/cgi/content/full/52/9/1737

I have long believed that my MS was caused by the stress of law school. My first exacerbation occurred when I was so stressed about my Advanced Copyright Seminar paper that I could barely sleep at night – and not without meds. The divorce + moving to LA + law school = MS? Studying hardcore for the bar = hospitalization w/ seizure disorder? That’s what I’ve believed, and there’s actual medical research to back it up.

Plus, I went 6 months without an exacerbation this time, and I was on the couch at home the whole time. Whether that’s Copaxone or an extreme drop in stress is debatable, but still… it’s something to think about.

Clear scientific evidence that medical marijuana helps people with MS.

“Anecdotal reports and a small controlled study have reported that cannabis improved spasticity and, to some extent, improved tremor in MS patients. Many studies of the pharmacology of cannabis have identified effects on motor systems of the central nervous system that have the potential of affecting tremor and spasticity. A recent carefully controlled study of the efficacy of THC in experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, the animal model of MS, demonstrated significant amelioration of these two MS symptoms. Moreover, cannabis has demonstrated effects on immune function that also have the potential of reducing the autoimmune attack that is thought to be the underlying pathogenic process in MS.

Many MS patients report that cannabis has a startling and profound effect on muscle spasms, tremors, balance, bladder control, speech and eyesight. Many wheelchair-bound patients report that they can walk unaided when they have smoked cannabis.

A House of Lords reports states that the British Multiple Sclerosis Society (consisting of some 35,000 MS-suffering patients) estimates that as many as 4% of their population already use cannabis for the relief of their symptoms despite the considerable legal risks associated with prohibition. The chairman of the committee went on to state that, “We have seen enough evidence to convince us that a doctor might legitimately want to prescribe cannabis to relieve…the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and that the criminal law ought not to stand in the way.

Numerous case studies, surveys and double-blind studies have reported improvement in patients treated with cannabinoids for symptoms including spasticity, chronic pain, tremor, sexual dysfunction, bowel and bladder dysfunctions, vision dimness, dysfunctions of walking and balance (ataxia), and memory loss.12-20 Cannabinoids have been shown in animal models to measurably lessen MS symptoms and may also halt the progression of the disease.”

http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4558

There’s a lot more on the site than what’s here, but I don’t want to copy the whole page.

In the US, it’s federally illegal to possess or sell marijuana, regardless of what your state laws may be. I’m not advocating the use of marijuana here, but am simply putting information here for educational purposes. I’m pretty sure there’s no law against that.

Anyway, if you have MS, are a conscientious objector to that law, and are actively engaging in this activity, it probably isn’t physically hurting you to smoke/eat/vaporize it.

And with that, today’s daily dose of MS-related information is done! Sure, this could have been 3 posts… but, hey, I’m making up for lost time! 🙂

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