A Cure For MS - But Wait

This is not meant as a cruel tease for people suffering - and I do mean "suffering" - from MS, or multiple sclerosis. This is meant to show two things:

One - the sometimes cruel way headlines can be misleading

Two - the way medical science is making progress on some major diseases

This came about from a headline on Vox.com:

"This isn’t hype: Canadian doctors just reversed severe MS using stem cells".

I am not even singling out Vox.com, a lot of medical reports are presented to the public like this from news outlets.


The story is factually true (as far as I know), however, the implication is that bingo, we can now reverse MS. In this particular case, yes - but in general, no. Maybe someday, but not now.

So the inference from the headline is a actually hype, although factually correct as far as it goes.

Reading the story, we find out that in fact this very aggressive technique worked as described in one case. The technique is applicable to about 5% of MS patients, it is of course costly, tough on the patient, and usually it results in a stabilization of the disease, sometimes with an improvement to a milder form of MS. The longer-term effects are not known, being a new treatment.

Promising news for some, but sadly not a cure for all.


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