< Go Back

Curing 30,000 People

Curing 30,000 People

    An estimated 30,000 people have a voice condition that I once had: spasmosic dysphonia. It affects vocal cords and renders the patient unable to speak in a way that can be easily understood. I couldn’t speak for 3.5 years, until surgery in 2008 fixed me. I chronicled that journey in this blog. But that’s not the interesting part.

    Until this morning, the Wikipedia page for spasmodic dysphonia said there is no cure. The article mentioned regular Botox injections as the standard for treatment.


    Several years ago I heard a conspiracy theory that the manufacturer of Botox was using its financial clout to suppress information about alternate treatments for spasmodic dysphonia. I dismissed that thinking as crazy talk. Sure, there was plenty of circumstantial evidence for that conspiracy theory, and Botox treatments for spasmodic dysphonia are big money, but all conspiracy theories appear to have evidence if you look hard enough. Coincidences have a way of looking like evidence.

    About an hour ago, I edited the Wikipedia page under the Treatment heading to make it more accurate. This is the page that will probably come up first in most Google searches performed by people who have been diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia and are looking for answers. If the edits stay intact, I will declare the Botox conspiracy theory a probable myth. But if I check back in a few weeks and it says Botox is the only treatment, I’ll have some serious questions.

    Meanwhile, I just gave hope to 30,000 people. Or at least I gave hope to the subset among them who have good health insurance, an Internet connection, and an appetite for surgical risk. (Sometimes the surgical outcome is worse.)

    I don’t know what the other presidential candidates are doing this week while I’m helping to resolve medical problems for tens of thousands of voters. But I’m sure it’s very important.

More Episodes