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Are people with MS blindingly risk averse? New study says yes

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  • Are people with MS blindingly risk averse? New study says yes

    Where do you fall when it comes to risk and MS treatments? According to the below study, men are more willing to take a chance, which is not a total surprise. The big surprise: "Almost 50% of individuals indicated that they were unlikely/extremely unlikely to take a drug that promised no new relapses or worsening of MS symptoms but could cause death even when the probability of a fatal side effect was 1:100,000." To put that into perspective, the odds of drowning in your tub are about 1 in 10,000. Heck the odds of dying from hot tap water (tap water!) are 1 in 65,000. Contrast that with the odds of death from a fall onto a level surface is 1 in 269 (over a lifetime). Makes you almost not want to get out of bed. Actually, check that. The odds of accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed are 1 in 11,000. - D

    Risk attitudes and risk perceptions in individuals with multiple sclerosis

    Bonnie I Glanz⇑
    Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, USA, others


    Little is known about risk attitudes and risk perceptions in multiple sclerosis (MS).

    The objectives of this paper are to investigate the range of risk attitudes and risk perceptions and examine associations between risk attitudes and risk perceptions and demographic and clinical features of the disease.

    A total of 223 individuals completed a risk questionnaire. Risk attitude was measured using two rating scales and a standard gamble scenario. Risk perception was measured by asking participants to estimate the likelihood of disease progression and the likelihood of minor and serious side effects associated with common MS therapies.

    Participants were risk neutral overall and risk averse on issues related to health and safety. There was a significant association between disease duration and risk attitude, with patients with longer disease duration showing greater tolerance for risk. On the standard gamble scenario, males were significantly more likely to take treatments with a likelihood of death of 1:10,000 or 1:100,000 than females. Individuals with higher disability or a progressive disease course were significantly more likely to expect progression at two, five and 10 years.

    Individuals with MS demonstrate low tolerance for risk. Risk attitudes and perceptions are influenced by some demographic and clinical features of the disease.


    Dave Bexfield

  • #2
    not surprising

    I don't find this surprising at all. We do not have a gift for comprehending the real risk of things. Once upon a time I used to work as a research assistant for a leader of risk in environmental sociology. One of the topics he talked about was how people viewed the risk of mad cow disease vs smoking. There is/was no comparison yet people were much more afraid of mad cow disease than of smoking. Its one of human natures many fascinating illogical tenancies.


    • #3
      Interesting. I don't think risk is understood. Of course this study only posed a hypothetical question. With odds of death far longer than the risk of doing by lightning, it would stand to train that those same people would not leave their homes if there were a single cloud in the sky. Our brains rationalize things in funny ways....
      Dave Bexfield


      • #4
        I didn't recall the decision to DMT or not being quite as simple as this "Study" implies, certainly not like sitting at the black jack table risking $5 on "hit me" or "pass". I think they understand risk alright but maybe they don't know what questions to ask or maybe they just didn't want to get too far away from results inline with a plethora of other risk/reward studies. They did do a good job on the statistical analysis of the answers from the reletively uninspired questions they asked though.

        Suebee summed up studies like this perfectly in one of her posts:
        "Three people with MS walked into a bar.....

        Ps: couldn't help but notice a number of the researchers involved in this study had either received grants from or were in the employ of Sanofi.

        Or am I being too harsh?
        Last edited by AMFADVENTURES; 10-21-2016, 04:15 PM.