Aliens, Elvis and a Cure for MS
It’s always exciting for the general public to see the word CURE used in a headline along with the words multiple sclerosis, but that excitement has to be tempered with the knowledge that we aren’t there yet. Unfortunately, the trend in journalism/press releases these days is they use the most exciting and tantalizing phrases to get us to actually read their article. That seems to be the case with the recent headline Meet the Cambridge scientist on verge of curing Multiple Sclerosis. While it’s not exactly the now popular fake news, it certainly is not an accurate reflection of what is going on inside this lab in Cambridge but it did make me open the story and read it in its entirety.
Good news travels fast
It is quite obvious that many others saw this headline and story, too, because links to this press release are circulating in the MS community with excited friends and well-meaning acquaintances sharing this breaking news of a cure with us. Each new path in search of finding a real cure for MS will begin in a laboratory such as this one, but it takes a long, long time to prove if it’s the correct route to that elusive answer of curing MS.
For now, while I am intrigued by this concept of nanotechnology that the researcher proposes, there is a lot more work to be done before it can or should be labeled a discovery that is on the “verge of curing MS.” And an important point made in the press release for this cure notes that they are looking for investors to fund a clinical trial to test this idea.
An old trick
The sensationalism of headline writers to grab our attention is an old journalism trick from the editors – that’s why when you see the papers in the newsstand, you see the tantalizing headlines up top – they want us to be intrigued enough to pick up that paper. The tabloids seen at the grocery store checkout line are created the same way with headlines that scream at us but if we are suckered into paying money to buy the copy and go home and read the story, it always turns out to not be quite what was billed on the cover. Who doesn’t want to know why Elvis can’t find a bride and Modern Women Aren’t Human, and what Hillary might have named her alien baby after UFO’s crashed in Arkansas? Yes, those are real headlines as laughable and tantalizing as MS Cure.
One day a cure will be found
Now that most of us read our news on the internet, it really isn’t much different. There are still the sensational headlines, and their purpose is intended to make us click on their story. Of course when we see the word Cure and MS in the headline we are going to open the story and hope there is something in it that will revolutionize treatment, finally offer prevention, and ultimately be the cure for MS. Unfortunately and also predictably, this story doesn’t live up to its headline.
Scientists around the world are working on MS in their labs and doing clinical trials. One day a cure will be found, a vaccine against MS developed and a treatment to repair the damage done to our central nervous system. But until that time comes, I wish editors would stop luring us with the false hope unless they want to tell me Elvis is alive, has married Hillary and their love child has found the cure.
How many specialists did you see before finding "The One"?