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MS magazines — the good, the bad and the ugly August 27, 2008

Posted by Rebecca Hoover in Publications.
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Is Momentum so bad because the National Multiple=

No doubt you know the feeling: you open up the most recent issue of your latest magazine devoted to multiple sclerosis (MS) and wish you had not bothered — because, frankly, the thing is condescending, simple-minded and depressing. Then too, it is filled with ads pushing dangerous but moderately effective MS drugs that make the drug companies a fortune. What can you do?

First of all, know you are not alone. It is not uncommon to hear the following from others with MS: “I place Momentum last. Motivator is a good one; and, of course, MSQR is excellent, with lots of news of on-going and upcoming trials. Neurology Now is more general but a great source of information.”

Here’s my view on MS publications in the United States:

Momentum — This magazine is produced by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) and  deserves the bottom place ratings it often receives. NMSS writes this magazine at a fourth or fifth grade level and is condescending — Momentum’s editor seems to look down on those with MS. Also, the magazine talks little about issues of vital interest to those with MS. For example, many with MS have been hard hit by the recession but the top managers at NMSS seem not to have noticed perhaps because, with their salaries, there is no recession. The top dog at NMSS gets paid more than $409,000 per year–and this is more than the president of the United States is paid. The President of the United States is paid $400,000 per year. Even the lower level officers at NMSS make more than most governors.  The lowest salary for an officer at NMSS is $180,000. To put this in context, the governor of a state, who is responsible of a budget of many billions (not millions), is paid $119,850.

The NMSS seems to be a little too cozy with the pharmaceutical companies too. This may be reason that NMSS recommends “Initiation of treatment with an interferon beta medication or glatiramer acetate should be considered as soon as possible following a definite diagnosis of MS with active, relapsing disease, and may also be considered for selected patients with a first attack who are at high risk of MS.”  This recommendation means big money for the pharmaceutical companies. A more reasonable recommendation comes from Mayo Clinic which on its web site says: “There is no cure for multiple sclerosis. Treatment typically focuses on combating the autoimmune response and managing the symptoms. Some people have such mild symptoms that no treatment is necessary.”

All in all, Momentum is good for recycling. Momentum is definitely the big, the bad and the ugly of MS magazines.

Motivator — Published by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA), the Motivator has some hints of condescension and some unnecessary dwelling on depressing details.  The magazine also largely ignores the very positive impact lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise can have on those with MS. Even so, the magazine has two sections that are worth reading. The first of these is an advice column by a professor of neurology. The second section worth reading is the description of trials and research results. It is interesting that MSAA has a budget that is one-tenth the size of the NMSS budget, but the MSAA magazine, Motivator, is ten times the magazine of the NMSS’s Momentum.

Multiple Sclerosis Quarterly Report (MSQR) — Published by the United Spinal Association, this is my favorite publication.  It has a scientific slant and contains great information on trials and research. If you can read only one publication, this is the one to choose.

Neurology Now — Unfortunately, this periodical has little information on MS and is often condescending. It probably is not worth the read if you are already reading the Multiple Sclerosis Quarterly Report and Motivator.

All in all, I recommend avoiding Momentum unless you want to be irritated, insulted and depressed. On the other hand, Motivator and the Multiple Sclerosis Quarterly Report are definitely worth a read. All of these publications are available for no cost to those with MS in the United States. Because even the best of the MS publications tend to be drug oriented, however, it is wise to balance reading of them with views from Dr. George Jelinek and The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book written by Dr. Roy Swank.

The best option for the MS patient, who wants to stay sane, is to join the Facebook page of Professor George Jelinek, M.D. This group is called “Taking Control of Multiple Sclerosis” or “Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis”. Here you can keep abreast of Dr. Jelinek’s thinking — he regularly issues short bulletins relating to recent research and important information on MS treatments. His web site, Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis, is also excellent and his ‘what’s new’ section is worth a weekly check. Best of all, Dr. Jelinek provides regular tips which help those with MS stay healthy and he provides objective information on MS drugs. He never ever pushes these dangerous drugs.  On the other hand, he pushed and prodded when the research showed that a simple and safe approach such as taking Vitamin D3 supplements can help not only prevent but also treat MS.

Please let me know if you find my blog helpful. Please add a comment. What did you like? What would you like added? Thanks! Together we can change the way the world views MS. Please also join the Intelligent Guide to MS page on Facebook. I will use that page to make timely posts on new research and other issues likely to be of interest to others.

Please remember to consult with your doctors about how to stay as healthy as possible. Nothing here should be interpreted as medical advice. Instead, please use the information you find here in your discussions with your doctor.

Copyright 2009 Rebecca Hoover

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Tags:  Multiple Sclerosis, Publications, MS

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