Monthly Archives

November 2008



Not too long ago I was sent the following link:

If you’re not a link kind of person, here’s the text of the link:

Aug 19, 2008
Exploring Why Physical Activity is Reduced in People with MS: Society-funded Investigators Seek Participants

Investigators funded by the National MS Society are seeking people with MS to participate in a study exploring whether the frequency and severity of MS-related symptoms influence physical activity. Robert W. Motl, PhD (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and colleagues are tracking changes in activity over three years in 250 individuals with relapsing-remitting MS, a course of MS characterized by flare-ups followed by complete or partial remissions. This study could improve our knowledge of the factors that reduce physical activity in people with MS, and help design programs to increase it.

Physical activity is being measured by an accelerometer, a device worn around the waist that measures movements throughout the day. Participants will complete questionnaires and wear the accelerometer for 7 days, and then will repeat this process every six months for three years. The results are being correlated with clinical measures of disease activity and patient reports of symptoms.

All materials will be delivered and returned pre-paid through the United States Postal Service. Participants in this study will be paid $120.

Anyone interested in more information about this study should contact Elise McAuley via email at, or via telephone, toll-free, at (888) 796-7966.

The following is my reply to their “study”:


Allow me to express my disappointment in the study I’ve just read about regarding physical activity in MS patients.

I find it very difficult to believe that so little is known about MS that a multi-million dollar study is required to find out if it affects sufferers physically. Allow me to save you some time and money. YES.

Are we really so far behind that we essentially have to start at the very beginning?

In the two years since my diagnosis, I have been reduced to using a walker or a scooter to get around; on the rare occasions when I am able to amble down my hallway unassisted, my girlfriend refers to me as “Lurch”… and it’s not because I have a great baritone.

Any time I have to stretch to reach something, my muscles all fire at once sending my arms off in wild, unintended directions. If I want to move my feet while sitting in a chair, any “over-stimulation” of the muscles (by way of a signal from my porous brain) sends me into a spasm that has twice literally thrown me from my chair.

I know my experiences aren’t unique to PWMS, and the disease has been around for a good long time – officially recognized for well over a century, and who knows for how long before that (it’s been postulated that the apostle Paul had MS – worth a google if you have the time).

And $120 for 3 years worth of dealing with a belt – even if it’s only a week at a time every 6 months – is ridiculous.

If there’s no way to use information already previously gathered to come to a conclusion, I see no reason to hope for any significant advancements in the fight for a cure over the next 10-20 years. At least this study has given me the freedom from waiting for things to change for me, and force me to accept things as they are and move on… and for that I thank you.

If this is the state of studies regarding MS, you won’t have me as a test subject… or a financial contributor. All the best to your research.

Michael Olson

In response, I got a form email reply thanking me for my interest in the study. *sigh*



I simply don’t understand why brewers who care about their product continue to use green bottles. Since not everyone reading this knows what green bottles do to beer, allow me to explain – they let light in that interacts with the hops in such a way as to render what might have been a decent beer at one point nearly undrinkable and smelling of skunkbutt. There are several beers that are highly respected – Pilsner Urquell and Dinkel-Acker among them – who continue to use the green bottles in the hopes that more Americans will buy them simply because of the color of the bottle. (OK, there are a lot of my fellow countrymen who are like that; these fine folk, however, are also the ones who like the skunky taste, thinking that they taste “imported”.) I can’t imagine that esteemed European brewers don’t mind that their product ends up tasting like an unhappy dog who lost a fight in the woods… could it be that the profit they get from the American market overrides their natural desire to produce a quality product? Yes, we all know that money talk$, but this is really ridiculous. I’d buy these beers in the light-sealed 12 packs, but alas, I just don’t drink enough to warrant buying that much of one beer at a time.

Don’t believe me? Okay, try this. Pick a beer you know to be in a green bottle that happens to be sold in a light-sealed pack (Pilsner Urquell does this with their 12-packs). Stick the beer in the fridge, still in the light sealed pack, and wait for a nice sunny day. Pull out two of the beers, set one on the counter, and the other in direct sunlight for about 15 minutes. Pour both and compare. Amazing, isn’t it?

Now take that same green bottle, and put it in a sixer at your local beer store with the fluorescent lights shining on it noon and night… lovely, eh?

It’s not just the European brewers that are guilty, either – Rolling Rock does the same thing. The bottles (painted instead of labeled) are impressive, and so is the aroma – but not in the way that they’d like, I’m sure. It’s sad to see that a brewery has to resort to selling their product on the basis of the color of their beers. Why brag about the “glass-lined” tanks at your brewery when you’re going to put your product in a green bottle and negate any flavor advantage you might have gained? And Moosehead, Dos Equis? You ought to be equally ashamed of yourselves.

I’ve also heard (but not found out for sure) that green bottles are harder to recycle than brown or white. I’m not sure why this would be, but if it’s true, it would be one more reason to stop doing this.

It would be a sad state of affairs indeed if the only things propping up these breweries in question was the extra profit they incurred from duping the American public into thinking that the beer was special simply because of the color of the bottle, wouldn’t it? Frustrating…

So when you go to buy beer, and you’ve decided on a beer that comes in a green bottle, you can always ask for a fresh 6er from the back cooler, or if they’re stacked up in a pyramid for the big holiday coming up, pull a few out and take one from the inside if you can. Save yourself the aggravation. And be sure to tell the pimply-chinned stock boy with the bewildered facial expression precisely what you’re doing… and why.