Health groups in­sult our in­tel­li­gence

The Compass - - OPINION -

When­ever we hear of­fi­cials and ‘ ex­perts’ telling us about one thing or an­other, we gen­er­ally ac­cept what they’re say­ing is of some ben­e­fit to us. Maybe we’re bet­ter in­formed about some­thing. Maybe we be­come in­ter­ested in some­thing we haven’t heard about be­fore.

Or maybe, just maybe, we might find a need to stand up and chal­lenge what they’ve said.

That’s es­pe­cially t rue when the of f icial spokesman for a na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion has said some­thing so patently un­rea­son­able, to let it go un­chal­lenged would be ir­re­spon­si­ble. Or worse. That is why it has be­come of para­mount and ab­so­lute im­por­tance to chal­lenge the joint state­ment de­liv­ered by Alain Beaudet of the Cana­dian In­sti­tute of Health Re­search (CIHR) and the Na­tional Mul­ti­ple Scle­ro­sis So­ci­ety of Canada.

The state­ment called upon the fed­eral govern­ment not to fund na­tional tri­als on the so-called Lib­er­a­tion Treat­ment for MS.

This space doesn’t per­mit me to go into any sig­nif­i­cant de­tail about both the test­ing and pos­si­ble treat­ment rel­a­tive to this new and rad­i­cal ap­proach to the con­ven­tional knowl­edge about how to treat MS, or even more sig­nif­i­cantly, what causes the dis­or­der.

I’m more concerned about the ra­tio­nale of the CIHR to is­sue such a di­rec­tive.

You don’t have to be knowl­edge­able about MS, or even your body, to come to the same con­clu­sion I have about their logic.

About the kind­est thing I can say is, it’s an in­sult to the in­tel­li­gence of any­one with more than a Grade 9 ed­u­ca­tion. Per­haps even younger!

The Aug. 31 tele­vi­sion an­nounce­ment by the CIHR did in­clude enough grace to con­cede that MS suf­fer­ers who have had the pro­ce­dure re­ported a re­duc­tion in their symp­toms.

The CHIR jus­ti­fies ask­ing Canada not to fund na­tional tri­als on the pro­ce­dure how­ever, by point­ing to three con­di­tions that they say sup­port their po­si­tion. They are: • There is no proof the pro­ce­dure re­duces the num­ber of plaques

• There is no proof the pro­ce­dure re­stores lost mus­cle tone

• and there is no proof the pro­ce­dure re­duces the num­ber of re­lapses suf­fer­ers may have.

How many view­ers would pick up on the ab­sur­dity o f t hat an­nounceme n t if they didn’t know the fol­low­ing rel­e­vant facts about MS?

Plaques are ar­eas of scar­ring at af­fected nerves. Mul­ti­ple Scle­ro­sis ac­tu­ally means “many scars.”

One thing we all know about scars is they don’t go away.

This new pro­ce­dure has never sug­gested that get­ting rid of scars was part of the process be­cause even a child can tell you any scar you have now will still likely be there for­ever.

Mus­cle tone takes a long time to lose. It’s also go­ing to take a long time to get it back. Again, there is ab­so­lutely no ex­pec­ta­tion that this pro­ce­dure will re­store mus­cle tone. It’s just try­ing to halt fur­ther dam­age.

There is no way to mea­sure the ef­fect on re­lapses un­til a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time passes. Re­lapses may oc­cur at any fre­quency, but one, per­haps two a year might be con­sid­ered av­er­age. They may just as likely be years apart.

If you had this pro­ce­dure in the last six months, how are you sup­posed to gauge its ef­fect on your re­lapses?

If any­thing, the joint state­ment is­sued by the CIHR and the MS So­ci­ety should teach us two things. Just be­cause a spokesman says some­thing, per­haps we should lis­ten very care­fully.

And if you’ve ever do­nated any money to the MS So­ci­ety, you might want to re­think that next time. At least un­til they learn enough about anatomy to stop putting their heads up some­place they ought not to be. The CIHR ought to know that al­ready.

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