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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Breaking News: Mama Cow's Revenge?

This has been an amazing week for news in my world. What, you didn't hear it? You are not aware of the news that the interferons used by tens of thousands of Americans with multiple sclerosis has been declared ineffective? Or the news that dairy products in fact weaken bones and contribute to osteoporosis?  I'm not surprised.

I'm talking about the news involving multiple sclerosis, its treatment, and the shattered faith of so many doctors and patients who invested not only their money and time in these injections ... setting up the every-other-night or once-a-week injection, attending round table dinners to discuss the side effects and how to manage them, reading and researching efficacy on the web and in research study reports...but risked their health and immune systems, their employment, and their sense of self-awareness.

You didn't know that your insurance premiums have no doubt been rising each year because the cost of these pharmaceutical treatments has been rising dramatically? Or you thought those higher premiums perhaps meant improved treatments and so would be a worthy investment on your part?

The liquid solutions being injected by tens of thousands of people with multiple sclerosis, called interferons, have not changed their formula in the past decade. The pharmaceuticals have changed to a higher gauge needle (a smaller size) for patient comfort, but surely that change wouldn't justify a doubling of price over the past six years, would it? A price that was already approaching, and now exceeds, $3000.00 a month? A price that some patients must pay out of pocket, because they do not have insurance for medications ... and others must pay an exorbitant percentage of, because their insurance sets caps on medication expenses? It's a price that many with good health insurance are fortunate to pay only a small fraction of as a co-pay, or a price that causes some patients to refuse the treatment at the expense of criticism from others who believe they are choosing, then, to progress more rapidly toward immobility, and more expensive care.

Researchers have for years been trying to find one confirmed cause for what they call "Multiple Sclerosis." They are most often funded by pharmaceutical companies who of course want to be on board with the discovery, and ready to develop new formulas that will combat this disease. But the researchers cannot agree ... some say it is an auto-immune disorder, which the interferons try to treat by interrupting the T-cells of our immune system from mistakenly attacking our own myelin-sheathed nerves. Some say it is a metabolic disorder, related to the typical European and American diet, filled with inflammation-producing fats and proteins once thought to be part of healthy nutrition. Others say that it is environmentally and/or geographically caused, and still others believe it is an unidentified virus that, once discovered, can be treated with different medications.Until there is an identified cause, there can be no marketable cure.

Perhaps the higher prices being charged by the pharmaceuticals are then funding forward-looking research, developing the oral replacements for these pesky injections? Surely it took some know-how to get the irritating solution that causes pain, inflammation of the skin and tissue, and hormonal flue-like symptoms into a formula that could be tolerated by the human digestive track without causing even more intolerable symptoms. Isn't it ironic, though, that these new oral meds operate on the same premise as their predecessors, the injections? They are following the same path; they are still interferons, after all. The goal is to defeat our immune system response to perceived danger. Unfortunately, some danger, like cancer, is real. We need a healthy immune system, not a confused or suppressed one.

The links below are some of the news articles that didn't appear "above the fold" in your morning news, nor were splashed across your television screen as "Breaking News." Please do take some time to read them. It is news that matters to the 400,000 or more People with Multiple Sclerosis (now called PWMS) in America, and to their doctors, and to their families, friends, colleagues and co-workers.

And the dairy story? Many of us stopped eating white Wonder Bread, advertised 'back in the day' as one that would "Build strong bodies twelve ways" when we realized that less processed grains were more nutritional grains. But our society has persisted in telling us that dairy is an essential nutrient in our lives ... especially in our children's formative years, while their bones are still growing.

But the news this week forgives those of us who turned our back on that all-American menu of a glass of milk with each meal. Some of us simply reduced the fat by turning to skim or low fat versions of the white milk on our tables. But it is still milk. Cheese is still milk. Cream is still milk. Butter is still milk. Ice Cream is still milk. Some of us stopped consuming most dairy products in our diets. People in our circles of friends and family were not necessarily pleased with our choice. The dairy industry fought back, with billboards and posters and T-shirts that read, "Got Milk?"

Milk and other dairy products are now recognized for more than just the fat they added unnecessarily to our bodies. They are now seen as harmful products that will eliminate the bone-building cells in our body. Dairy  products come from bovine animals: cows. Cows have a different biological system for processing food. In their systems, bacterias harmful to the bone-building cells in a human system live, and thrive. In our systems, they destroy.

The consumption of dairy products has now been linked to an increase in risk for osteoporosis. Please see the related articles below for more information about this now-proven link between cow's milk and human vulnerability. We ought not mess with Mother Nature's rules.

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  1. What an interesting post! Perhaps I should have read this BEFORE having the nightcap of vanilla ice cream. Ah-h-h! But how it does relieve the symptoms of the south Georgia heat!

    I truly wonder what will be discovered next that we all grew up on but now is being determined 'bad'! C'est le vie!

  2. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment, Sharla. I can recommend rainbow sherbert as a substitute for ice cream ... or a fruit juice cooler, perhaps. Or, just smaller portions 'til you can talk yourself into switching to something else.

    You'll figure out what is best for you. Clearly, all the experts disagree with each other. It makes for interesting conversation, though.

    Be well, Sharla.

  3. Just found your reply. . .I would have a really rough, I mean ROUGH, time persuading my husband to give up the vanilla ice cream!

  4. Terry I love this read and enjoy your style of writing, Keep up the good work on bringing the awareness to the front of the class.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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