Risky treatment gives doctor his life back


Published: 4Apr2013

As a third-year medical student Alex Normandin expected to be learning about patients, not become one himself. But then, the Montrealer and aspiring doctor noticed some alarming symptoms — fatigue, numbness and problems with balance and coordination. Researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute confirmed he has a particularly aggressive form of multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable and degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system.
Most patients with MS do not become severely disabled because the illness moves slowly. But in Normandin’s case, the destruction was so fast that doctors expected him to need a wheelchair within months … despite such dramatic results, none of the MS researchers in this study is calling the procedure a cure. For one thing, it is not known whether the treatment is good at stopping other kinds of MS, explained neurologist Amit Bar-Or of the Montreal Neurological Institute and McGill University, and the study’s principal investigator.