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Is television a credible source of information on multiple sclerosis?

Louis Rosner
Neurology

You might also be drawn to television or film accounts of multiple sclerosis (MS). Keep in mind that movies such as the ten-hankie Duet for One (first a successful Broadway play) are made for theatrical impact, not educational purposes. After all, tragedy is the stuff of which great drama is made. William Shakespeare didn't write Romeo and Juliet with a happy ending. And Wuthering Heights would never have had the same impact if Heathcliff hadn't had to carry his true love to the window as she lay dying in his arms.

Tugging at your heartstrings applies to some MS fundraisers and public service announcements as well. Will the National MS Society raise more money if it presents a successful career woman with invisible MS in long-term remission or a young adult in a wheelchair?

If your loved one has a history of remissions or is in remission at the present time, don't let these media images stick in your mind. Don't be an ostrich and stick your head in the sand, either, but find a way to distance yourself. Deal only with the situation at hand, and believe that the person in your life who has MS has a very good chance of having a mild course or at least one for which there are excellent treatments. You don't want to paint a tragedy that may never happen to you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.