The Mutliple Sclerosis Society Of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
5th October 1999
I have had a number of Emails in response to your posting of my previous letter on your web page. I am sure everyone will understand that, with the volume of mail I receive, it is pretty well impossible for me to reply to everyone individually, so I hope this will do instead.
The emails had a variety of different views about the inclined bed approach, from people who have felt benefit to people who think it is yet another in the litany of therapeutic claims for MS that come to nothing.
Some people seen to think that I or the MS Society are opposed to the therapy. Not So; like you, we don't have enough information to know whether or not it works. In my last letter I mentioned some of the reasons why it would be difficult to conduct a trial on the treatment. I would highlight two factors: the first is that this doesn't seem specific to MS and it is practically impossible to conduct a trial of something that is thought to work for a whole range of unrelated conditions. The second is that we have not been able to find a reputable scientist who thinks that your hypothesis is testable, or who has another hypothesis for why it might work - on the contrary, all of those we have spoken to are highly sceptical. This is one of the things that leads me to wonder whether the different hypothesis might prove fruitful. I wonder, for example, what a researcher in physiotherapy might think about posture change and its mechanical effects on the body?
The Society's view about alternative and complimentary treatments is that by definition, most people with MS are adults and are entitled to make decisions for themselves. I am sure you will continue to make the information freely available and encourage people who want to try the treatment to talk to their doctors. If something starts to suggest convincingly that there is a specific effect for ms, then we may be able to do something more in the future.
With every good wish.
Yours sincerely, Peter Cardy Chief Executive
25 Effie Road, London SW6 1EE
Tel 0171 610 7171 FAX 0171 736 9861
MS National Help line: Free phone 0808 800 8000
Chairman: Sara Phillips Hon Treasurer: Maurine Dickson Medical Advisor: Professor Alan Thompson
Registered Charity 207495