Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Something more about rheumatoid arthritis treatments

Dr. David Brownstein (in the article I referenced back on June 5th) mentions a bacterium, mycoplasma, that was
first described as an underlying cause of arthritis in mice in 1938 by Dr. Albert Sabin [yeah, the guy who is most famous for having developed the oral polio vaccine]. In 1939, Dr. Thomas Brown published a study in which he isolated mycoplasma bacterium from the joints of rheumatic patients.
Brownstein notes that, by combining a low-dose antibiotic treatment with modified diet, he has been able to see remarkable results with a woman who had been suffering from the disease for over 20 years, despite one failed "conventional" treatment after the other. (She was on 8 mg of prednisone at the time she came to Brownstein.) --Today, the woman is up and about and out of her wheelchair.

I have now done some further research on Brownstein's mention of mycoplasma and it sounds as if he's not just talking through his hat. There's additional research behind both the link between mycoplasma and arthritis, and behind the idea that tetracycline can clear it out. As the article on the subject states, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) sponsored studies in 1993 and 1994:
The preliminary results of the clinical trials, known now as MIRA or Minocycline in Rheumatoid Arthritis, were promising and the NIH requested grant applications for studies of mycoplasma and other infectious agents as causes for rheumatoid diseases in 1993, and a pilot study for intravenous antibiotics for rheumatoid arthritis in 1994.

The result of the MIRA clinical trial stated, "Patients who suffer from mild to moderate RA now have the choice of another therapeutic agent. Not only did the antibiotic significantly reduce symptoms, but side effects were minimal and less severe than observed for most other common rheumatoid treatments".
And yet,
Many physicians remain skeptical and still do not suggest antibiotic treatment to their patients. The Arthritis Foundation was seemingly unimpressed even after antibiotic therapy was deemed as safe and effective. The foundation's medical director reportedly said he did not view the treatment as a breakthrough and more study of dosages and long-term use of minocycline is needed.
Okay. Be skeptical. But can our doctors at least hold an open mind?

Oh. And then there's this 2001 article from the Agora Publishing group's Health Sciences Institute (HSI): German enzyme therapy targets autoimmune disorders, reducing the need for side-effect laden drugs:
In autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and MS, the immune system goes “haywire.” Instead of serving its normal protective function, it produces abnormally high levels of antibodies called circulating immune complexes (CICs). In a healthy person, the pancreas naturally produces enzymes that break down CICs so they can pass through the kidneys for excretion. But in people with compromised immune systems, CICs begin to accumulate in the body’s soft tissue and organs-causing serious inflammation and, in extreme cases, organ failure.

If you suffer from an autoimmune disorder, you can clear your system of excess CICs by supplementing your body’s stockpile of enzymes. This can lead to a dramatic reduction in inflammation and many of your most debilitating symptoms.
And so, the article urges, consider supplementing with something called Wobenzym produced by a German company called Mucos Pharma GmBH. Wobenzym, they say, is "the leading over-the-counter drug in Germany and is used primarily to treat injury and inflammation. Unfortunately, because the majority of the published research is in German, it hasn’t received the attention it deserves in the United States." But from the research HSI was able to uncover,
Studies have shown that Wobenzym can prevent RA flare-ups and help to lower levels of CICs. In one German study published in Zeitschr. F. Rheumatologie in which patients took eight Wobenzym tablets four times daily, sixty-two percent of patients showed improvement in symptoms [emphasis mine--JAH].

In another study, researchers at the Ukrainian Rheumatology Center in Kiev tested Wobenzym on 78 patients with severe RA who were using other traditional drugs. Patients showed a decrease in CIC concentrations of up to 42 percent. All RA patients showed an improvement of morning stiffness and nearly a quarter of patients reduced their NSAID doses by 50 to 75 percent. . . .
. . . I am going to contact my rheumatologist to get his perspective. I wonder if he is willing--or even able (since he is in the Kaiser-Permanente system)--to consider these kinds of "alternative" therapies.

I am glad, at least, that he said I could follow the "food hypothesis."
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