The Rise and Fall of Heart Disease

Heart disease was once the number one killer in rich countries. Maybe it still is. Huge amounts of time and money have gone into trying to reduce it — statins, risk factor measurement (e.g., cholesterol measurement), telling people to “eat healthy” and exercise more, and so on. Unfortunately for the poor souls who follow the advice (e.g., take statins), the advice givers, such as doctors, never make clear how little they know about what causes heart disease. Maybe they don’t realize how little they know. Continue reading “The Rise and Fall of Heart Disease”

How Much Benefit from the Human Genome Project?

Ten years ago researchers finished the first sequencing of an entire human genome. To mark the anniversary, Eric Green, the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, spoke to an unnamed reporter at the New York Times. Here is the final question of the interview:

What about the naysayers who [say], “Where are the cures for diseases that we were promised?”

I became director of this institute three and a half years ago, and I remember when I first started going around and giving talks. Routinely I would hear: “You are seven years into this. Where are the wins? Where are the successes?”

I don’t hear that as much anymore. I think what’s happening, and it has happened in the last three years in particular, is just the sheer aggregate number of the success stories. The drumbeat of these successes is finally winning people over.

We are understanding cancer and rare genetic diseases. There are incredible stories now where we are able to draw blood from a pregnant woman and analyze the DNA of her unborn child.

Increasingly, we have more informed ways of prescribing medicine because we first do a genetic test. We can use microbial DNA to trace disease outbreaks in a matter of hours.

These are just game changers. It’s a wide field of accomplishment, and there is a logical story to be told.

There you have it. The head of the Human Genome Project, a very big deal, says in an oblique way that the project has had little practical benefit so far. Note the present tense: “We are understanding cancer”. Nothing about decreasing cancer. In a short discussion of benefits, he mentions microbial DNA. In a short discussion of benefits, he says, “We are able to draw blood from a pregnant woman and analyze the DNA of her unborn child.” Genetic tests of fetuses are not new. I think he means that the number of rare genetic diseases that can be detected has increased (by how much?). Well, yes, not surprising. It is an increase of something that was already happening and helps only a tiny number of people. Not a “game-changer”.

Cuban Data Refute Mainstream Health Beliefs

A new BMJ paper looks at Cuban health before and after the economic crisis of 1991-1995, when the Cuban economy nose-dived. There wasn’t enough gasoline for cars. so bike riding greatly increased. In addition, people ate less. What effect did these changes (more exercise, less eating) have on health?

You know what is supposed to happen: Better health. Walter Willett, the Harvard epidemiologist, wrote a commentary about the study that concluded “The current findings add powerful evidence that a reduction in overweight and obesity would have major population-wide [health] benefits.” In other words, Willett said that what happened supports conventional beliefs.

But it didn’t. In several ways, what happened contradicts conventional beliefs.

1. A popular belief is that exercise causes weight loss. However, the percentage of “physically active individuals” doubled from 1985 to 2010 (from about 30% to 60%). In spite of this, the prevalence of obesity considerably increased (from about 13% to 18%) at the same time. Apparently exercise is considerably less important than something else. I have never heard a public health advocate say this.

2. A graph showing rates of heart disease, cancer, and stroke (the three main killers) over the period showed no change in rates of cancer and stroke. In spite of big changes in both exercise and obesity. The rate of heart disease stayed constant during the period when obesity went down. It steadily dropped during the period of time when obesity went up. Apparently the factors that control obesity and the factors that control heart disease are quite different (contradicting the usual view that exercise reduces both).

3. There is no simple connection between diabetes and obesity. During the economic crisis, when the prevalence of obesity went down by half (from 15% to 7%) and exercise greatly increased, the prevalence of diabetes slightly increasedOnly after the crisis did the usual correlation (more obesity, more diabetes) emerge.

4. The only lifestyle factor to have its conventional effect: smoking. When you stop smoking, you gain weight is the usual belief (which I also believe). The data definitely support this connection. A huge reduction in the fraction of people who smoke (from 30% to 10%) did not reduce cancer but did coincide with a great increase in obesity.

5. Cubans are doing something right, as shown by the considerable decrease in heart disease and diabetes deaths. Apparently they are also more health-conscious, as shown by much higher rates of exercise and much lower rates of smoking. (Assuming that cigarettes did not become too expensive.) They are getting fatter, too, but apparently that is less damaging than we are told.

Willett and the authors of the study look at subsets of the data and use theories about “time-lag” to draw reassuring conclusions. In fact, large portions of the data are not easily explained by conventional ideas, as I’ve shown. You can look at the data many ways, but to me the study makes two main points. 1. During a period when everyone was forced to do what doctors recommend (exercise more, eat less), health did not improve. 2. During a period (post-crisis) when obesity got steadily worse, health improved (heart disease rates went down, cancer stayed the same, diabetes mortality went down). Cuba is too poor for the improvement to be due to better high-tech modern medicine. Taken together, these findings suggest we should be more skeptical of what we are told by doctors and health experts such as Willett.

Is Red Meat Dangerous?

A recent paper from the Cleveland Clinic reports more than a dozen studies that add up, say the authors, to the conclusion that red meat and other meats cause heart disease at least partly by increasing trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), which is made from carnitine by intestinal bacteria. Meat, especially red meat, is high in carnitine.

The results were reported all over the world, including the New York Times. There are several reasons to question the conclusion:

1. The association between meat and heart disease is weak. An epidemiological paper from the Harvard Nurses Study found estimated reductions in heart disease on the order of 10-20% when a “healthy” food was substituted for meat. Conclusions about causality (eating Food X causes Disease Y) based on the Harvard Nurses Study have predicted wrongly over and over when tested in experiments, so even this weak association is questionable. A 2010 meta-analysis found no association between red meat consumption and heart disease. The absence of any correlation is surprising because red meat is widely believed to be unhealthy. People who eat more red meat would presumably do more other “unhealthy” things. (Perhaps the error rate of the underlying epidemiology is high. Errors push associations toward zero.)

2. Within the Cleveland paper, the associations between carnitine and TMAO and heart disease are weak. For example, people with the greatest sign of heart disease (“triple” angiographic evidence of heart disease) had only slightly more carnitine in their blood (about 15% more) than people with the least sign of heart disease. (Maybe it is peak levels of carnitine rather than average levels that matter.)

3. A 1996 epidemiological study (via Chris Kresser) that looked at the correlates of various “healthy” habits among people especially interested in health (e.g., they shop at health food stores) found no detectable effect of being a vegetarian. For example, vegetarians had the same all-cause mortality as non-vegetarians. Other factors were associated with reduced mortality, including eating wholemeal bread daily and eating fruit daily. This study looked at a large number of people (about 11,000) for a long time (17 years), so I consider the lack of difference (vegetarians versus non-vegetarians) strong evidence against the idea that modest amounts of meat are harmful.  (And I am going to start eating wholemeal bread in small amounts.)

I don’t dismiss the paper. Among people who eat more than modest amounts of meat, there may be something to it. Now and then epidemiology turns up a powerful risk factor — something associated with a risk increase by a factor of 4 or more (people at a high level of the risk factor get the disease at least four times more often than people at a low level of the factor). History shows that such correlations are likely to tell us something about causality. With weaker correlations (such as the correlation between red meat and heart disease), it is much more a guessing game.

To me, the important clue about heart disease is that it is very low in both Japan and France, much lower than in countries with high rates of heart disease. The two countries that have little in common besides the fact that in both people eat a lot more fermented food than in most places. In France, they drink wine, eat stinky cheese and yogurt. In Japan, they eat miso, pickles, and natto. Maybe fermented food protects against heart disease.

Xylitol Research

After learning about the dramatic effects of xylitol on lichen planus, I looked around for a good summary of xylitol research and found this:

Xylitol and other natural sweeteners were tested extensively in Finland as potential replacements for sugar during the early 1970’s. A series of over 20 research reports (edited by Professors Arje Scheinin and Kauko Makinen) was published together in Acta Odontologica Scandinavica, Supplement 70, in 1975. These investigations became known collectively as the “Turku Sugar Studies.”

Sweeteners were tested for their effects on dental and general health. The main trials involved the long-term substitution of either fructose or xylitol for sucrose (ordinary table sugar). This involved a huge cooperative effort between scientists and food producers. Separate fructose and xylitol versions of common food items were provided for the volunteers.

These trials (including blood and urine tests) established the safety of relatively large amounts of xylitol (often 70 grams per day or more) consumed regularly over a period of years. The xylitol group reported that xylitol-sweetened foods were comparable to the familiar sugar flavors.

The control group who consumed normal amounts of sugar continued to experience tooth decay, as would be expected. The fructose group also continued to have tooth decay, although progression appeared to be somewhat slower.

The results of a xylitol diet on oral health were dramatic. New tooth decay was practically eliminated. A therapeutic remineralizing effect was noted where the decay process was reversed. A parallel study achieved similar 90% reduction in tooth decay simply by adding a small amount of xylitol, delivered in chewing gum after meals) to a normal (regular sugar) diet.

Here are some of the major findings of the Turku Sugar Studies:

  • Xylitol can be incorporated into a wide variety of food items to directly replace sugar. More than 100 different products were made with xylitol.
  • The taste and overall quality of the xylitol products was comparable, and in some cases superior, to regular sugar items.
  • Substantial amounts of xylitol can be consumed regularly with no adverse health effects.
  • No potentially damaging bacterial adaptations to xylitol occurred.

Especially early on, there were some instances of gastrointestinal discomfort and even osmotic diarrhea in the xylitol group. After a short period of adaptation (few weeks), these symptoms diminished and became no more frequent than in the other groups. A few individuals were more sensitive than the rest of the group. Even exceptionally high intakes of xylitol of over 200 grams in a day did not necessarily cause any problems. Discomfort was more likely to occur with liquid ingestion on an empty stomach.

It is not necessary to eliminate sugar to dramatically reduce tooth decay. Similar results can be obtained simply by adding a small amount of xylitol to a “normal” diet. Xylitol can provide a natural “antidote” for the damaging dental effects of ordinary sugar. A little more than a teaspoon of xylitol per day can provide amazing protection against tooth decay, when used in chewing gum after meals and snacks.

The last point is especially interesting. Xylitol doesn’t work because you eat less sugar. It works, apparently, because it stops/prevents something that sugar starts, perhaps adhesion of certain bacteria to teeth and gums.

Here (video) is coverage of xylitol research in American mainstream media (in this case, ABC News). The useful information (about a xylitol study) is diluted by unhelpful information about xylitol in fruit and brushing and flossing.

Introduction to Inside Tracker

Inside Tracker sells blood panels — for example, 20 things measured in your blood (e.g., hemoglobin, magnesium, Vitamin D). It was founded in 2009 in Boston, Mass., by Gil Blander, a biology Ph.D., and two other people. They started offering the service in late 2011. Their main customers are athletes (20% professional, 30% amateur) and many Quantified Selfer’s (20%). I recently interviewed Dr. Blander:

What have you learned from the data you’ve collected?

Around 60% of the population has low Vitamin D.[What’s low Vitamin D?] As of today, if you look at the ranges of the diagnostic companies, they are saying that everything below 30 ng/ml is low Vitamin D. We are giving you your optimal zone based on age, gender, athletic activity and ethnicity. We also compare you to your peers. Continue reading “Introduction to Inside Tracker”

Assorted Links

Celiac Experts Make Less Than Zero Sense

In the 1960s, Edmund Wilson reviewed Vladimir Nabokov’s translation of Eugene Onegin. Wilson barely knew Russian and his review was a travesty. Everything was wrong. Nabokov wondered if it had been written that way to make sense when reflected in a mirror.

I thought of this when I read recent remarks by “celiac experts” in the New York Times. The article, about gluten sensitivity, includes an example of a woman who tried a gluten-free diet:

Kristen Golden Testa could be one of the gluten-sensitive. Although she does not have celiac, she adopted a gluten-free diet last year. She says she has lost weight and her allergies have gone away. “It’s just so marked,” said Ms. Golden Testa, who is health program director in California for the Children’s Partnership, a national nonprofit advocacy group. She did not consult a doctor before making the change, and she also does not know [= is unsure] whether avoiding gluten has helped at all. “This is my speculation,” she said. She also gave up sugar at the same time and made an effort to eat more vegetables and nuts.

Fine. The article goes on to quote several “celiac experts” (all medical doctors) who say deeply bizarre things.

“[A gluten-free diet] is not a healthier diet for those who don’t need it,” Dr. Guandalini [medical director of the University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center] said. These people “are following a fad, essentially.” He added, “And that’s my biased opinion.”

Where Testa provides a concrete example of health improvement and refrains from making too much of it, Dr. Guandalini does the opposite (provides no examples, makes extreme claims).

Later, the article says this:

Celiac experts urge people to not do what Ms. Golden Testa did — self-diagnose. Should they actually have celiac, tests to diagnose it become unreliable if one is not eating gluten. They also recommend visiting a doctor before starting on a gluten-free diet.

As someone put it in an email to me, “Don’t follow the example of the person who improved her health without expensive, invasive, inconclusive testing. If you think gluten may be a problem in your diet, you should keep eating it and pay someone to test your blood for unreliable markers and scope your gut for evidence of damage. It’s a much better idea than tracking your symptoms and trying a month without gluten, a month back on, then another month without to see if your health improves.”

Are the celiac experts trying to send a message to Edmund Wilson, who died many years ago?

Assorted Links

  • Experiments suggest flu shots reduce heart attacks and death. Huge reduction: 50%. The new report (a conference talk, not a paper) is a reanalysis of four earlier experiments. I was surprised to learn that the CDC uses heart attack outbreaks to locate flu outbreaks, implying that the new finding is not a fluke — there really is a strong connection. I already knew heart attacks are more common in the winter, which also supports a connection with flu.
  • Une histoire des haines d’écrivains by Boquel Anne and Kern Etienne. Published 2009. About literary feuds. One of my students was reading a Chinese translation.
  • Correspondences between sounds and tastes.
  • Report on fraudulent Dutch research. “The 108-page report says colleagues who worked with Stapel had not been sufficiently critical. This was not deliberate fraud but ‘academic carelessness’, the report said.” I doubt it. Based on my experience with Chandra, I believe Stapel’s colleagues had doubts but did nothing from some combination of careerism (doing something would have cost too much, for example  a lot of time, and gained them nothing), ignorance (not their field), and decency (they saw no great value in ruining someone).  I wonder if the report considered these other possible explanations (careerism, ignorance, decency).

Thanks to Tim Beneke.

Bacteria are Neither Good nor Bad

Health experts call bacteria “good” and “bad”. Bad bacteria make us sick. Good bacteria help us digest food, and a few other things. Let me propose another view. Any bacteria (i.e., bacterial species) will make us sick if it becomes too numerous — so all bacteria are “bad”. All bacteria protect us against other bacteria — so all bacteria are “good”. The terms “good” and “bad” are misleading. It is like saying a person is inherently rich or poor. Anyone, given a lot of money, becomes rich. Anyone whose money is taken away becomes poor. Low bacterial diversity or reduction of diversity makes it more likely that one bacterial species can overwhelm its competitors, producing sickness. When this happens, to say that the species (e.g., H. pylori) that became numerous “caused” the sickness (e.g., ulcers) is to seriously misunderstand what happened and how to prevent it from happening. We are taught that our immune system protects us from infection. We should be taught that bacterial diversity does the same thing. Continue reading “Bacteria are Neither Good nor Bad”

How Patrick Vlaskovits Discovered His Migraines Were Due to Wheat

My personal science taught me that (a) there are useful things health experts don’t know (b) that the rest of us can discover. I am curious how these discoveries are made. When  commented

I suffered migraines my whole life until my 30s. I am prescribed meds to help me manage the pain. These meds are better than nothing. Then I quit eating grain-based products, no migraines ever.

I asked him how he discovered the connection. He replied: Continue reading “How Patrick Vlaskovits Discovered His Migraines Were Due to Wheat”

Coconut Oil/Foot Fungus Update

A month ago I wrote about Chuck Currie’s discovery that coconut oil cured his foot fungus and seems to be curing his toenail fungus. He put coconut oil on his foot, put it in a plastic bag, and put a sock on it. Then he could walk around or whatever — vastly more convenient than the soaking remedies (e.g., soak your feet in vinegar) many people recommend (which I tried) and incomparably better than the foot fungus and toenail fungus remedies you find in a drugstore (which I tried many times).

For some strange reason I had foot fungus on one foot but not the other — for ten years. I have been doing Chuck’s remedy for a month. Within a few days it was clear it worked.  Now the “good” and “bad” foot are indistinguishable. I am writing this post because I discovered that the plastic bag is unnecessary, making it even more convenient. I put the coconut oil on my feet and then put on socks. It still works. Nothing bad happens to the socks, which I think are a cotton/polyester blend.

I’ve been using Whole Foods house brand (“365″) food grade (‘expeller pressed virgin organic”) coconut oil. A 16-oz jar cost about $8. Maybe it will last 4 months with daily application. (For toenail fungus. My foot fungus is completely gone.) All other commercial foot fungus remedies should quietly disappear…

Coconut Oil Cures Foot Fungus

About ten years ago my doctor pointed to a thin white line on my foot: That’s fungus, he said. Huh. He prescribed an  antifungal medicine, previously available only by prescription, that had recently become over-the-counter (OTC). I tried several OTC remedies from my drugstore. None worked. According to the directions, they were to be applied twice per day. My doctor said the reason for the failure was that I hadn’t precisely followed the directions. This reminded me of a doctor who said that fat people know what to do about being fat (eat less) and simply fail to do it. Continue reading “Coconut Oil Cures Foot Fungus”

More Neglect of the Immune System: Bioterrorism Fear

At UC Berkeley several years ago, I learned about an introductory epidemiology class. I knew the professor. I phoned him. “Are you going to discuss factors that make the immune system work better or worse?” I asked. “No,” he said. I wasn’t surprised. In my experience, epidemiologists completely ignore this question. As if the immune system had never been discovered. It sounds absurd, but there it is.

Epidemiologists aren’t the only ones. All well-publicized attempts to “battle” or “combat” or “defeat” or “beat” viruses, such as cold or flu viruses, neglect this possibility, in my experience. Whole books on the subject do not mention the immune system. The latest example of the blindness is an article by Michael Specter at the New Yorker website about fear caused by discovery of how to make a bird flu virus spread more easily. Maybe the knowledge could be used by terrorists. Specter writes as if the immune system doesn’t exist. He doesn’t mention it and ignores the possibility of defending against new viruses by improving immune function. For example, he writes:

Instead of focussing so heavily on human terrorists, we ought to take this opportunity to defeat a natural pathogen—one we can now recognize and manipulate with all the sophistication of molecular biology.

You don’t need molecular biology to study immune function. He also writes:

There are three conditions necessary for a flu outbreak to become a deadly pandemic, like the one in in 1918 that killed between fifty and a hundred million people. Those conditions rarely converge. First, a new virus—one that has never before infected humans and to which nobody would have protective antibodies—must emerge from the animal reservoirs where they originate. That virus has to make people sick. (The vast majority do not.) Finally, it must be able to spread rapidly and efficiently—through a cough, a handshake, or a kiss.

He writes as if whether a virus makes people sick and spreads rapidly depends solely on the virus. This is false: How well your immune system is working makes a big difference. If a virus is fought off quickly, you won’t notice — you won’t “get sick”. Because you are infected more briefly, you will spread it less. (Possibly much much less. If a virus doubles in number in 4 hours, then two fewer days of infection equals a huge reduction in the number of virus particles inside you while you are contagious.)

In this blindness, I’m sure Specter reflects the blindness of the scientists he talks to. They simply talk and think about what they do, which is molecular biology.

I became aware of the power of improving the immune system when I improved my sleep and stopped getting colds. More recently, I have become sure that eating fermented foods improves immune function. I suspect that a lot of traditional medicine, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, is effective because it improves immune function. (For example, the use of bee venom to treat arthritis.) Everyone knows at an answer-test-question level that the immune system exists. A lot has been learned about how it works. But the vast majority of doctors and other health experts (and journalists) ignore this knowledge in practice.


“Allergic to the Practical”: Law Schools Imitating Academia

Thorstein Veblen might have gloated that this 2011 article — about the uselessness of law schools and legal scholarship — so thoroughly supports what he wrote in a book published in 1899 (see the last chapter of The Theory of the Leisure Class). Why are law schools useless? Because law professors feel compelled to imitate the rest of academia, which glorifies uselessness:

“Law school has a kind of intellectual inferiority complex, and it’s built into the idea of law school itself,” says W. Bradley Wendel of the Cornell University Law School, a professor who has written about landing a law school teaching job. “People who teach at law school are part of a profession and part of a university. So we’re always worried that other parts of the academy are going to look down on us and say: ‘You’re just a trade school, like those schools that advertise on late-night TV. You don’t write dissertations. You don’t write articles that nobody reads.’ And the response of law school professors is to say: ‘That’s not true. We do all of that. We’re scholars [i.e., useless], just like you.’ ”

Yeah. As I’ve said, there’s a reason for the term ivory tower. And seemingly useless research has value. Glorifying useless research has the useful result of diversifying research, causing a wider range of research directions to be explored. Many of my highly-useful self-experimental findings started or received a big boost from apparently useless research.

The pendulum can swing too far, however, and it has. A large fraction of health researchers, especially medical school researchers, have spent their entire careers refusing to admit, at least in public, the uselessness of what they do. Biology professors have some justification for useless research; medical school professors have none, especially given all the public money they get. Like law professors, they prefer prestige and conformity. The rest of us pay an enormous price for their self-satisfaction (“I’m scientific!” they tell themselves) and peace of mind. The price we pay is stagnation in the understanding of health. Like clockwork, every year the Nobel Prize in Medicine is given to research that has done nothing or very close to nothing to improve our health. And every year, like clockwork, science journalists (all of them!) fail to notice this. If someone can write the article I just quoted about law schools, why can’t even one science journalist write the same thing about medical schools — where it matters far more? What’s their excuse?

Assorted Links

  • Super-old Ashkenazi Jews. Did they live to be more than a hundred “in spite of” their “bad habits” (eating steak & pork chops, smoking, refusal of Lipitor) or because of those habits? Small amounts of smoking could easily be beneficial due to (or illustrating) hormesis.
  • Does Hollywood have a sense of humor? In the new movie about  noted anti-Communist J. Edgar Hoover, Hoover’s love interest is played by Armie Hammer, grandson of Armand Hammer, who worked for the Soviet Union as a money launderer. Edward Jay Epstein writes about Hammer and the Soviet Union in this excellent Kindle book.
  • An advantage of ebooks, not yet realized, is easy updates. When the book is improved — for example, mistakes fixed — you get a new copy. In an even better Kindle book, Epstein writes about the diamond industry. The vast difference between the purchase price of a diamond and its resale value may be the advertising industry’s greatest achievement. Recent events caused Epstein to add a new chapter. The book was easy for Epstein to update but unfortunately earlier purchasers did not get the new version.
  • Michel Cabanac, who did some of the research behind the Shangri-La Diet, has written a book about his life’s work: how we self-regulate via pleasure. During a meal, for example, exactly the same food becomes less pleasant. When it becomes unpleasant, we stop eating. When we are hot, cold water is more pleasant than when we are cold. The secret to weight loss, Cabanac realized, is making exactly the same food less pleasant — an insight few weight-loss writers understand.

Assorted Links

Thanks to Brent Pottenger, Phil Alexander, dearime, and Casey Manion.

Assorted Links

  • Interview with me on Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Locarb
  • This article about natto helped its author win a prize for best newspaper food column
  • great QS talk about self-measurement by John Sumser. “It all started when I quit smoking. Bad idea. Since I quit smoking in 2004, every quarter for 7 years it has rained shit on me.”
  • In a QS talk, I compare the Quantified Self movement and the paleo movement.
  • Chinese high-school students in America: Not what was promised. Lack of “rigor” has benefits, as I have blogged: “Dismayed by the school’s [poor] college placement record, Chen considered transferring. Instead, he began to enjoy himself. Because his courses were undemanding, he had time for friends and outside interests. He took four Advanced Placement tests on his own.“I’ve developed my personality a lot,” Chen said. “Everything turned out for the best.””
  • If you read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, a pro-vegetarian book, you may remember the big role played by some casein experiments with rats. Rats that ate a low-casein (= low animal-protein) diet were supposedly in better health than rats that ate a high-casein (= high animal-protein) diet. In this article Chris Masterjohn shows how misleading that was. “One thing is certain: low-protein diets depressed normal growth, increased the susceptibility to many toxins, killed toxin-exposed animals earlier, induced fatty liver, and increased the development of pre-cancerous lesions when fed during the initiation period of chemical carcinogenesis.”

Thanks to Janet Chang.

More News about Liberation Therapy

An Italian surgeon, Paolo Zamboni, claimed that he found low blood flow from the brain in 100% of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). He began by studying his wife.

A new study supports the connection:

The Canadian researchers analyzed eight studies from Italy, Germany, Jordan and the U.S. that involved 664 MS patients in total. The studies looked at how frequently CCSVI [chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency] was found in people with MS compared to healthy people or those with other neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

One of the studies — Zamboni’s — found CCSVI in 100 per cent of people with MS, and zero per cent of people without the disease. Other studies found the vein abnormalities in people who didn’t have MS.

Overall, when the results were combined, people with MS were 13.5 times more likely to have CCSVI. Even when the study by Zamboni — which generated the excitement about CCSVI — was removed, the syndrome was 3.7 times more common in people with MS.

Thanks to Anne Weiss.

Assorted Links