More MS news articles for May 2000

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month Opens Discussion for Safe and Effective Alternatives to Pharmaceutical Treatments

The Key to Treating MS May be as Simple (or as Complicated) as Identifying and Removing Harmful Stimuli

Thursday May 4, 10:13 am Eastern Time
Company Press Release
SOURCE: The Atkins Center

NEW YORK, May 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Multiple sclerosis (MS), a difficult to diagnose and often-misunderstood medical condition, has yet to be satisfactorily treated with pharmaceuticals. The success of existing treatments, which are often accompanied by harmful side effects and adverse reactions, is still highly questionable. As May, Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, begins, doctors are encouraged to reconsider alternative approaches to this disease.

MS is a degenerative disease of the central nervous system that initially causes loss of balance and blurred vision, and can eventually lead to paralysis. The disease is believed to be caused by a natural chemical found in the body called interferon gamma, which shields the immune system against viruses and bacteria. In MS patients, though, interferon gamma wrongly causes the immune system to attack healthy cells. The result is the destruction of the myelin sheath coating the nerves in the brain and spinal cord, leading to irregularities between nerve cells.

While conventional medicine considers MS a progressive advancing illness, doctors at The Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine believe that the disease will reverse itself once the cause has been identified and removed.

``What many medical practitioners fail to consider is what actually is causing the onset of MS in their patients,'' said Robert C. Atkins, M.D., founder and medical director of The Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine.

Possible causes of MS include silver dental fillings and other dental toxins, stealth bacteria, hypoglycemia (unstable blood sugar), food allergies and vitamin deficiencies.

The conventional drugs of choice, forms of beta interferon, are prescribed by mainstream physicians at over 100,000 times the physiologic dose (the amount of interferon your body puts out when subjected to stress). Very often the side effects of such a high dose-- including fatigue, chills, fevers, aches and sweating--lead to the discontinuation of the therapy.

Corticosteroids, which relieve inflammation in the central nervous system, are also commonly used to treat MS. However, they are life-long therapies that cause a variety of side effects ranging from vision problems, mood changes, nervousness, weight gain, elevated blood pressure and joint pain.

As published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1997, spontaneous recovery with these drugs is rare, and there are no known pharmaceutical therapies that promote regeneration or are able to reverse neurological damage.

``An MS diagnosis, when approached with the mainstream treatment of choice, means being forced to live with an unpredictable physical condition for the rest of your life,'' said Atkins.

``Because complementary medicine works to encompass all aspects of health, our approach at the Center has been to try to find as many causes of MS as we can by observing our patient's progress after removing problems that could be causing the MS. The theories are confirmed by the fact that we can stabilize or improve the adverse symptoms in the majority of our MS patients,'' said Atkins.

Dr. Atkins treats his MS patients with a low-carbohydrate diet where simple sugars, milk, yogurt, soft drinks, all caffeinated beverages, distilled alcohol and foods with trans-fats are eliminated. In addition to the diet, he recommends a list of vita-nutrients including B12, D3, fish oil, octacosanol, L-carnitine, coenzyme Q10, pantethine and vitamin C, among others.

Another successful treatment protocol Dr. Atkins uses is calcium AEP, a chemical found in the protective covering around nerve cells. The compound works by carrying calcium to the nerve cell membrane, where it prevents the electricity involved in nerve transmissions from dissipating. ``It appears to work as a neurotransmitter and thus seems the ideal treatment strategy for MS and other autoimmune neurological disorders,'' said Atkins.

For many MS patients who have been treated with Dr. Atkins' protocols, improvements were life changing. Linda Houseal, a 51-year-old MS patient at the Atkins Center, was diagnosed with the disease in 1979. Without treatment, her symptoms subsided for almost 17 years. However, in 1995 they returned with a vengeance. She suffered from severe fatigue, memory loss, blurred vision, and tingles in her foot, among others. ``I couldn't even read a paragraph. By the time I got to the end, I couldn't remember how the sentence began,'' said Houseal.

Quickly becoming discouraged with treatment methods suggested by conventional medicine -- hospitalization, steroids and other pharmaceuticals -- Houseal turned to complementary medicine. She first visited the Atkins Center in 1995 and immediately began the strictest form of the Diet and a vita-nutrient regimen. In addition to her treatment at the Center, Houseal began bee venom therapy. Her symptoms slowly improved, ``I was literally on the couch for two and a half months. Atkins and bee venom brought me back. Before treatment, the big event of my day was walking down the stairs,'' said Houseal.

Today, using Atkins treatment protocols for MS, Houseal has drastically reduced her need for bee venom therapy. Her symptoms have virtually disappeared and she is living an active life, having received her graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and now working as a full-time nurse practitioner. ``People don't realize that I was as sick as I was. I've come a long way.''

Robert C. Atkins, M.D., a cardiologist and graduate of Cornell University Medical School, is the founder and executive medical director of The Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine. The Atkins Center, which was established in New York City in 1970, successfully treats a wide variety of disorders including heart and other cardiovascular disorders, cholesterol levels, multiple sclerosis, hypoglycemia, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, asthma, chronic fatigue, immune system disorders, stress and weight problems. Visit his website at http://www.atkinscenter.com.

SOURCE: The Atkins Center