The Origin of MS/Degenerative Myelopathy
Here is something I wrote to my medical friends in response to an Email I received. I thought you might be interested in this. I sent it to a number of colleagues who also have “inquiring minds”. Let me know what you think.
The Origin of MS/Degenerative Myelopathy
Dear Medical Friends of Dogtor J,
The following is an Email I just sent to some clients about MS (degenerative myelopathy). I got three Emails in one day about this, two from people with MS and one from a dog owner with degenerative myelopathy (German shepherd). So, I wrote something that I had been thinking about for quite some time.
I have now had two people with MS have complete remission of symptoms following the adoption of the GFCFSFCF diet (gluten, casein, soy, corn-free). One required a move to a non-polluted area to become completely well, which makes all of the sense in the world to me now.
Yes, MS is still a “mystery” but that’s what makes it interesting to study. Like so many “idiopathic” conditions, there are many epidemiological and medical facts that should be pointing us in the right direction. That word “idiopathic” should not be shutting our brains off or delegating all of the thinking power to guys in ivory towers. It should simply be making us look at these conditions as “syndromes”, in which multiple factors come together to produce a result. When we do this, some interesting answers arise that point us in the right direction.
I hope this Email helps… at least gets your motor runnin’ .
John B. Symes, D.V.M. (“Dogtor J”)
Here’s the Email…
Yes, “I’m just a vet.” Buuut, I have realized something very important- if MDs studied veterinary medicine like I have studied human medicine, we would be a lot further down the road toward figuring all of these things out.
Dogs do get MS. We call it “degenerative myelopathy”. It occurs primarily in large breed dogs, German shepherds being the number one victim. In fact, the condition in the dog is so similar to that of people that they once thought humans may have contracted from dogs (e.g. canine distemper virus. Being a paramyxovirus, with measles and mumps being paramyxoviruses, that is possible, especially when we see that many viruses that afflict humans are harbored in animals.) The thing is, if it is the distemper virus, why do such a small, select number of dogs get it? Why don’t we see it across the board in all breeds? If it were a parasite (which is highly unlikely), then the same would be true…not so select in the breeds we see it in. SO, we have to look at “genetics”.
But what are “genetics”? They are basically two things- Gene sequences that determine traits and body functions and sequences derived from viruses. Yes, approximately 45% of the genetic information in our DNA is from viruses….a very important “fun fact”. So, the DNA IS “command central”, containing both the information for normal development and the potential for things to go wrong. They have tried to nail down the “genetics” of MS for a long time but it just doesn’t seem to work out for them. That’s because it is complicated and multiple factors have to come together to make it happen.
What DO we know (other than it happens in select breeds of dogs and that MDs think there is a hereditary link but can’t seem to prove it)? MS occurs most prevalently in northern climates (above the 33rd parallel). Why? Relative lack of vitamin D (with lack of sunlight exposure being the main culprit) is the accepted theory. And, I think they are right. Vitamin D3 is crucial for the immune system to function properly. (A recent medical study boldly proclaimed that if all Americans took an effective vitamin D supplement, we would cut the cancer risks by over a 1/3. Wow!) But air pollution…which is horribly neurotoxic and immune suppressive also has major detrimental effects on MS. So, it does sound like an immune system problem (weakness) doesn’t it?
So, what is being unleashed by the weakened immune system? A parasite? Not likely- we would have seen that microscopically long ago. Plus, parasites would not be nearly so selective to choose one glial cell to infect. How about a bacteria? Could be involved, especially one of the new pleomorphs such as the mycoplasma, which seem to really like glial cells. But, why would only a select few breeds of dogs develop MS? If it were purely a bacterial issue, many more would be affected. How about a virus? Ahhh, now we’re getting closer. But why haven’t they cultured it out or at least identified it yet? Because it is already in the DNA, perhaps, as suggested by the quite limited number of breeds of dogs that are afflicted. We know this happens in the case of retroviruses and cancer. Vertical transmission of a DNA-encoded virus is also likely to be the main mechanism in epilepsy, as we see certain breeds of dogs gobbled up with seizure disorders. How can this be? Because researchers now tell us that nearly 40% of the genetic codes in our DNA is viral information. “Genetic diseases” anyone?
But what we also know is that there are some viruses that require “helper” viruses…those that provide essential amino acid sequences that are missing in the genetic make-up of the primary virus or segment already in place in the DNA. This is known. So,imagine someone that has that incomplete sequence in their DNA who then contracts the virus that supplies the missing information. It is like someone putting the right code into a stalled computer….suddenly it starts running. THIS would help explain the relatively uncommon incidence of MS in both species as well as the “genetic” tendency that they just can’t seem to work out. It would also explain the role of the demise of the immune system, nutrition, the northern climate prevalence (the vitamin D connection), and just about every other loose end that we have before us right now. Hmmm…. Maybe we’re onto something here?
So, with this kind of “idiopathic condition” (MS, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.) we should be looking for a “syndrome”…a number of factors that come together that produce a result. The really cool thing to see is the role of foods…the “big 4″…in all of this. All you have to do is fully grasp the potentially cataclysmic effects of the malabsorption syndrome that goes along with the intolerance (to gluten, casein, soy, corn…the vast majority of our diet and that of our pets), the direct effect of lectins on cellular function (this is HUGE and demands our time), and the role of viruses, both “overt” and those whose information is already embedded in our very genome.
We need to study all that we can about these three things (food intolerance, lectins, and viruses) and the world of medicine will open up before us. It becomes readily apparent that the rest (bacteria, parasites, fungi/yeast) are secondary players…”opportunists” that arise and cause problems as this process unfolds. In fact, I look at them as the things SEEN to help us understand the things UNSEEN…the demise of our immune system and microscopic damage done to our tissues. Once we look at them this way, then we note them as “warning signs” to go along with the other, obvious warning signs that preceded THEIR arrival…the heartburn, IBS, allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue, insomnia, etc. etc.
We can’t say that we haven’t been warned.
I hope this helps. Keep in touch,