Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bits and Bites

A co-worker was telling me today about her husband's back problems and other ailments including the trouble with his rotator cup. She said it a second time so I knew I hadn't misheard her. When I said, "You mean rotator cuff", we laughed and she said "Is that what it's called?" That led to other mis-spoken words. She told me about going to the mechanic and saying there was something wrong with the "cadillac converter". Apparently everyone at the garage had a good laugh.

In other trivial things over the past couple of days, I was preparing my lunch for work and slicing some strawberries. I discovered that on the inside they look remarkably like brains. So I took some pictures. Cool. Then I started slicing the carrots, but realized the pics of them wouldn't come out well as they needed a contrast and I couldn't find my food colouring.

I was also wondering about my flour beetle in its bug observation container. So while wondering about what to feed it and looking on the net for information, i discovered it's not actually a flour beetle. It's a warehouse beetle. Not really a big difference between the two unless you're another beetle, but that means I have to change its name from Guy LaFleur to Bea Wear. He, she, or it, is the beige worm like thing in the bottom right corner of the flour.

After reading Joan's post on A Short in the Cord about hearing peepers while outside last night, I phoned the Museum of Natural History today to see if any peeper reports had come in yet for Nova Scotia. Nope. But the curator I spoke with said he's expecting the first reports this weekend from the south-west part of the province. We've had a westerly wind since last night, milder temps, and westerly winds forecast for tomorrow as well, so I expect things will begin to warm up presently. The snow is finally going.

On Monday I had a meeting with my neurologist and one of the clinic nurses to take a look at the MRIs I've had for the drug study I've been in for 10 years. No significant change in the pics, which is a good thing. Of course I asked why we still look at the MRIs if they are only good for diagnosis and the number of lesions doesn't statistically correspond with clinical symptoms. To see if the meds are working is the answer. That's the simple answer. I've been reading and trying to decipher technical stuff for the past couple of days so I can post something about this, but my brain seems to fog up after a few minutes. too many big words, I suspect. Dr. Murray did say that a good clinician is critical to assessing MS progression until we are better able to determine the chemical changes going on during an attack, a relapse, etc. And he also said that the next step in MRI-type picture taking will be actually measuring the chemical changes so that we won't have pics to look at but graphs.

So the question remains, why don't the lesions correspond with disability or clinical symptoms? it turns out there's more going on with those lesions than meets the eye, or MRI, in this case. And this is why they are trying to develop a way to measure the chemical changes going on. More of one chemical or process, the worse it is for you, or the better. And even though we can only see individual lesions, we know that MS is a whole brain disease. Well a white -matter -of- the -brain disease, mostly, and we just can't "see" physically or chemically what is going on. So while some processes are going on in a specific lesion, maybe the rest of your brain is trying to deal with it as well. We do know that early on in the disease there is a cycle of repair/relapse/repair/ that gets harder for the body to continue as the disease progresses. You can only replace the duct tape so many times before the wire is toast, then axonal damage occurs. More chemical reactions going on with that and we can't see that yet, either.

What we need is a spectrometer for the brain. anyone wanna give that one a try?



Charles-A. Rovira said...

From Guy LaFleur to Bea Wear?

You are too flipping precious for words. :-)

The thing about MRIs is that the damage you see (or hopefully don't see) is only tangentially related to the damage you experience.

Guess who went to a self help group meeting yesterday and got shown something more suited for medical [mal]practitioners than to us lowly MSers. It didn't sail entirely over my head ... but damn near.

One case history concerned one middle aged man who was supposed to be a 'normal' control for some cancer therapy, but ended up being followed for his MS for the next 13 symptom-free years, despite his deteriorating condition as evidenced on the annual MRIs!

But I like the fact that MRIs are making lumbar punctures unnecessary for diagnosis though.

However, I wish somebody would help me read my MRIs with me so that I wouldn't feel so lost.

On the positive side, I discovered, after the meeting that somebody is working on an inhalable version of their drug. (Yahoo! I'm not just an insane person muttering about things that don't make any sense.)

Shauna said...

Thank Dog someone got that joke. Actually,I knew you would Charles, you little croaker, you.

The case history you mention is interesting not just in and of itself, but because it may be evidence of the brain's neuroplasticity. If he had a whack of lesions that kept on coming but no clinical symptoms, his brain was adjusting quite well to the onslaught. "That way is blocked, so I'll go this way" is what it was thinking, so to speak.

On the other hand,there are people
with no lesions or apparent damage on MRI but very obvious clinical evidence of MS. As I mentioned in my post there is a pile of stuff going on in our brains that we can't see or measure right now.

Luckily, I've never had a lumbar puncture, though I did like the Spinal Tap movie. And the inhalable drug is a good idea. From the olfactory centre to the rest of the brain is a shorter route. I know they're working on a pill form too, of some treatment. Not sure if that's part of the Myelin Project or not.

Bea Wear is doing just fine, by the way.


Nervus Rex said...

LOL at your little beetle friend!

I am fascinated by your information here, Shauna! A lot of things make more sense in light of this research! Thanks for sharing :)

the other one

mdmhvonpa said...

I suppose no news is good news with the MRI ... but I always wonder if they are actually making most of this up as they go along.

Shauna said...

Thanks for stopping by Shawna....I appreciate your thoughts. And yes, some things make more sense eventually.

Yeah, no news is good news in this case. What gets me is that there's stuff going on that we can't see. But wait, we can!! there will be a post soon about MR Spectroscopy. I had another lightbulb moment this afternoon and am compiling all of the info I have gleaned from this week's "research" for a post in the next 24 hours or so.

Stay tuned. Same bat channel.


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