Apr 112012

No. Well maybe, but I would not know because I have never played Angry Birds. If it does I am willing to give it a try. Regardless I read this article about computers boosting brain power and thought they were not investigating anything new. Today the computers are helping our brains while beating us at Jeopardy and Chess so tomorrow they will rule the world. Well I welcome my computer overlords.

I was having a conversation recently with someone who was having memory issues and the doctor said it is gone forever you and only maintain. I told him I did not believe that, but you must exercise your brain. No one likes memory problems (unless you could selectively forget 😉 ). You can mitigate memory issues by keeping notes etc. but there is a limit. I do not think the computer training are the solution. I think they used in the computer study the same thing I told him. You must exercise your brain and that is all the computers did. Sitting around all day watching TV or surfing the Internet is not exercising your brain. Worse than that I think some TV shows and some Internet sites actively destroy your brain. Read good books, play board/card games, etc. There are thousands of fun ways to exercise your brain. Do not blame everything on age or disease. Some memory issues may be the result of watching too much “reality TV”.

Apr 102012

As I read this blog post two things struck me. First the drug is Lariam not Larium (it is not a “U” it is an “A”). I usually expect my health care providers to spell the drug names correctly. To proceed and misspell it incorrectly six times in that post is pretty bad. So much for spell check. 🙂 The bigger issue is that Lariam is a nasty drug with bad side effects. There are much better choices in antimalarials, such as Malarone, for treating those types of infections. Malarone is more expensive but you should not end up in a phych ward with suicidal tendencies. I knew that the military was/is investigating Lariam and the Afgan murders. I will be interested to see how that works out, but in the minimum it should concern you that the military thinks Lariam could drive you to that point.

My concern is that those who are treating persistent Lyme are somewhat “bucking the system” and thus willing to take riskier drugs. I know you want to be better, but be careful. The drug I took and was very concerned about was Levaquin. Levaquin is effectively a black box warning drug; as with all in that class. I was very concerned about permanent damage and I do not think I was getting a good return on my investment in that class of drugs.

As always be informed about what you are taking and ask questions. Lyme doctors are already going to be living on the edge of treatment protocols so if you are seeing one be extra careful. Do not be afraid to ask questions, ask if another drug would work as well, or just say no.

Apr 062012

Teva is rushing to get an oral MS drug to market, and their drug is about as effective as a sugar pill. Today I read an article, although a little old, taking the stand that Laquinimod is an effective oral treatment for Multiple Sclerosis. I think the author is a shill and it was basically a paid advertisement. On the other hand Laquinimod while probably being a very expensive sugar pill will hopefully be a lot safer than Gilenya. I have no doubt that Gilenya is effective, but it may kill you in the process. Laquinimod sounds like a drug you can feel safe taking.

Also, I am apparently in the wrong business if you can sell sugar pills to people at exorbitant prices to make them feel better.

Apr 042012

As I have been reading all the stories lately about the growing lotto jackpot size, and ultimately went up to $500 million I thought it was worth discussing. I have played the lotto in the past and no surprise lost the lotto. I knew going in that I was going to lose, but it was only $1. I wanted some images to go with this post and I had some unredeemed lotto scratch offs that I received as a gift so I “reinvested” those into the lottery. I met a guy in line and we briefly discussed the lottery, and he commented that people who play the lottery are bad at math. I have thought that for a while. He also said that if he had won the big lotto he would have bought all the pants in the world; so we could all be pantless? I was glad he lost and was wearing pants; sometimes it is the small blessing you never even knew about! I told him other than being bad at math I think people play the lotto out of desperation and hope. In the end rather than being a “poor tax” or a “bad at math tax” it is probably a “desperation tax”. Sad.

MS has mostly been a frustration for me unlike many other people who have it much worse. On the other hand I think people play the lotto with their MS treatments too. I think the treatments themselves become a source of hope. At least I am doing something. I remember feeling that way when I started Rebif that it would stop the progression, and the disappointment when it was not working well. I quit Rebif because it did not work and it was a disappointment. As critical as I am of Tysabri I would probably be giving it a try if I was steadily declining. It is possible that I would consider taking Tysabri even if I tested positive for anti-JCV antibodies. Unlike the lotto with MS drugs you stand a much better chance of something happening (and much like lotto winners always go bankrupt MS medication can help get you to bankruptcy). It is sad that desperation sometimes drives our decisions.

Apr 022012

I was talking to Eriksgirl the other day about doing the MS walk this year. We have been out of the loop for a while and it would be nice to do it again. Plus we could pick up some swag. As it turns out we are a little late making our plans and our schedule conflicts. We will have to plan for next year.

Today, following on the heels of that, I got the annual MS 150 fundraiser email from my coworker. Please send a donation his way. I remember talking to him about his MS ride not long after my diagnosis. Wow, how time flies. I noticed, from his email, that this is his fourth year as Ride Marshal, the same length of time since my diagnosis with Lyme. Maybe someday I will do the 150 too, but again it will not be this year. Kudos to Chris!