Friday, 28 March 2008

Multiple sclerosis

Conductive Education not yet on radar

On Wednesday this week The Times (of London) included a twelve-page advertorial supplement, published in the name of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Multiple sclerosis: unpredictable and incurable – the facts about this devastating condition.

Like the fat boy in Dickens, the supplement wanted to make your flesh creep, but also to reassure that more research is needed and is already in hand (and luckily you can contribute to financing this by phone, form or Internet site).

And good luck to everyone involved in seeking to alleviate this range of horrid conditions, what the supplement calls ‘beating MS’, for the 85,000 people affected in the UK alone (up to a fifth of them under sixteen years of age).

There is real hope of developing much more effective treatments… Many MS experts believe that in our lifetimes MS remains long-term but is largely treatable…. It seems likely that early diagnosis and intervention with a combination of drug therapies, physiotherapy and exercise, good diet, counselling and quality social care will be the answer.

Er, is that it? Better drugs plus the mixture as before? Let’s sincerely hope that all these avenues are to be improved, both qualitatively and quantitatively, over the course of that most flexible measure ‘our lifetimes’.

‘Symptoms’ and ‘symptom relief’

As well as funding medical research, the MS Society has committed £2.5 million to a three-year research initiative. It puts it like this:

MS can cause a wide variety of symptoms and, to date symptom-relief is an area of research which has been under-explored. Research projects focusing on pin, fatigue, depression and many other symptoms are currently underway [sic] and it is hoped that ultimately therapies and treatments might be designed which allow people affected by MS to have more control over their symptoms and a better quality of life…

The future of MS therapies looks promising. There are currently more than 50 ongoing trials for MS treatments involving more that 30 different agents and there is promise that more effective, and more convenient therapies will soon be available.

Readers are invited to find out more about ‘symptom relief projects’ at

And Conductive Education…?

But what about something new for the children and adults involved, and their families (not that new, actually)? Twelve pages and nary a hint of Conductive Education. Nothing on the website either. It’s hardly as if the MS Society, its branches and many of its members, are unaware of Conductive Education.

How deep does the problem lie? Is it in this notion of MS as simply a physiological disease, with ‘symptoms’ and a consequential need for ‘symptom relief’, rather than a systemic disorder, with psycho-social components an inextricable part of the whole. Certainly the contents of this supplement in The Times, its cover displaying a montage of MRI scans of ‘brain with multiple sclerosis’, rather suggest the former mind-set.

Chicken or egg? Does that mind-set have to change before Conductive Education gets a serious look-in, or is it Conductive Education’s task to contribute to changing societal concepts of what constitutes disabilities (of any kind)? So far there is little discernible shift in the well trodden field of childhood developmental disorders – and a long was to go with later-acquired conditions.


Media Planet, Multiple sclerosis: unpredictable and incurable – the facts about this devastating condition. Independent supplement to The Times, 26 March 2008

More on ‘symptom-relief projects’
(funding appeal video)

The supplement was edited by the MS Society and funded by the Society in conjunction with Bayer Schering, Biogen Idec, Merck Serono, Teva, and Vibrogym.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Andrew,

    You are rising correct questions.

    I couldn't understand if you are a MS-er.

    I am (or I was). I am on a permanent MS remission from 1997 - no drugs, no doctors.

    I hope you will find some answers to your questions at pages of my web site MS natural cures.

    All best -

    Dr. Czes Kulvis