Thanks for the posting Ian. I ALWAYS like reading that kind of thing.
It's obvious from the responses to this post and others like it that different people have different expectations of what "reasons for optomism" might be.
My wife was recently diagnosed and so far her MS has shown to be very mild. We would be estatic to find a treatment without short or long term side effects which would stop MS in it's tracks. That would define our "reasons for optomism". Although leaving people with disability, I think our definition would be similar to 80% of the people haunting this site.
On the other hand, there are people with more significant disability and/or a more progressive form of MS who, of course would like to see the disease stopped, but find that living the rest of their life with their current degree of disability isn't acceptible. If I were in their shoes I would feel the same.
I think we all are aware that, when it's within our means, it's easiest to stop something bad before it starts....nip it in the bud. It's harder to stop something once the wheels are in motion and hardest of all is trying to repair something once the damage has been done. This is true with most things in life and absolutely true with the MS process.
How that relates to the current disagreement in "reasons for optomism" is that we are seeing good...I think obvious reasons to believe that the MS disease progress can be stopped soon, rather has been stopped in clinical trials and hopefully will reach the huddled masses soon.
What we haven't seen are good, clear signs that we are going to be able to help neuroregeneration along in the near future and THAT IS what some of these people want/need and regard as "reasons for optomism" and in that regard, although constant harping about the dishonesty of the drug companies isn't doing anyone any good, I can relate to their reasons that they don't share our optomism.
Sadly, other than doing my best to do my best to understand what it would be like if roles were reversed, I don't know how to handle the situation.