Health

How Much Does It Matter?

I got an email recently from someone well up the chain of command at a multiple sclerosis (MS) patient advocacy organization. The purpose of the message was to take our community’s temperature on a new term floating around the MS research world: “smoldering MS.”

The concept behind the term is discussed at length in a recent professional paper. In brief, the authors challenge the prevailing belief that MS is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. Instead, they say, some other disease process — which is not yet defined — is driving MS progression.

Is ‘Smoldering’ Useful? Or Condescending?

While the specifics of this particular question — how I felt about the term “smoldering MS” — were attended to in a couple of replies, it later struck me that we’re back onto the subject of language and this disease.

Very early on in my writings about MS, I wrote a piece about political correctness in disability speak. Since then, I’ve gone back to the language we use (and don’t use) while trying to get on with the living part of living with an incurable chronic disease.

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