Jan 232012

In other words we are killing too many people so we need to add additional safety language. Rather than just reading the news article I went to the FDA website to look at the new disclosure. Additional Information for Patients. The change revolves around testing for JCV antibodies, but even negative you can still end up getting PML.

What immediately struck me was that “201 cases of PML have been reported among approximately 96,582 patients treated with Tysabri worldwide through January 4, 2012.” Or a little over .2% of the patients.

The other thing I learned about Tysabri is that it is a “risk” to take it longer than two years. This puts it into the category of the most aggressive chemotherapy drugs because if you take them longer than that they definitely start causing cancer. Tysabri is an immune suppressant so does it definitely cause cancer after more than two years or something else (e.g. death)?

I know Tysabri is effective, but taking everything into account I do not see it as a net gain.

Jan 222012

aka personalized health care. Some of you may have thought you were already getting this, but the trend is to take it further. Two things about this strike me. First is “If we build it they will come” with no clearly demonstrated benefits. Two, this is genetic testing on steroids. While these slides highlights some of the major flaws of this healthcare paradigm. I think all of this technology may provide some minimal benefit, but the main interest is in those who are going to profit off of the technology. While I am the poster child for not doing this I think at the end of the day you have to take some personal responsibility for your health. Personal responsibility does not mean taking your pills it means exercising and eating well. I do not see how personalized medicine would help with Multiple Sclerosis since there are no indicators that you will get Multiple Sclerosis. How would this help me?

As I write this it reminds me that I consistently have low vitamin D levels, and I should go pickup some more vitamin D supplements. Impressively bad living this far south. Maybe I should try to see the sun occasionally.

Jan 212012

I see in the news that the oral Multiple Sclerosis medication Gilenya appears to be tied to eleven deaths. It appears one person may have died after the very first dose. If there is a plus side than it sounds like it is a much more peaceful death than Tysabri’s PML. There definitely seems to be a correlation between an MS drugs efficacy and risk of death.

I still stand by my previous post that life is more than just avoiding disability. No one wants to be disabled, but I do not want to risk my life to avoid disability. I have also heard the statistics argument that death is not that likely on these drugs, but I do not want to play that crap shoot. Good luck to those who take these drugs.

Jan 202012

I need to bathe in the blood of young virgins to reverse my Multiple Sclerosis damage! or that is how I interpreted this article.

I disagree with the article’s premise that the body is just too old to repair itself and needs young blood to do the work. I am glad that there is work being done on reversing MS damage, but I would contend this is a long shot. On the other hand stem cells may be a viable way to facilitate the repair.

Jan 042012

The other night we dropped by a Redbox like we have many times before to pick up a couple of movies. This time one of the original movies had been stolen and out came a junk disc. So I call Redbox and report the disc and get a couple free movie rental codes. When asked the guy said it is “happens all the time” that people commit this fraud. Who steals something worth ~$15 new? Plus the Redbox DVDs occasionally have less content so you get something less than the store version, is used, and has no case. On top of that you stole from a company that has you credit card information and keeps track of who checked out the individual discs. I would expect them to charge their normal DVD did not return disc fee of $24 plus tax. In the end you came out worse. So much for sticking it to the man.

 Posted by at 8:18 am
Jan 032012

Last night I was sitting and thinking about the biggest medical advancement ever made. Certainly we have done many great things over the years but I think without question the best was hand washing by Ignaz Semmelweis. Interesting he was wrong about the root cause of the problem, but of course you don’t need to know why hand washing is important for it to work. Also interesting is that despite clear proof that it worked he was dismissed by his contemporaries. He died before the germ theory by Pasteur was developed; he could have had a better explanation for why hand washing works and further developed his idea. How many people have been touched by Ignaz’s insight? Billions +? Ignaz is one of the giants that no one remembers and no even knows his name. Hats off to you Ignaz Semmelweis.

Jan 022012

I had a similar post here. After watching the video I will have to revisit my position I made earlier on diet and MS. I recently got an email about healing MS with diet and put it off. I got around to it today and it is a TED presentation. I like TED presentations because unlike reality TV you do not feel like less of a person when you are done. Unfortunately for me and my typical American diet I watched this after a lunch of pizza and Coke and I began to wonder what am I doing to myself. Tis the season for new years resolutions.

Here is the link to the article I was sent. It includes the video and expands on the diet idea. It also includes some ideas that even I can not go along with (e.g. childhood trauma. Sure I did not get that one great toy I wanted for Christmas, but I do not think it is causing me problems now).