Saturday, January 23, 2010

James Coburn

If you've ever seen Westerns from the 1960s and 70s, you probably know this actor. He's also in one of my favorite cult movies, Hudson Hawk (you should check it out, only if it's so you can see David Caruso as a mime).


Coburn enjoyed a very vibrant career throughout the 60s and 70s. In 1979, he was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. By the mid-80s, his disease forced him to limit how much he worked. As an actor, he was featured in mostly action films, so I'm sure that didn't help how his disease progressed at all. At its worst point in the late 80s and early 90s, Coburn's RA nearly robbed him of his ability to walk.

In the 1990s, he began to see an holistic therapist and, when interview in 1999, claimed to be cured of RA. His treatment consisted of deep tissue massages, treatment with electromagnets, and the naturally occurring form of sulfur known as methylsulfonylmethane, or MSM. MSM is a normal part of the human diet and is found in all sorts of things.

Before you go out and decide to take MSM, research it. While the bulk of people on MSM were shown to have a lower pain level than those on placebos, there is really not enough medical research being done on it to say that it is a cure. Since MSM is a nutritional supplement and not a drug, it doesn't have to go through FDA trials. While this makes it more readily accessible for the public, it also can lead to a lot of false claims.

In my opinion, MSM didn't cure Coburn's RA. That combined with his other treatments simply helped him to feel less pain. Sometimes if someone wants something to work really well, it will. I know that I have felt less pain at times and then considered that the RA could've gone away. Sadly, I am always proven wrong.

Coburn died of a heart attack at the age of 74 in 2002 while listening to music with his wife. She died from cancer shortly after, in 2004.

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