All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for June 2004

New approach to living with multiple sclerosis

Monday, 14 June  2004
Helena Webb

Professor George Jelinek of Perth Western Australia, has brought together reseach into MS and developed an adjunct treatment to conventional medication.

Diet, sun and meditation alongside medication is the way in which George Jelinek treats his disease. He's remained well and continues to work as a director of emergency medicine at Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital and has written a book based on his findings. His story is one of initial hopelessness followed by determination to find out what he could about treatment.

George's story really begins with his mother who was diagnosed with MS in her mid 40s. When she died aged 58, she was bedridden and unable to do anything for herself. His mother's experience was "awful" and George needed no prodding other than having witnessed that, to keep to his regime of diet and exercise. George also was diagnosed in his mid 40s. He worried that his mother's fate would be his own. He was fortunate, he says, that a good friend and colleague pointed out the connection between illness and emotional state. "I realised that if I continued feeling awful and pessimistic and hopeless, that it would actually make the disease worse."

A tonic to the immune systemProfessor Jelinek sat down to review the literature. He discovered that people who got enough sun, were less likely to get MS. He read the about the work of a Canadian doctor who in the 1940s put patients on a diet without animal fats. These people were followed over the next 50 years and and they remained well and walking into their 70s. It's a common impression that all people with MS will become wheelchair bound, says George, but in fact 5-10% of people stay well even by doing nothing. However, he believes that good diet, exercise, sun and meditation will improve those chances. Attitude is important when dealing with disease along with the amount of stress and how one copes with it.

George says of his own health that he hasn't changed since his initial diagnosis. He takes conventional drugs which he says are partially effective with around a 30% reduction in the rate of relapses. "People ought to use everything they can to combat the disease." One to two relapses a year could be expected in people who do nothing.

Geoge Jelinek has written a book, Taking control of MS which brings together his research into the disease. He talks about his experience in the interview below. As well there's a link to the story of Linda Whitton who talks about her experience following Prof Jelinek's approach.

Copyright © 2004, ABC