Jan. 14, 2003
by Dawn Mercer
Melissa Resnick loves being pregnant, but it's not just motherhood she loves. It's also because she has Multiple Sclerosis, "When I was pregnant with Gabriella, I wanted to be pregnant for the rest of my life. ... You don't want the feeling to end."
That "feeling" is a total lack of MS symptoms. Melissa says she had no more weakness in her limbs, no more vision problems or dizziness. She's now expecting her second child, and again she reports she's symptom-free.
Doctor Rhonda Voskuhl, a neurologist at UCLA, credits the hormone estriol, "We found that estriol treatment of mice, compared to placebo treatment, made the disease a lot better."
Estriol is a hormone that increases during pregnancy. Researchers gave estriol to six women with early-stage Multiple Sclerosis, and all showed improvement.
Dr. Voskuhl says, "What we found was that there was a reduction in the MRI lesions, so the inflammatory regions of the brain went down when they were on treatment, went back up again when they were off treatment, and then went back down again when they went back on treatment."
Estriol didn't help those with more advanced MS. Researchers hope the hormone may eventually be used to delay the progression into the advanced stages of the disease.
In the meantime, Melissa says women with MS can always get estriol the "natural" way, even if relief only lasts nine months or so, "I don't ever remember having that feeling of health. And, then, all of the sudden, here's this nine-ten months, and you have that feeling."
When used in conjunction with other medications, estriol could actually
slow the debilitating effects of the Multiple Sclerosis. UCLA researchers
are about to conduct a larger second phase of the estriol study
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