Chapter 14: Multiple Sclerosis

Do I believe that rebreathing while sleeping with the head covered can cause Multiple Sclerosis?

No, but that's not the end of the story.  
I believe as others do that MS is strictly an autoimmune reaction. However, I did study whether there is any relationship to rebreathing since MS follows a similar statistic to that of Alzheimer's Disease whereby it affects more women than men. Perhaps there is some relationship between sleeping with head covered (under the covers) and MS. 

Rebreathing: For those who have not read my other research, rebreathing is when a person has restricted access to fresh air, and as a result they continue to repeatedly breathe (rebreathe) their own air, and over time the oxygen content in this micro environment gets depleted. This can occur when a person sleeps with the head and breathing under the covers, as it can also occur for babies who accidentally have their breathing restricted by a soft toy, bedding, or sleeping face down into a soft blanket resulting in a SIDS tragedy. 

How can these be related?

I believe that rebreathing, if a person practices it consistently, can cause symptoms that are similar to those of MS, but are not MS. In other words, some individuals may be loosely diagnosed with MS, when in fact they don't have MS. They are just practicing a behaviour that results in symptoms that mimic the disease (balance and dizziness, fatigue, numbness, cognitive impairment, tingling, weakness). I had found that, while about 20% - 25% of the general population practices full or partial sleeping with the head under the covers (with about 10 % fully under the covers), the percentage of those whose age was in their 40's and who suffered MS (RRMS, and SPMS) and who practiced some level of sleeping with head covered was about 50% (double the general population). Also another statistic in my study was that about 45% of those who had indicated that they had MS, but didn't know what type, practiced some level of covering their head. Is this significant. Possibly.
Initially the fact that this related only for those in their 40's was unclear to me. I was being blinded by my other studies that expect the occurrence to be higher the older one gets, which is the case with many other disorders. Unlike these other disorders, MS is more often diagnosed for persons from their 20's to their 40's. Perhaps there is some relation to sleeping and depleted rebreathing that had overlooked.
  
Therefore there appears to be some connection between head covering while sleeping and that of MS, or symptoms that mimic those of MS. The percentage of all those who have MS and practice some level of head covering is about 34.2%, still high but not as high as those in the Alzheimer's Disease survey, or the learning disability survey. But I repeat, I don't believe that rebreathing due to sleeping with the head under the covers causes MS, but possibly causes symptoms that are similar to those with MS .

Did I discover any other relationship to MS?

Yes, but this is related to sleeping position, rather than to head covering.
In a number of studies I also queried the position that they usually slept, be it on their back, side, or front.
My research noticed that there are higher levels of MS sufferers who practice sleeping on their side and on their stomach.
For this comparison I focussed on female participants to the surveys. 
On average 38.9% of those in the other studies (ALS, AD, PD)  usually slept on their sides. However 63.6% of MS sufferers stated that they usually slept on their sides, which is an increase of about 63%. 
On average 6% of those in the other studies (ALS, AD, PD)  usually slept on their stomach, face down. However 8.2% of MS sufferers stated that they usually slept on their stomach, which is an increase of about 36%. 
Do these differences mean anything, or is it just differences due to the normal variation which can be found in a small sample size? 

How can this relate to MS?

My theory here is that many individuals kink their neck, or kink and twist their neck during sleep, due to their sleeping positions and perhaps the thickness of their pillows. When they continually kink or twist their necks during sleep, restricted veins can occur, the same restricted veins that Dr. Zamboni discovered in his studies of MS. He called this "chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency” or CCSVI, which he theorized was due to iron in the blood. He may be correct (many think not), but I believe that any sleeping positions that increases the possibility of a kinked or twisted neck during extended and repeated periods of sleep can also lead to these restricted veins.

While CCSVI due to iron deficiency has been discounted as a cause of MS by a large segment of the medical profession, there still remains the fact that restricted veins do occur, and the question of what caused them. I believe that habitual sleeping practices can lead to these restricted veins, and it is these restricted veins which result in symptoms that are similar to MS, but are not true MS.

His cure is to complete an operation that unclogs the veins. This procedure is a form of angioplasty, in which a catheter is threaded into the groin and up into the veins, where a balloon is inflated to clear the blockages. This procedure is very controversial, and dangerous since this practice has lead to some deaths. 

My cure is much simpler. Just change your sleeping position such that your neck and spine are as straight as possible during sleep, avoiding any kinking or twisting. Make it a personal scientific research project, maybe even graphing the results. It may lead to better health for you, and if you share your overall results with the MS community, may add to the overall understanding of how to face the disease.

How should this information be used?

Whether you suffer MS or not, and you sleep with your head covered at times, I suggest that you avoid this practice altogether. If it doesn't avoid or improve on any symptoms that are similar to MS, you will at least potentially avoid Alzheimer's Disease (read my AD research at this site). It will also improve your wellbeing and performance (read my research on learning disabilities at this site).

If you suffer MS and find that you generally do sleep with your neck twisted or kinked (bent), you may try making changes to your sleeping position, such that you start sleeping with a straight neck (inline with your spine) at all times. You may find that your conditions improve, and perhaps you can avoid the liberation procedure should you be considering going that route, which is not recommended by most if not all of the medical profession.

Is there anything else?

I have more to say, so stick with me while I indulge a anecdotal personal narrative.

About 20 years ago, I used to suffer what could be considered as MS like symptoms. I could be sitting quietly and suffer unexplained spasm or tremors (or twitching might be a better description, but that even doesn't do it, as it is usually a one time movement). Every now and then my arm might jerk unexpectedly for no reason. It was something like what sometimes happens just when someone falls asleep, as a sudden compulsive movement. Sometime now I think it was more like Tourette's, as I could somehow feel it coming.  But I considered it more like MS, or at least what I considered MS at the time. Let me be clear, I was never diagnosed with MS. Also at that time I probably suffered  what is known as fibromyalgia, at least that's what my doctor thought it might be. Even a kitten walking across my chest while I was lying down resulted in severe chest pain. If someone accidentally bumped into me, the pain across my chest was significant. And, of course, I feared sneezing. 

What did I do?  I came up with the theory that if it was an autoimmune reaction, all I had to do was figure out what was causing it, and then avoid it. Certainly too simple to be true, right? What I suspected was that it was a reaction to nuts and/or peanuts, particularly peanut butter. As a teacher I was aware of anaphylactic shock which could be suffered by students who were allergic to peanuts. Obviously I had never suffered anaphylactic shock. However I learned that not everyone who is allergic to peanuts suffers that allergy equally. The most severe can suffer an anaphylactic shock incident, while others who are only mildly allergic may only suffer mildly, such as hives or other outcomes. What I surmised was that perhaps some may be so mildly allergic that they are unaware of the allergy because they have no immediate reaction, but that over time the accumulation of the reaction results in the damage which is MS. Just a theory.

Anyhow, not related to this I was being tested for allergies, and discovered that I was allergic to dust mites, which is quite common. At that time I mentioned my theory about MS being related peanut/nuts to the allergist. He quickly and decisively stated that there is absolutely no relationship between peanuts and MS. That was that! But I'm not one to abandon a theory so quickly, as you may have seen from my other theories, some of which are starting to ring true. 

Anyhow, I decided to run my own test. No harm in it. I just stopped eating peanuts and all nuts. It wasn't easy. I love peanut butter, and just about any nut. Who can turn down a cashew! The result? I don't remember how many months it took, but eventually all the symptoms that I considered MS or fibromyalgia disappeared. Maybe I never had these ailments, or maybe the improvement was due to something else. I'll never know. But I stuck to the diet limit for years until...

When I did my research on Alzheimer's Disease, I did a side study (if I could call it that) of MS, ALS, and Parkinsons. In the MS survey, I included questioning about their consumption of peanuts and nuts. I was curious as to whether there was any relationship. Some respondents seems annoyed by the question and didn't answer that part of the survey. But most did. And when I looked at the data, I couldn't really see any relationship. Most of my research was focussed on AD, so the survey for MS was rather limited, thinking I might return to it at a later date, but as of now, I haven't. Anyhow, I considered that I would be a idiot if I didn't believe my own research, so I started eating nuts again, and very occasionally peanuts. Then what. My unexplained compulsive jerking movements returned. Sadly I gave up nuts and peanuts again, and the symptoms pretty much are non existent now.The pains I had suffered which were considered related to fibromyalgia never returned (or at least not enough to notice) but maybe they would have occurred had I continued nut and peanut consumption. Or maybe I do have MS, just don't know it.

Vitamin D deficiencyDo you believe the theory that vitamin D deficiency is a major cause or contributor to MS? This is often cited because there appears to be an increase in the occurrence of MS the further north one lives away from the equator. Consequently, Canada has the highest rates of MS in the world. Answer, I don't believe that vitamin D is in any way related to MS. Why? It is easy to notice on an atlas, the higher rates of MS on the globe in the north, but most noticeably the difference between USA and Canada (theirs being a lower incidence). It's easy to make the assumption that Canada's lack of sunlight is a significant factor in vitamin D deficiency and MS, but that is just an assumption. 

However, if you notice on any atlas that Japan is at about the same latitude as the USA, you will also notice that the northern part of Japan is at about the same elevation as the southern part of Ontario (matching a significant percentage of Canadians), Canada. When you consider that the occurrence of MS in Japan is almost non existent, and that Canada suffers MS (highest in the world) at about 200 times their rate, it becomes easy to conclude that sun exposure and vitamin D deficiency do not relate to MS and therefore is inconsequential. If it was just a 20% difference, we would consider that a statistical error, but a 20000% difference makes a significant statement basically ending the theory that sun exposure/vitamin D deficiency relates to MS. It's important to notice this fact so that researchers' efforts are not wasted by being misdirected down a useless path. Secondly, Norway and Denmark are further north than for the majority of Canadians, and the occurrence MS there is less than that of Canada (the opposite of what it should be if globe latitude/sun exposure/vitamin D deficiency is of any consequence). And thirdly (and this might be the most important), individuals who live in the northern latitudes get about as much sun as their southern counterparts, less in the winter, but more in the summer, and for the most part they cancel out, resulting in about the same amount of sunlight exposure on a yearly basis, more or less.

Is fish the answer. Think about it. Not only is MS almost non existent in Japan, but also in the high Arctic with the Inuit. Again a more fish dependent population. 

But there's one more thing. The consumption of nuts and peanuts is almost non existent in Japan. This is where I drop the mic, or say,"that's all she wrote!" Is Japan's diet what is enabling them to avoid MS? Their diets either prevent MS by avoiding the allergy that causes it, or the fish dominant diet is a cure to the disease. Their avoidance of nuts and peanut butter may be why they rarely have it occur, while our diets including the consumption of nuts and peanuts, we may be why we suffer it to such as a significantly higher number.

Or it might be our dairy diet. There has been some speculation that milk is responsible. Maybe so, but then I should have died years ago. Or maybe some are allergic to nuts and peanuts, while other are allergic to milk. Each individual will have to do their own research on themselves by themselves, to ascertain what is causing it. You don't need a doctor. Make yourself a small personal study that tracks the occurrence or severity of symptoms on a daily basis, the withdraw what you suspect. Do it as part of a daily journal, It'll be your bit of science research. Make a small graph of the data, and try to determine if the avoidance of the product in your diet has had any effect over time, say 3 to 6 months. Even if you show no change, at least you will be able to eliminate a potential cause, and be able to resume consumption. And share your results, please.

I know you're saying that the cause or cure can't be something as simple as diet, but consider that despite the hundreds of millions spent on cancer research, as of yet the most significant factor for cancer reduction across all types is still the reduction in smoking by the population.

Thinking of Canada, and sun exposure, the incidence of MS should be lowest in the prairies, and highest in the rest of Canada. But the highest rate is in Alberta, while lowest in Quebec. What am I getting at. If you live in mountainous regions vs flat land. Those that have a low horizon as in the prairies, will have more exposure to sunlight as the daylight is the longest. Also the lowest rate of MS is in Quebec, which not only has the Laurentian Mountains (not as high as the west coast, but still mountainous), but also mostly boreal forest, with lots of year round shade as opposed to the grassland prairies. These facts demonstrate the opposite effect of sun exposure/vitamin D effect. If vitamin D is related to sun exposure, then MS should be highest in Quebec, and lowest in the prairies including Alberta.
Also, if going further north should result in less sun exposure, then in Alberta the northern areas of Alberta (approaching the Arctic circle) should have the highest rate of MS, but stats show that the north has the least, while the very soulh has the highest. 
So, give it up. MS is not related to vitamin D deficiency and sun exposure. Move on, as it has to be related to something else.

MS and DNA: MS has been declared that it is not hereditary.  However, here has been some speculation that there is some relation to DNA and that it is relation may be related to Vikings.  This is exciting and interesting but should be easily researched due to the many ancestry kits available. From those tests research should be able to relate location of Norse ancestry with the occurrence of MS. That's a simple study, but would cost a bit due to the cost of ancestry tests.  It would be extremely interesting to know whether this is or is not a factor, but I don't see it having any help to those suffering MS.
Keep in mind that there is considerable agreement that MS doesn't have a genetic factor, or at least not that is discernible. If it was a genetic factor, then identical twins would either both have or both not have MS. However, 1 in about 5 identical twins, which shows that the basis is not genetically bases, although it may show some influence. The fraternal twins even have less, about 4 times less chance. A genetic predisposition to suffer from MS. The highest is for identical twins, followed by fraternal twins, then siblings. If there was no genetic predisposition, there should be no difference. BUT it doesn't mean you will get it, only that you are more likely to suffer it due to other factors.

But if they find out that there is a definite link, then what? Is it a solution? Not really. Maybe knowing the DNA, future parents could avoid a birth knowing their child potentially will have MS, but it would only be a potential risk. And who's saying the birth should be avoided.  Trying to weed out the gene from the population would be basically impossible. Think of the current controversy where some parents want to have an abortion because their child will be a Downs Syndrome baby, while other parents want to have their child, knowing that such a child is a blessing.

If genetic factors have an influence, what is the other trigger or triggers that cause MS? Is it environmental, or diet, or sun exposure? I rule out sun exposure, so that leaves environmental and diet. There doesn't seem to be any environmental factors, which gets us back to diet.

And reflecting to my research and theory on Autism/Learning Disabilities and rebreathing, and connecting that to the fact that MS suffers keep the stats of the country that they we born in, and not the stats of the country that they migrate to, suggests that perhaps MS is partially due to an accidental depleted rebreathing accident at birth, or within the first 18 months. It is possible that it is responsible for MS, as similar stats are reflected in sleeping with head under the covers. Yu'll have to read all me other stuff about rebreathing to understand what I am saying.

Caveat: Having used many stats that I found from many research groups and DR. that data is somewhat questionable, or weak. I believe there may be many different processes in diagnosing MS, and as such many differences between countries, etc., are inaccurate.