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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 December, 2004, 10:54 GMT
Bee stings 'help' mother with MS
Paula Cooke is stung by about 12 bees three days a week
A mother-of-two who is battling against multiple sclerosis says she is being helped by 36 bee stings a week.

Paula Cooke, 40, of Terrington St Clement, Norfolk, has had MS for 15 years and has no feeling from her waist to her toes.

About three months ago she started a course of bee venom therapy and she believes it has been a success.

But the MS Society has warned people that they must consult a doctor before considering this "unproven" therapy.

Ms Cooke told BBC News that she now wants other people to know about this form of treatment for her condition.

"I want people to have their own opportunity to decide whether to try this treatment for themselves," she said.

'Regained use of toes'

"The bee stings have brought about tiny improvements from absolutely nothing. It is amazing."

Ms Cooke, who has two children - Danielle, 12, and Kaysie, 19 - recently found she could move some of the toes on her feet.

Her mother Jillian Fisher said the treatment involves 12 stings at a time each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

She said that at first they got bees sent from London, but now they have found a local beekeeper Michael Melton.

'No clinical evidence'

"When we first started using this bee therapy we were told it would not produce any effects for three months, but in the first couple of weeks she regained use of some of her toes," she said.

A spokesman for the MS Society said: "There is no clinical evidence to support this, though there are some anecdotal reports about various therapies.

"Anybody who is contemplating this should consult their neurologist or GP first."

Doctors have concerns because some people are allergic to bee stings.

The spokesman added that MS is a variable condition with some patients showing differing symptoms at different times.

Bee venom therapy has been used for treating arthritis.

It is thought that the shock of the sting cranks up adrenal glands to produce the natural painkiller cortisol.

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