A round-up of current research summaries with my comments and interpretations:
This is an interesting study summarizing various clinical trials that were focused on promoting behavioral changes in individuals with MS https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31469358. It is gratifying to see more research in this area. Some of the rehabilitation interventions included helping participants engage in more healthy behaviors. The researchers of this study encouraged further research to be conducted in order to better understand the benefits seen from interventions that promote behavior changes.
Surprisingly, with the numerous disease-modifying therapies available to those with MS, there is still a lack of efficacy and understanding surrounding these treatments https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31469354. The authors of this paper suggest more attention to treatments to prevent the decline of cognitive and physical abilities commonly seen in individuals with MS is needed. Improved cardiovascular health, a clean diet (especially less sugar and more vegetables), and an adequate amount of sleep were all emphasized as ways to prevent cognitive and physical decline.
Have you recently changed your exercise program, improved your diet quality, or prioritized more time for sleep? How has this impacted your daily life and the symptoms associated with your illness? Please comment below. If you are interested in learning about the lifestyle and diet interventions I use to manage my own illness and help my patients, pick up my book, The Wahls Protocol®. You will be better equipped to maintain a healthy brain and life.
In recent years, there have been many new disease-modifying therapies made available for the treatment of MS https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Trends+in+Prices%2C+Market+Share%2C+and+Spending+on+Self-administered+Disease-Modifying+Therapies+for+Multiple+Sclerosis+in+Medicare+Part+D.
Sadly, there has also been a dramatic rise in the cost of these treatments over the past 10 years.
I urge you to discuss with your treating physician therapeutic diet, smoking cessation, and regular exercise/physical therapy as interventions that may promote the best health outcomes.
Before committing to starting disease-modifying drug treatment (that carry the risk of fatal complications and also may be difficult to discontinue because of the risk of rebound), I urge you to consider a three-month pause while you make a 110% commitment to seeing what a therapeutic diet such the Wahls™ Protocol can do to lessen your autoimmune disease activity.
Make sure you are in close contact with your medical team, who should monitor your progress.
Even if you do decide the disease-modifying drugs are necessary, using a therapeutic diet and lifestyle will improve your likelihood of still working, walking, and being mentally clear in the coming years. It will also lower the risk of comorbid problems like obesity, heart disease, mental health problems, and cancer.
A few of the most common symptoms seen in patients with MS include fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness. Individuals who experience these symptoms may have an increased risk for accidents and have difficulty completing their daily activities. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31444679
How have you managed your fatigue levels?
In what ways have you modified your daily schedule due to the fatigue?
This is an interesting article outlining the potential use of octopuses as lab samples in research studies investigating ways to treat MS https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=When+an+octopus+has+MS%3A+Application+of+neurophysiology+and+immunology+of+octopuses+for+multiple+sclerosis. The authors compare and contrast the brains of a human and an octopus and what the future holds for incorporating these animals into MS research.
Colors rock! Anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant, are found in many fruits, vegetables, and even spices and herbs https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31443476. This article discusses the potential benefits of eating an anthocyanin-rich diet for individuals with neurodegenerative diseases. Likely you would benefit by adding more anthocyanins (especially purple, blue, and black vegetables and berries) to your diet. I urge you to learn more about the diet I teach in the Wahls Protocol https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Trends+in+Prices%2C+Market+Share%2C+and+Spending+on+Self-administered+Disease-Modifying+Therapies+for+Multiple+Sclerosis+in+Medicare+Part+D to increase the amounts of anthocyanins in your foods and experience their neuroprotective benefits.
Patients diagnosed with MS often experience difficulty with their gait and balance https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Protective+stepping+in+multiple+sclerosis%3A+Impacts+of+a+single+session+of+in-place+perturbation+practice. This paper highlights the importance of protective step characteristics to decrease the risk of falling and improve the safety for these individuals.
Have you felt as though your balance has been off? Has your illness affected your walking and balance? Did you fall in the last year?
Most people with MS will benefit considerably from adding balancing training to their exercise and rehabilitation program. Learn more about how you can use exercise, electrical stimulation, and rehabilitation to reduce your fall risk and improve your walking ability from our e-stim course https://terrywahls.com/estimcourse/
Individuals with MS have very different levels of disability and symptoms from the disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30711764. However, this paper discusses how certain factors may contribute to higher levels of disability. Higher BMI was predictive of a slower walking speed, greater levels of depression, and higher global disability. Smoking also predicted higher global disability and greater levels of depression. Our health behaviors are important predictors of disability and can be addressed without spending $50,000 to $100,000 per year, the annual cost of disease-modifying drugs. Smoking and BMI are both modifiable lifestyle factors everyone with MS should change.
When you were diagnosed with MS, did your neurologist talk to you about how important it is to stop smoking and to keep your weight down–or did they limit the discussion to taking drugs alone? More neurologists are telling their patients that stopping smoking, exercising daily, and following a therapeutic diet like the Wahls™ diet is as good as a drug-based disease-modifying treatment (depending on the severity of initial symptoms and lesion load on the MRI).
Have you ever considered quitting smoking or fully embracing a diet change?
Please discuss how your specialists are talking to you about the role of health behaviors in your wellness and your treatment plans.
The authors of this study address the usability of telerehabiltation programs for patients with multiple sclerosis who are severely disabled: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Designing+Telerehabilitation+System+for+Multipronged+Exercise+in+Patients+with+Multiple+Sclerosis. They found that all patients could successfully complete the exercise programs and discuss the potential use of at-home exercise programs to improve strength and endurance.
We would like to know if you would take advantage of a telerehabilitation program, which would be done independently at home. Which components of your strength and mobility would you like to improve upon? More physical therapists are offering telehealth services.
Have any of you used telehealth from a physical therapist?
This article addresses the ways in which fatigue has impacted so many people with neurological diseases https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29027539. The authors stress how non-pharmacological approaches are promising for the management of the high levels of fatigue experienced by these patients. Has fatigue made your daily life more challenging? Are you looking for other ways to lower your fatigue and get back to your typical routine? Reduction in fatigue is one of the first things that people experience when they adopt the Wahls™ diet at 110%. Often people report that when they finally fully committed to the program and meticulously followed the diet, their energy steadily increased and their mood improved, as did their mental clarity.
Did any of you see a big uptick in your energy when you finally committed to fully (110%) embracing the diet?
Tell us what happens when you move from mostly following the diet to being all in.
What has happened to your family life since being diagnosed with a serious autoimmune condition(s)? Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis can be extremely challenging not only for that individual, but also for their partner. This article discusses how both individuals may experience a poorer quality of life, which can lead to relationships breaking down over the course of the disease https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/hsc.12822.
However, there is evidence of creating healthier relationships and increasing the quality of life in both partners by modifying lifestyle-related risk factors. Improving mental and physical health has been shown to be associated with improved communication and a greater sense of closeness among partners.
I want to hear from you about the journey both you and your partner have had since the diagnosis of your illness. Have there been specific challenges and how have you both overcome these?
Many find that implementing the Wahls™ diet and lifestyle as a family has lead to improved energy and better moods.