Vita Christian Brandau (English)
In August / September of 1998, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) after receiving inpatient treatment for diplopia at Essen University Hospital (I underwent a three-day high-dose pulse therapy, which worked well for me). – Then, in 2000, a flare-up occurred (Lhermitte’s sign plus partial aphasia) and my GP prescribed a high-dose oral prednisone therapy (with “tapering” and related side effects). In addition, he recommended further treatment by a neurologist.
However, I did not follow his advice and instead went to see an old non-medical practitioner who is specialized in the treatment of MS. To put it in a nutshell: Her approach includes various “naturopathic” (I hate this term) products, low-dose prednisone (daily) as well as low-dose dexamethasone (in case of flare-ups). [You might wonder how that old bag gets hold of a large supply of prescription drugs, well: She has bribed a neurologist…] – As time went by, my state of health stabilized, and even improved, without any further damages emerging. I came to realize that I would need that old woman’s knowledge for my future, as she would not be around forever.
Hence, in August 2010, I started to sit in on her consultations at her practice. By March 2011, I had observed her treating about 100 patients, and I took stock for the first time. Conclusions:
a) About 50% of those MS patients were undergoing a parallel therapy with beta interferons or glatiramer acetate.
b) In all patients, the disease progression came to a halt (independent of undergoing a basic therapy), no matter at what stage each of their medical condition had originally been! – Even better off were basically the MS patients with no conventional basic therapy (including me) because they / we were not suffering any side effects.
Around mid-2012, it became clear to me that the ‘natural medicine stuff’ is pretty much a negligible factor (sure, this ‘stuff’ can activate some astonishing regenerative processes, but it cannot stop MS itself). In April of 2013, I left the abovementioned practitioner’s office due to irreconcilable differences on a personal level between me and that old woman, hence autonomously continuing my cortisone therapy as follows (by the way, I did not have to bribe anybody for I simply explained the situation to an understanding doctor whom I am friends with):
1) 1.25 mg to 2.5 mg prednisone daily
2) 8 mg dexamethasone every day for three days as emergency stash in case of an acute exacerbation
After I left the non-medical practitioner’s office, I wanted to share my experiences and findings with other MS patients. As a non-physician, I knew, however, that recommending a specific therapy is against the law; plus, I was (and still am) not able to produce evidence for any of my assertions. Besides, there is an abundance of alternative therapy advice on the internet, so what I have to say is, at first glance, not really more substantial than any of the assertions made by the multitude of self-proclaimed healers. Therefore, I decided to ‘hide’ my findings in a history essay by outlining historical developments, challenging research stereotypes and exposing logical contradictions.
@the history of the discovery of the glucocorticoid therapy: Following an advanced training in homeopathy in the early 1990s, the abovementioned non-medical practitioner began wondering whether it was the custom to prescribe pharmaceuticals in too high doses. This thought was further fueled by her knowing that, before the late 1980s, MS therapy had been based on much lower doses. – She then started experimenting on herself with a muscle relaxant of which she took a quarter of the recommended dose, resulting in her being virtually immobilized for one and a half days. ‘Fortunately’ this woman suffered severely from rheumatoid arthritis; in one case of an exacerbation, she took a single dose of 5 mg prednisone and noticed that all symptoms were regressing over the course of 24 hours. – She then applied this finding directly to her MS patients. She also experimented further and found out that a dose of 1.25 mg to 2.5 mg prednisone per day lead to a long-term stabilization of her MS patients’ health statuses (no side effects). – In her training to become a health practitioner, she had also learned that it was very likely for pregnant MS patients to be in remission, but it was only much later that she gained knowledge of the fact that pregnant women actually have a heightened cortisol level (I still do not know where she got that from). Hence, she drew the (brilliant) conclusion that this had to be the shared root of the effectiveness of minimal cortisone doses and remissions in pregnant women!
In the course of the research for my essay, I was surprised to find out that the remissions observed in pregnant rheumatic patients were part of the genesis of the glucocorticoid therapy. So, that old woman had actually followed the same line of reasoning as Philipp Showalter Hench, only the other way around!!!
@side effects: Since my MS diagnosis in 1998, I have experienced cortisone-related side effects only twice:
1) in 2000 while undergoing a high-dose therapy as prescribed by my GP (I felt like wanting to scratch the paint off the walls with my fingernails!)
2) between mid-March and April of 2014: In mid-March, I got a cold which turned out to be quite persistent, and after two weeks it dawned on me that the low-dose prednisone was behind it. Therefore I discontinued the cortisone, anxiously expecting my MS to develop further, but apart from the cold regressing NOTHING else happened! – The MS had “burned out”.  (From reading the book by well-known German neurologist Wolfgang Weihe, I learned that he had already observed this phenomenon quite often.) The MS disappeared from my life as suddenly as it had appeared!
@autoimmune hypothesis of MS: If you read my essay thoroughly, you will notice that I do not negate the autoimmune hypothesis as such, but rather the T-lymphocyte hypothesis and the animal model in particular. Why? My reasons are:
1) During my time at the non-medical practitioner’s office, I got to know a female MS patient who did get Natalizumab infusions – which resulted in detecting antibodies against the JC virus in her system –, but exacerbations continued (and were treated with cortisone). I also met another MS patient (or rather whatever was left of him) in whom progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) had already broken out in the wake of Natalizumab administration. – Back then, I categorized both cases as ‘side effects’. However, after reading Weihe’s book (in late 2014), I suddenly realized that those had not been side effects but rather the main effect; the medicine had done exactly what it was supposed to do: It completely blocked T-lymphocytes. – But how can it be that a MS patient without T-lymphocytes has flare-ups?!
2) On the other hand, the persistent cold towards the end of ‘my’ MS was contrary to this finding. – For almost 14 years, I had taken minimal and low doses of prednisone without ever experiencing anything like that. – So, my observation was absolutely in line with the conventional autoimmune hypothesis. – However, having read Weihe’s book, I came to realize that the etiology and pathogenesis of MS cannot be observed; almost the entire supposed knowledge of the pathogenesis of MS originates in the histological research on ‘chopped up’ brains of mice and rats. Of course, this is also true for the relation between cortisone and multiple sclerosis!!! – By the way, when I revised my essay, I just cleared it of all the pseudo-knowledge regarding the cortisone effect on autoaggressive T-lymphocytes. In doing so, I also removed some more information on cortisone, such as its detumescent effect, but (in my opinion) this certainly does not diminish my story in any way!
Conclusion: Based on my specific personal experience, I argue that knowing about the pathogenesis of MS is not important for MS therapy; there simply is an inherent limit to what can be observed and you cannot go past it! – We are in about the same observer position that Hench was in: In pregnant MS patients, remissions happen systematically, and that has to do with their own bodies’ cortisol production. PERIOD. – By the way, during my time at the non-medical practitioner’s office, two patients got pregnant: They discontinued the minimal doses right at the beginning of their pregnancies and simply resumed their therapy after giving birth…
 Weihe, Wolfgang: Multiple Sklerose – eine Einführung, 5. Auflage, Bad Zwesten 2010, S. 126 bis 127. [Multiple Sclerosis – an Introduchtion, 5th ed., Bad Zwesten 2010, p. 126-127, only available in German language]
I would like to thank Kerstin Husen (Krummbek, Germany) for the translation into English language.
I would like to encourage you, dear reader, to contact me in case of any questions related to my work, or for any kind of criticism or suggestions! Here is my email address:
Linus Benedict Torvalds (02.06.1992)