The MS Wire - A Column by Ed Tobias

Florida, MS biomarker, Lemtrada, nasal spray

Diagnosed with MS at age 32 in 1980, Ed has written the “MS Wire” column for Multiple Sclerosis News Today since August 2016. He presents timely information on MS, blended with personal experiences. Before retiring from full-time work in 2012, Tobias spent more than four decades in broadcast and on-line newsrooms as a manager, reporter, and radio news anchor. He’s won several national broadcast awards. As an MS patient communicator, Ed consults with healthcare and social media companies. He’s the author of “We’re Not Drunk, We Have MS: A tool kit for people living with multiple sclerosis.” Ed and his wife split time between the Washington, D.C. suburbs and Florida’s Gulf Coast.

It’s Not a Crime to Ask for Help When You Need It

“Do you need help?” The question came from a 30-something woman after I’d finished loading some cartons into the back of my SUV. I automatically replied, “No thanks, all done.” But lifting and loading isn’t an easy job for me. My upper body strength is good, but my legs are…

Using Cannabis to Treat Your MS? A Word of Caution

People with MS who are using cannabis take heed: A research letter published in May in JAMA Network Open reports that calls to poison control centers about people intentionally or inadvertently using plant-based or processed cannabis products have been increasing over the past several years. Public health officials are…

Don’t Let MS Stop You From Grandparenting

My grandson, John, turned 5 in May, and my granddaughter, Hayden, turned 7 in June. I love being their Poppy, but I wish their Poppy didn’t have MS. I was diagnosed with MS in 1980, just over a year after our son, Geoff, was born. He and our grandkids have…

Sativex Study Reports Positive Results in People With MS

Could a cannabis spray be just what the doctor ordered to treat our MS symptoms? I’m talking about Sativex (nabiximols), which has been developed as a treatment for moderate and severe MS spasticity. Sativex combines THC, the chef intoxicant in marijuana, with CBD, marijuana’s nonpsychoactive component. It’s sprayed…

Was It Vertigo That Sent Me Tumbling the Other Day?

In the four decades I’ve lived with MS, I’d never before experienced a serious case of vertigo. I’ve occasionally felt a little spacey. In fact, mild dizziness while traveling home from a business convention is one of the things that led to my MS diagnosis in 1980. But vertigo is…

45 Years and Counting, Even With MS

Happy anniversary to us! My wife, Laura, and I are celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary this month. It’s hard to believe, especially because the divorce rate for someone with multiple sclerosis is higher than it is for a healthy couple. A review of records in the Danish MS-Registry a…

Should Dr. Google Help Guide Your Treatment?

Paging Dr. Google. OK, maybe I’m being overly dramatic, but The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Google and HCA Healthcare have struck a deal to share data and create healthcare algorithms. HCA plans to use the data system to improve operating efficiency, monitor patients, and even guide some…

How Do You Define an MS Cure?

“Why aren’t researchers doing more to find a cure for multiple sclerosis?” “Why isn’t more effort and money devoted to this?” I regularly read comments like these after I write a column about a new disease-modifying therapy (DMT) that’s either being tested or has just been approved. Some, like Multiple…

When an Unexpected Driving Test Causes a Pseudo-flare

My tough day started when Brenda asked, “Why do you use that scooter?” Brenda was sitting behind a desk at the Charlotte County Tax Collector’s Office in Florida, where my wife, Laura, and I hoped that transferring our driver’s licenses from Maryland to Florida would be an easy chore.

This New Tool Can Help You Choose Which DMT to Use

Sometimes it seems as if people with MS are asked to flip a coin to make what’s arguably the most important decision about their treatment: which disease-modifying therapy (DMT) to use. More than 20 DMTs are approved in the U.S., similar to what’s available in the rest of the…

What Do the Oscars and Our COVID-19 Response Have in Common?

What could the Academy Awards and COVID-19 possibly have in common for people with disabilities? Stay tuned, and I’ll tell you. First, the Academy Awards. The documentary “Crip Camp,” about a summer camp for young adults with disabilities, was up for an Oscar. Its co-director and co-star, Jim LeBrecht,…

Let’s Treat Older MS Patients With More Respect

As comic Rodney Dangerfield might have said, older people with MS “just don’t get no respect.” By older, I mean those of us who are 55 and up. By respect, I mean from researchers and some neurologists. So, as I approach my 73rd birthday, I have to tip my cap…

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