In August 1948 Dr. Wilder Penfield, then director of the Montreal Neurological Institute, invited me to undertake the study of Multiple Sclerosis.
My knowledge of MS changed rapidly, as I interviewed and examined many patients at the clinic, and spent hours in the library. Three useful clues to the disease came to light:
- In many cases relapses occured quite suddenly, suggesting a Vascular cause
- The Neurological literature suggested that the frequency of the condition varied geographically
- Post WW II nutritional studies revealed a marked variation in fat consumption in different parts of the world
- - suggesting a possible correlation between, high fat intake, and a high frequency of Multiple Sclerosis
In the laboratory it was shown that high fat meals caused the blood cells to aggregate or clump, seemingly thus to obstruct the circulation, reduce the Oxygen supply to tissues, and alter the function of the Brain, Heart, and other organs.
This led to the observation that paraffin particles (Emboli), about the size of aggregates, introduced into the bloodstream produced DeMyelinated lesions in the Brain not unlike those seen in MS, and also scattered focal breakdown of the Blood-Brain Barrier.
Larger particles caused lesions of a more destructive type in the Gray Matter. Meanwhile we studied the blood protein changes in patients with MS and the effects of fat meals on blood Plasma proteins.
Because of the observation that fat meals lead to the clumbing of red blood cells in animals and man and that similar clumping occurs in MSers, an instrument known as the screen filtration pressure machine was developed for measuring, the presence in the blood of aggregated blood elements.
By accident, this led to the discovery of aggregated Platelets and Leukocytes in blood that had been stored for transfusion, and to aggregates composed of the same blood elements, during very low blood pressure that resulted from rapid bleeding.
These studies were done first on animals, but were later confirmed elsewhere on humans at the time of the Vietnam war. These aggregates were sufficiently large and numerous enough to obstruct the small Blood Vessels and cause pathological and physiological abnormalaties.
By chance, it was found that these aggregates could be removed by passing blood through a layer of polyester wool. In 1961, we were able to show that removal of these aggregates from the blood by filtration improved the circulation, the metabolism, and the function of perfused, isolated organs.
A polyester wool filter of the Heart-Lung machine used during CardioVascular surgery was the next step followed by the transfusion filter.
Both filters have been very extensively tested on both animals and humans. The results of these tests indicate that removal of the aggregates from circulating blood tends to normalize the blood flow, allowing the maintenance of normal Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide contents, in blood and minimize tissue damage.
Needless to say, many patients have benefited. In recent years we have concentrated on the nature of the destruction of small Blood Vessels and surrounding tissues that is produced by these Platelet/Leukocyte Emboli.
The Emboli not only block Blood Vessels, but also erode away the Blood Vessel inner lining (Endothelium) and destroy the surrounding tissues, primarily in the Lung, and also in the Kidney, Liver and Brain.
When the Emboli are removed by filtration, these deleterious changes do not occur. Our next interest will center on the nature of surface membranes of the cellular elements in the circulating blood.
These efforts have been directed to explaining the lesions of Multiple Sclerosis, as well as Heart Disease and Stroke, on a Vascular basis due to Embolic occusion of Blood Vessels by aggregated blood cels.
These studies are reviewed in this book, along with the work of many other researchers,
to give the reader an opportunity to view the results and possible progress in this field.
Our patients wanted not only to participate in our studies, but also to know what was happening in our research. One of the aims of this book is to make this knowledge available to many patients, their friends, and their relatives.
It has been our intent to give the patient a more complete understanding of Multiple Sclerosis, its history, nature, and possible causes as well as therapy.
In addition, we would like to bring into stronger focus the rationale for the use of low fat diets, in Heart Disease and Stroke.
We offer the low fat diet to those with Multiple Sclerosis, Heart Disease, or Stroke with the belief that it will benefit them. For others we suggest it as a means of enriching their lives through increased energy and possibly increased longevity.
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