Category Archives: MS and the Environment

MS AND A NEW ZIKA STUDY

An odd shaped cloud on a clear day.

One lonely cloud!

New research suggests another serious neurological condition can be added to the list of those connected to Zika virus infection. According to a small study, the mosquito-borne illness could cause an autoimmune condition known as acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which shares some traits with multiple sclerosis. The researchers will present their findings this week at the American Academy of Neurology’s 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The small study involved six patients admitted to the emergency room and neurology outpatient department at Hospital da Restauração in Pernambuco, Brazil. Each had fever and rash, symptoms common in people stricken by the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Some patients in the study also developed severe itching, muscle and joint pain and red eyes, which are also symptoms of a Zika infection. All six patients tested positive for the Zika virus. The doctors ruled out other mosquito-borne viruses, including dengue and chikungunya.

The patients began to experience neurological symptoms, such as numbness and weakness in the extremities and headaches, either right away or within 15 days after presenting with signs of an acute Zika infection. Physicians diagnosed two of the patients with ADEM, which occurs when a person’s immune system launches an attack on the myelin sheaths that surround the nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord. This leads to severe inflammation, similar to MS. However, MS is a relapsing-remitting illness, while ADEM flares typically occur just once and a person should have a full recover within a few months. Brain scans of patients diagnosed with ADEM detected lesions in the brain’s white matter, which indicate damage to myelin.

The Study referenced above came straight out of Newsweek Magazine!

More bits and pieces about Zika!

Zika is a blood to blood pathogen that can be carried by certain kinds of mosquitoes. It can also be transferred through sexual contact and by drug users sharing the same needle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using only one of four mosquito-repelling ingredients: DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, and oil of Lemon Eucalyptus as insect repellent for these kinds of mosquitoes.

Doctors are also recommending that women who have had Zika wait for at least two years before trying to become pregnant. And disease specialists in Brazil are saying that Zika may also be causing a recent surge in another rare condition Guillain-Barre syndrome which has also been suspected as a possible cause for multiple sclerosis!

Bill Walker  

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MS and Spring Allergies

    Tree just blooming in Spring I have a friend who has Rheumatoid Arthritis and one day she asked her Doctor what he thought RA was other than just another autoimmune disease? His answer intrigued her and I thought I would share it here. He said that he believed it was an inside out allergy meaning obviously that the allergic reaction was happening on the inside of the body instead of on the outside where many allergic reactions and symptoms are first noticed taking place. That was many years ago and I obviously have not forgotten it. But the reason I haven’t forgotten it is because every spring I get a reminder of that long ago conversation.

     Even before I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and almost every spring since, with this one being no exception, just as the trees start their yearly pollen assault upon the unsuspecting sinuses of many humans, is when I get my worst flare up of MS related symptoms. That’s not to say that I’ve never had a flare up at other times of the year but it almost always seems that my springtime MS attacks coincide with the increase in tree pollen in the air.

     I do realize that multiple sclerosis is a very complicated disease and may have absolutely nothing to do with pollen but it just seems strange, that in my case at least, my worst attacks always seem to happen in early spring. With all of that in mind I was just wondering if anyone else has noticed any patterns with their own disease progression or response over the years since they were diagnosed?

 

Bill Walker

MS Chocolate and Valentines Day’s Healthy Choice

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     In a previous article I discussed the heart healthy and anti-inflammatory benefits that chocolate can provide but that’s certainly not all of the benefits that science is learning about this treat.

      Chocolate especially the purer kinds with higher cocoa content and less sugar can also help to lower blood pressure while also making blood platelets less sticky allowing them to clot easier. And dark chocolate also contains oleic acid which is a heart healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in something else that’s considered very heart healthy, olive oil.

     Chocolate is loaded with antioxidants; in fact chocolate has eight times the amount of antioxidants as strawberries. And the antioxidants in chocolate help to remove free radicals from environmental factors that we encounter on a daily basis from smoke and other air pollutants as well as from other things that we eat. Chocolate also helps keep LDL, or the bad cholesterol, from forming in the body while also helping in balancing certain hormones.

     And chocolate even has some benefits for your mental health like stimulating endorphin production giving you a feeling of pleasure. And chocolate also contains serotonin which acts as a natural anti-depressant. And finally it also contains theobromine and caffeine which act as stimulants for a quick little pick-me up when needed.

     Chocolate should always be eaten in moderation as it does have a high fat content however most of these fats are considered to be the healthy kind, so go ahead, and indulge a little.

     Happy Valentines Day! ♥

 

Bill Walker-Author of Visus

Could the Zika Virus be Devastating to People with MS?

100_0262      The Zika virus is being called a worldwide health crisis mostly because of its apparent effects on pregnant women and a high rate of microcephaly which is a rare birth defect. This virus is already suspected as having a link to Guillain-Barre syndrome which has also been suspected as a possible trigger of multiple sclerosis in people who are, or might, be genetically predisposed to developing this auto-immune disorder. And Guillain-Barre syndromes symptoms can include severe fatigue and varying degrees of temporary partial paralysis. Sound familiar?

     The good news is that this mosquito-borne virus has so far been contained in more tropical environments than where MS is generally to be found. But even this offer’s only a minimal amount of comfort as this virus also seems to be able to be transmitted from one human host to a mosquito while being bitten. If this does in fact turn out to be the case then any person who travels to an area where Zika is prevalent could be infected and return to a home in the northern hemisphere during summer months and quite possibly transmit the disease to the local mosquito population thus spreading it to a brand new geographical location where MS is much more prevalent. And if all of that isn’t bad enough it has already been discovered that this disease can also be transmitted through sexual contact much like a sexually transmitted disease.

     At the moment, main street science is saying that they doubt that the Zika virus is a cause for panic as the symptoms in healthy individuals have for the most part been mild and short lived something akin to having the flu virus for a few days or up to perhaps a week. But as yet we don’t know how this virus might affect someone with a compromised immune system like those of us with multiple sclerosis who already suffer from some very similar symptoms as to what some of the more severe cases are reporting.

     What bothers me the most is that I remember this other little virus that was supposed to be nothing more than a wimpy little pest that otherwise shouldn’t be much to worry about? And that wimpy little virus HIV, turned out to be the cause of AIDS!

 

Bill Walker

MS MERCURY DENTAL FILLINGS AND THE FDA

     

Lake in mountain setting

     Lake at Mount Baker Washington

     Is your body a mercury filled time bomb just waiting to explode? Recently senior health officials at the Department of Health and Human Services denied a Food and Drug Administration proposal to phase out the use of all mercury compounds used as fillings for tooth decay which is one of our planets most dangerous and toxic heavy metals.

     This FDA proposal was kept secret from the public since it was approved back in 2011 by top FDA officials. This proposal stressed all of the dangers that mercury fillings present to pregnant women, nursing moms, children under six, people with mercury allergies, kidney disease or anyone who suffers from a neurological disorder which would include just about every single autoimmune disease known to man.

     The Department of Health and Human Services rejected this proposal after a cost benefit analysis showed that it was cheaper then other alternative compounds for filling teeth regardless of the dangers of mercury or benefits a patient might expect from other materials used for filling teeth.

     In 2009 54% of all surveyed Dentists still said that they were using mercury fillings because it was more affordable. And they are still used by many Dentists today who serve both Medicaid and Medicare patients as well as many other price sensitive groups including those that treat children, the military, and on Indian reservations.

     Mercury is often described as insidious. After it builds up in the lungs it moves into the bloodstream where it accumulates in the kidneys, liver and brain tissue where it damages the central nervous system. And multiple sclerosis, in particular, is a disease of the central nervous system.

     Mercury is linked to all of the following health problems, memory loss, nerve damage, autoimmune diseases, vision problems, kidney failure, depression, autism, and foggy thinking. And recent research is also showing a strong possible link to Alzheimer’s disease. And all of that can occur at very low doses that accumulate over time. And it can also be lethal!

 

Much of the information used in this article came from Greg Gordon from the McClatchy Washington Bureau

Multiple Sclerosis by the Numbers Part 2

Multiple Sclerosis by the Numbers Part 2 

How You Responded to the Article

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     First of all, I wanted to thank everyone who read my article. At over five hundred hits, and still going, this was by far my most read blog entry since I started writing. I decided to write a brief essay of what your comments were.

     I had many people respond that they felt that Multiple Sclerosis was often a missed diagnosis. I had several people tell me that they felt that they probably had Lyme disease from a tick bite, unfortunately not a single person told me that they had conclusive proof of their feelings about a Lyme their disease diagnosis, which actually is pretty easy to rule out one way or the other.

     I also had quite a number of responses that thought that CCSVI and brain flow issues were more of the cause for their symptoms then anything else. On this issue I think we’re just going to have wait for further research to see if this is truly a causal effect or not. In my case I don’t think it is, but who knows.

     However, none of that really faces the issue as to why there are so many cases of reported MS in the U.S. as compared to the rest of the world. On this subject many individuals replied that their Neurologists agreed that roughly five hundred thousand cases of MS was way to low and that the numbers I was using were at least twenty to thirty years old. Which of course begs the question, how come these counts have not been updated in all of these years? Again, many Neurologists guessed that the true number of U. S. is probably somewhere closer a million, give or take a few. That’s a pretty damn big difference if you ask me, we need a new count as soon as possible! Even if that count is just in North America and Europe where more accurate numbers are far more easily obtained then the rest of the world.

     And the one thing that I found most interesting in my responses were the shear number of people in Ireland, Scotland, and Australia who questioned if Multiple Sclerosis really is more prevalent in America by percentage, then it is in their countries.

     The only way we are going to answer some of these very important questions is to demand that the medical establishment, along with their research arms, take the time and fund a new count. Is that really asking too much?

 by Bill Walker

 

My name is Bill Walker and I am an MS survivor. In an effort to remain financially independent I just published my very first novel entitled, Visus, which is now available as an eBook. Briefly, the story follows a pod of killer whales as they travel up the North American Pacific coast to a place that they know of as Great Schools of Fish.

Along the way Visus loses his mother which entices him to follow the Silent Calling of Nature into the Ocean that holds all Oceans to discover where his life’s path must go next.

If you read, and liked, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach, I’m sure that you will enjoy following Visus on his journey of self-discovery.

If there is any way that might be willing to review and/or post my link on your appropriate facebook or website I would certainly be most appreciative.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Bill Walker

http://www.amazon.com/Visus-William-C-Walker-ebook/dp/B00U8ZN4GE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427573378&sr=8-1&keywords=Visus

FotoFlexer_Photo

Multiple Sclerosis by the Numbers

100_0572     Worldwide the number of people that have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis is somewhere between 2.3 million and 2.5 million. In the United States there are roughly 450,000 to 600,000 individuals that have been diagnosed with MS which mathematically works out to 1 in 4 or 25% of all patients world wide. And that number is quite simply staggering when you consider that there are 7.5 billion, give or take a few million, people now living in this world. Which if my math is correct means that about 3 out of every ten thousand people will be diagnosed with MS worldwide. In the US that number works out to roughly about 2 out of every thousand. I admit these are very rough numbers but there close enough to show that the incidence of MS in the United States is much more prevalent then anywhere else on the planet.

     Let’s look at this in a different and even more startling way. If we take the number of US diagnosis’ and divide that into the total number of people afflicted with MS worldwide we find that 1 in 4 or 25% of all people with Multiple Sclerosis live in the United States which definitely begs the question, why? Especially when you consider that we have roughly 5%, or one 20th, of the total world population, again I ask, why?

     When I worked through these numbers I did only the Multiple Sclerosis numbers that are easily found on the internet and I didn’t look into all other autoimmune disorders as a whole but I wonder if I did would they show a similar distribution of autoimmune disease in the US as compared to the combined world population?

     If my math is even close to being correct it strongly suggests that there is some kind of environmental trigger that is far more prevalent here in the United States then anywhere else in the world that’s the only thing that makes any sense. And in my opinion with this information it should not be all that difficult to determine what that environmental trigger really is which would answer a whole lot of questions about this, and perhaps other, disorders of these kinds and what kick starts these disease processes into over drive.

     What do you think? Make some noise whenever and where ever you can. I strongly suspect that we, who have these autoimmune diseases, are the canaries in the mine and are just the first people to succumb to an ever, and increasingly more polluted, and sick planet!

Bill Walker

http://www.amazon.com/Visus-William-C-Walker-ebook/dp/B00U8ZN4GE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432066981&sr=8-1&keywords=visus