I love it when statistics make things so much worse. I know that statistics can be manipulated to mean just about anything, but when you are looking up things like  how many people have a certain disease, they are usually pretty close depending on the reporting methods used. Medical statistics aren’t usually manipulated as much as they are sensationalized. Take for example autism, 1 in 150 kids have autism. That is a statistic but it’s really sensationalized and turned into neat autism awareness graphics for the effect of sensationalism. It gets our attention. It tells us that something needs to be done, that there is an epidemic and we need to find out why. And why we are researching why we need to find a way to help these kids.

   

I am not picking on autism here. I have two kids on the autism spectrum and when the first was diagnosed the statistic was 1 in 500. That’s a lot of kids being diagnosed in 12  years. These graphics just prove my point. For the most part we can trust medical statistics, unlike political statistics that I always take with a grain of salt.

So, we have been told that our 15 year old daughter has Multiple Sclerosis. The doctor did a spinal tap and drew blood not so much for a diagnostic conformation, but to get more information. She told us that the lesion that was picked up in the first part of the MRI was  pretty significant. She also said that over the weekend she was going to look at the MRI herself and decide if she was going to put my daughter on steroids. Why the question of treatment? Because MS in pediatric patients is rare.

How rare? There are between 8,000 and 10,000 cases of confirmed MS in people under 18 in the United States. According to the 2011 US Census there are 311,591,917 people living in the US. If I did the math right that is less than 1% of the population. It’s about .00003% of the population. That’s pretty rare. That means that MS drugs haven’t been tested on anyone under 18. These things have side effect and are they going to be worth it in the end? Is the cure worse than the disease?

To complicate things MS and Sjogren’s often look the same and Sjogren’s is mistaken from MS, but not so much the other way around. My daughter has a positive blood test for Sjogren’s. The neurologist knows this and has seen the blood work but is sure that it’s MS, based on medical history, symptoms and the MRI even before getting back the results on the spinal tap. Everything that I have read has told me that it’s rare to have Sjogren’s and MS together. It happens but all that often. It happens so little that there are no statistics, that I can find, on it. We also have a confirmation on Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (auto-immune low thyroid disease). Auto-immune diseases do come in clusters but in this case it’s a rather rare combination.

Someone has to screw up the statistics, right? Seems my family has always been good for that.

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