Don’t believe everything that you read. MS is not a death sentence. There was a lot of publicity this week about Jack Osbourne’s onset of Multiple Sclerosis . While I feel bad for the Osbourne family, MS is hardly the death sentence that the article implies. In fact, I would go as far as to say that there has never been a better time in the history of the disease to have Multiple Sclerosis.
According to Zieve & Jasmin (2011), although the disorder is chronic and incurable, life expectancy can be normal or almost normal. Furthermore the same publication suggests that patients with MS can continue to work, walk and maintain a normal quality of life for twenty years or more.
However, the perception by the Osborne family and the staff at People Magazine is a perception that is shared by the majority of newly diagnosed patients that I meet. People are afraid of the unknown. In the case of the Osbourne’s, this is not the first time that MS has been a family scare. “Family unity became even more paramount for the Osbournes in 1992 when Ozzy was diagnosed as suffering from multiple sclerosis, announced his retirement and played a farewell tour. Six months later a second opinion pronounced the diagnosis a false alarm, but the family has only now publicly acknowledged the scare” (Gittins, 2001).
Given the experience with Ozzy in 1992, it is not surprising that in 2012 the Osbourne’s think that MS is a death sentence. Back in 1992, there wasn’t much that doctors could do for MS. Betaseron was approved for relapsing remitting MS and other interferon treatments were about to come to market. The message that I would send to the Osbourne’s is that science has come a long way in twenty years. There is plenty of hope on the horizon. For example, I have been on Tysabri since 2007 and have not had an MS relapse since. To see me today, you would not guess that I am a person living with MS. My hope is to spread the word that this disease is not a death sentence and to research the treatments available to help slow the progression of this horrible disease.
You can find the full People article about Jack’s diagnosis here: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20605555,00.html
Gittins, I. (2001, May 25). Sharon osbourne tells ian gittins how she took a booze-soaked rock’n’roll has-been and turned him into a £40m industry The Guardian, Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/friday_review/story/0,3605,495951,00.html
Zieve, D., & Jasmin, L. (2011, September 26). National center for biotechnology information. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001747/