This week I was fortunate to be invited to speak at the Guthy-Jackson Foundation’s annual symposium on neuromyelitis optica (NMO). Originally known as Devic’s Disease, NMO is currently an incurable but treatable autoimmune disorder. The body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells, most commonly in the optic nerves and spinal cord. It can cause temporary or permanent blindness and/or paralysis, and may have periods of remission and relapse.
Often mis-diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis, far fewer people have been diagnosed with NMO. So few, in fact, that when Victoria Jackson and her husband Bill Guthy’s daughter was diagnosed with NMO five years ago, there was no information to be found anywhere on the internet about NMO. The Guthy-Jackson Foundation is dedicated to funding basic science research to find answers that will lead to the prevention, clinical treatment programs and a potential cure for Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) Spectrum Disease. Each year, the foundation brings together doctors, scientists, and researchers to exchange information and knowledge about NMO. On the symposium’s final day, NMO sufferers fly in from all over the USA and from seven other countries to participate in educational sessions and be part of the NMO community.
As with any other disorder, eating healthily can only help the body have more resources with which deal with the effects of a disease process. My general advice for healthy eating is to focus on real, whole foods rather than processed foods, and to eschew chemical additives in any form. These days, my advice includes avoiding GMO foods whenever possible.
I tip my hat to these brave folks fighting this rare disease.