Changing the paradigm of progressive deterioration with multiple sclerosis. An Australian longitudinal cohort study reports remarkable improvements with lifestyle change
If you were diagnosed with an incurable neurological illness that causes progressive disability, and heard that not only could you arrest the decline but actually improve your health over subsequent years, most people would assume this was the result of some wonder drug, or risky procedure like bone-marrow transplantation. It would probably come as a shock to hear that a large cohort of people with such an illness, multiple sclerosis, could actually improve their condition by around 20% over five years simply by changing their lifestyle. This is exactly what a new study has found.
Researchers from the Emergency Practice Innovation Centre at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne have followed a large cohort of 274 people with MS who completed baseline questionnaires prior to undertaking a live-in week-long course promoting a plant-based wholefood diet plus seafood, regular exercise, adequate sun exposure, and stress reduction.
As has been shown for heart disease, such an ultra-healthy lifestyle resulted in dramatic improvements in the condition of the cohort, who were on average 18% better physically, 23% better mentally and 20% better in overall quality of life five years later.
Said Professor George Jelinek, lead researcher in the study, who himself was diagnosed with MS in 1999 but has adhered to the program and remains well:
“We know that MS is a lifestyle-related disease, so it makes sense to modify the risk factors that increase the risk of progression, namely Western diet, lack of sun exposure, lack of exercise, high cholesterol, depression, smoking and stress.
When people make these changes, they experience major improvements in their quality of life, and their physical and mental condition begins to improve. We were impressed to see the improvements continue to grow over five years, and look forward with interest to the ten year analysis in due course”.
The study, published in the international journal Neurological Sciences changes the paradigm of progressive deterioration with MS; physicians treating people with MS who use only disease-modifying drugs need to strongly consider engaging and empowering their patients in this lifestyle change.
An International Study is currently underway…
- Health-related quality of life outcomes at 1 and 5 years after a residential retreat promoting lifestyle modification for people with multiple sclerosis. Hadgkiss EJ, Jelinek GA, Weiland TJ, Rumbold G, Mackinlay CA, Gutbrod S, Gawler I. J Neurol Sci DOI 10.1007/s10072-012-0982-4 [PDF Download]
- Effect of a residential retreat promoting lifestyle modifications on health-related quality of life in people with multiple sclerosis. Li MP, Jelinek GA, Weiland TJ, Mackinlay CA, Dye S, Gawler I. Qual Prim Care. 2010;18(6):379-89. PMID 21294980
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