For those Rotarians who have not had much contact with Muscular Sclerosis, Pippa Vincent Cooke’s talk at our meeting on 19 March 2019 was something of a revelation. There is no cure for this wasting disease but early diagnosis and the various treatments available can improve the lives of sufferers by slowing the onset of MS and alleviating its effects.
At the Centre just off Reading’s Oxford Road, patients can benefit from acupuncture, reflexology and especially oxygen treatment. This involves entering an airtight chamber, wearing a mask and, after 22 minutes of increasing pressure, breathing oxygen for an hour.
After that there is a slow decrease in pressure in order to avoid “the bends” so that the whole process lasts for almost two hours. At this point Pippa mentioned that she herself suffers from MS and she paid tribute to the treatment that has enabled her lead an almost normal life and carry out the role of fundraiser for the Centre. She has run in the Reading Half-marathon and the London Marathon with minimal help and will shortly be making a charity skydive.
Pippa concluded her very impressive talk by informing the Club about possible causes of MS. Although these are obscure, there may be both a hereditary element and a connection with epilepsy. In any case, research is needed and funds are required to finance the treatments available, some of which are very expensive.
The photo above shows Pippa (right) with Janet Poland, Club Speaker Secretary.