Recently I wrote about a case of spontaneous remission that occurred with a friend from the past and I would love to be able to track her down and see how she’s doing now. But I doubt that’s ever going to happen as our life paths were quite different and she could be anywhere in the world.
However writing that piece reminded me of something else that one of my Neurologist’s said a few years back during one of my appointments. She didn’t question at all that I had been diagnosed with MS as I had a few lesions in several of the Magnetic Resonance Image scans that I brought along with me to our first meeting. I was excited to have her as my Neurologist as multiple sclerosis was her specialty and she only took certain patients so I felt lucky to get her.
It was something she said after looking at my brain scans that surprised me as we started talking at our appointment. The very first thing she said was that she was quite surprised that I had any symptoms of MS at all. Of course I was extremely curious to know why she felt this way so she explained that my MS lesions were all, as far as she could tell, deep brain lesions and that most people with these kinds of lesions did not have the typical MS symptoms. And in fact many of them didn’t have any symptoms at all. And in my case she guessed that I must also have some unseen damage in my spinal column as well that spinal scans didn’t show. She continued by adding that she wouldn’t be surprised if at some future point my MS might go into a long period of remission as this was something that she had encountered in other patients. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet but I’m still very hopeful that day will eventually come to pass.
With all of that said, I think that it is very important for anyone who has Multiple Sclerosis to have a talk with their Neurologist about just where on their MRI’s their lesions are showing up and what that means for their own long term prognosis. It may not change anything but I do think that it’s important to know and may add some information about your future MS progression. Remember the information about Multiple Sclerosis is changing everyday so cross examining your Neurologist may be something to consider especially if you haven’t done so for awhile!
My very first Neurologist, and the one who eventually diagnosed me, made a comment during one of my appointments that perhaps my Multiple Sclerosis would just burn itself out eventually. At the time I kind of thought that he was just trying to give me some hope in the face of this awful diagnosis. And now, just a few days ago, I had my first appointment with my fourth Neurologist since that time sixteen years ago. And he also stated that there was some evidence that MS can perhaps burn itself out over time.
Recently I was reading a report out of Australia where a man with a diagnosis of both Multiple Sclerosis and HIV was given one of the new generation antiviral drugs that are currently in the trial phase of their studies. And a remarkable thing happened, not only did it knock out his HIV which is what it was being tested for, it also seemed to cure him of his MS. Which leads one to believe that it is possible that the under lying cause of Multiple Sclerosis may be a virus, or retrovirus, after all. Scientist have long been looking at the Epstein Barr virus as a possible disease inducing event in MS but no conclusive evidence has yet linked the two positively.
We already know that virus’s like the Cold and Flu virus do in fact burn themselves out, thankfully, or we would all have been dead a long time ago, so if Multiple Sclerosis were confirmed to be from either a virus, or pieces of a retrovirus, then the answer to the question about MS being able to burn itself out should be yes. But even more important than that, is these new antiviral drugs that will soon be coming on the market, because if MS is being caused by a response to a viral attack then perhaps a cure for Multiple Sclerosis is only a few years away which of course is something that we have all prayed for as long as we’ve had this devastating disorder.
I do know this, if they need any volunteers for that clinical trial, I sure wouldn’t say no if asked to participate in it. This sounds just to promising to not be interested in following the future research!