Monday, August 18, 2014

Paleo and remission from Multiple Sclerosis: Is there something there?

Chad Vaccarino of the music group A Great Big World and Jack Osbourne, son of Ozzy Osbourne, have both seen dramatic improvements in the symptoms they experience from Multiple Sclerosis.  In the video above, Chad discusses his history with treating the disease from taking pharmaceuticals that he felt made him sicker to his use of the Paleo Diet, which he claims has thrown him in to remission.  Chad's Paleo story began when he watched the widely viewed TED talk given by Dr. Terry Wahls, a physician who went from wheelchair-bound to perfectly ambulatory after researching and implementing what is now known as the Wahls' Protocol for Multiple Sclerosis.

While stories like this seem to be fairly common in the internet world, many people are rightfully skeptical.  As the physician in the video states, there is no evidence that diet will help with Multiple Sclerosis.  This is true from a purely scientific standpoint, but therein lies the rub.  There is no hard scientific evidence that the Paleo diet is effective for Multiple Sclerosis, yet here we have 2 people who have absolutely nothing to gain from telling you that it helped them saying that they are essentially symptom free.  As I have mentioned before, however, science doesn't make truths, it identifies them.  What I mean by this is that a lack of evidence doesn't mean something isn't true, it just means we haven't identified it as being true.  A great example of this is that at one point there was no evidence that the Earth was round, yet it has always been round.

This is where we run in to trouble.  Just like you are unlikely to find a treasure if you aren't looking for it, you are unlikely to identify scientific truths unless you search for them via research studies.  Upwards of 65% of biomedical research is funded by companies who are looking for something that they can patent and, therefore, profit from.  Since you can't patent a diet, there is no financial incentive to study the effect of diet on health.  Despite being incredibly beneficial to us as a society, research in this area is unlikely to be carried out via normal means.  While Dr. Wahls has sent numerous grant proposals to the NIH, she has yet to receive funding.  This is where crowd-sourced funding can be quite beneficial, and where you come in.  If 0.3% of the US population each donated $1 to Dr. Wahls' foundation, she would have enough funding to carry out a clinical trial.

The link below allows you to donate to Dr. Wahls' foundation to help fund her work.  If you would like to donate, that's awesome.  What may seem like an insignificant amount of money to you can be significant if enough people give.  Even if you don't wish to donate, please share this blog article with others so that they may donate to help fund research that is unlikely to be carried out otherwise.  If you donate, donate in Dr. Wahls' name and thank her for her work.  Use the mailing address in the right margin as her address.

If you are interested in learning more about the Wahls Protocol for Multiple Sclerosis. check out her book The Wahls Protocol.  Also, if you use Amazon to purchase stuff, you can use the smile program and they will donate a portion of your purchase to a charity of your choosing.  Just select The Wahls Foundation as your charity of choice.  This in no way impacts the cost of your purchases.