Sunday, September 19, 2010

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: Few provinces agree to study controversial liberation therapy
By JEFF CUMMINGS, Edmonton Sun
When provincial and federal health ministers gathered in Newfoundland and Labrador earlier this week, liberation therapy was near the top of their agenda.
Governments across the country are under enormous pressure from MS patients and their families to fund the controversial therapy, but they argue that there hasn’t been enough research to know if it’s safe or effective.
The MS societies of Canada and the U.S. have funded seven studies, worth $2.4 million, examining the relationship between the disease and the treatment, which it hopes will determine whether clinical trials are justified.
Meanwhile, the Newfoundland and Labrador government has funded an “observational study” of people who’ve sought the treatment on their own.
So far, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island are the only provinces to say they’ll help fund a clinical trial.
However, cautioned Saskatchewan Health Minister Don McMorris, “more has to be done to find evidence for clinical trials.”
Alberta Health Minster Gene Zwozdesky said he’s created a committee to examine all the data as it comes in, but stopped short of committing to funding trials.
“This data is being collected to address the safety and efficacy of the (treatment). We must see that first,” he said.
Zwozdesky added that the results of the preliminary studies are expected “within months, not years.”

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