Extraordinary! Swank and Zamboni agree on the cause of MS

George Jelinek Community Member
  • Professor Roy Laver Swank was a pioneer in MS research. His successful treatment of 144 people with MS with a low saturated fat diet over 34 years was a breakthrough in MS management, and should have been acknowledged as such by his peers, and taken up by the profession. But on reading his 'Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book', a startling fact emerges. Swank appears to have predicted the work of Zamboni in his Chronic Cerebro-Spinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) hypothesis of MS causation. Not only did he develop the treatment for the disease, but he may have found the cause as well.

    On p81 of his book, Swank says: "...the frequent location of the pathological lesions (plaques, or areas of demyelination) in the brain and spinal cord surrounding small venous channels, suggest that the small blood vessels (microcirculation), which includes the arterioles, capillaries and venules, play a role in the genesis of this disease. This contention has been supported by the observations that small arterioles and venules of the brain and spinal cord are thickened, often tortuous, nodular, and alternately constricted and dilated...."

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    On p84 Swank states that "...Recent study of the cerebral blood flow (CBF)......revealed significant reduction of the flow in the MS patients. ...In patients with MS, there was a progressive, generalized decrease in CBF....The rates of decrease were significantly greater than in normals, and they correlated directly with the speed of progress of the disease."

    But Swank took things further than Zamboni. He postulated a cause for these small blood vessel obstructions and decrease in blood flow: on p86 he says: "A search for a mechanism that could cause both an interference with, and slowing down of, the cerebral... blood flow, and breakdown of the blood-brain barrier in the central nervous system, leads to a consideration of the circulatory changes that have been observed in a number of species, including man, following large saturated fat meals." And of course he followed this up with an intervention trial, where he gave people with MS a low saturated fat diet, with startling results.

    It is extraordinary that we in the medical profession have ignored Swank's work for so long. In hindsight, not only did he develop his theories from basic observational epidemiological studies, as we do today, but he did laboratory work to confirm the likely causes of circulatory problems in MS, and then actually showed that changing the diet from saturated to unsaturated fats stopped disease progression.

    Today, we accept that saturated fat causes many of the circulatory diseases in Western society, including heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, stroke, and so on. These diseases are characterised by narrowing of vessels and reduced blood flow. Zamboni's contribution has been to focus us again on this mechanism in MS, like the others, a typically Western disease. As with the other diseases, Zamboni's work suggests that once the damage is done, opening up the narrowed vessels surgically provides temporary relief; but Swank's lifelong research makes us realise that, in all probability, if we wish to make a real difference long term, dramatic dietary changes are necessary.

  • Once again, we in the MS community have reason to celebrate the amazing genius of Professor Roy Laver Swank.

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Published On: April 20, 2010
12 Comments
  • Anonymous
    Joy
    Feb. 06, 2011

    Nicely written.

    I must take issue with this one statement: "It is extraordinary that we in the medical profession have ignored Swank's work for so long." 

    I disagree about how "extraordinary" is that lack of response by the American medical profession.

     

    I am pretty well convinced that "the medical profession"-- like any profession-- will...

    RHMLucky777

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    Nicely written.

    I must take issue with this one statement: "It is extraordinary that we in the medical profession have ignored Swank's work for so long." 

    I disagree about how "extraordinary" is that lack of response by the American medical profession.

     

    I am pretty well convinced that "the medical profession"-- like any profession-- will ignore those concepts counterproductive to their own profits and choose to promote those which bring in the bucks, pure and simple.

    More now than ever it is up to the CUSTOMER (patient, consumer, spender) to seek out those therapies that are productive and successful for ourselves, whether that means the Swank diet, surgery for CCSVI, alternative or traditional Western medicine. Like your medical provider, you may have to explore various remedies or experiment with trial and error. Unlike your medical provider, the patient/consumer has a vested interest not only in the end result (wellness? cure? quality of life?) but in the  process towards wellness, the physical and financial struggle, and not least of all, the time spent or wasted on costly "accepted" but ineffective therapies!

     

    I think the "extraordinary" thing is that so FEW patients bravely explore additional, or unique answers and that so few physicians support that exploration.

    Hopefully reforms in "healthcare" and attitudes towards individual responsiblity will improve medical treatment and traditions in the future.

    I regret I'll be long dead by then! Frown

     

     

     

  • richie
    Feb. 06, 2011

    I been married to a vegetarian for the past 27 years and have known that I have had m.s. for the past 20.

    Yes, I had my stents and angio last summer in Albany and can now go on short walks with my wife and teenage kids and I, without a doubt, attribute my new-found energy to the adjustments to my veins!

    I am now looking forward to a much brighter future!

     ...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I been married to a vegetarian for the past 27 years and have known that I have had m.s. for the past 20.

    Yes, I had my stents and angio last summer in Albany and can now go on short walks with my wife and teenage kids and I, without a doubt, attribute my new-found energy to the adjustments to my veins!

    I am now looking forward to a much brighter future!

     

     

  • Man on a Mission
    Apr. 23, 2010

    While Dr. Zamboni's surgery may seem like the silver bullet for MS, with surgery comes risks, and this is all experimental.  Just as one shouldn't have angioplasty instead of eating right to prevent heart disease, I don't think the availablity of an experimental surgical procedure should distract from the fact that Dr. Swank created and Dr. Jelinek refined...

    RHMLucky777

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    While Dr. Zamboni's surgery may seem like the silver bullet for MS, with surgery comes risks, and this is all experimental.  Just as one shouldn't have angioplasty instead of eating right to prevent heart disease, I don't think the availablity of an experimental surgical procedure should distract from the fact that Dr. Swank created and Dr. Jelinek refined a diet that can save us from the ravages of this disease.  I am a dedicated Swanker and feeling great.  Read my tips at www.manonamsion.wordpress.com.

    • Anonymous
      Guest
      Feb. 05, 2011

      I have followed the Swank diet for 5 1/2 years without a relapse and no cheating.  This July I went to Poland and had the CCSVI treatment.  It has helped me in ways that I didn't even think were MS related.  I recommend both if you can.  I still had blockages and reflux in both jugular veins even with the diet.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Apr. 21, 2010

    I have been on the Swank diet ever since i was diagnosed with PPMS 4 years ago. I have now been tested for CCSVI. I have narrowed internal cerebral veins. I live in Vancouver, Canada.

    • George Jelinek
      Apr. 21, 2010

      It will be interesting, when the research on CCSVI begins in earnest, to what extent the Swank diet protects against the narrowing of cerebral veins. Has the diet made a difference to your condition?


      Best wishes


      George

    • Anonymous
      blanche
      Apr. 21, 2010

      Yes the diet has made a difference. Reduction in PAIN! A week at a time I cut out foods/liquids that were negatives. I love this diet! I reccomend it to all ms'ers/ccsvi folks!! I have been staying at my level of dissability, not advancing much at all.

       

    • George Jelinek
      Apr. 21, 2010

      Great news. It would be interesting to see what happens to the vein narrowing over time on the diet. 

    • Donna Jo
      Apr. 21, 2010

      I must look into this diet as I too have ppms. I also live in the Vancouver

      area and am searching sites to see how and where I can have my veins

      tested?  There is so much information out there right now its overwhelming!

       

      Any 'tips' or info would be greatly appreciated.

       

      DJ

    • George Jelinek
      Apr. 21, 2010

      Hi Donna Jo

       

      The diet is described in great detail in my book Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis (http://www.overcomingmultiplesclerosis.org/book), which also describes all the research behind it, as well as many other things you can do to stop the disease progressing. Best wishes and good luck

       

      George

    • Anonymous
      blanche
      Apr. 22, 2010

      DJ,

      u can get the testing at false creek urgent care. Google them, on the website u'll see ccsvi. Go there. They are fantastic people, and very busy. there is a waiting list  for testing .They have been trained by zamboni. Cost is $2350. for doppler and mrv.

      good luck.

      b.

       

    • Lisa Quick
      Dec. 18, 2011

      I had my blood tested for food intolerances 3 years ago and have been following those foods with some cheating. I do not cheat anymore, I have noticed some help but have had MS foe 36 years ans am 49. I do notice fair ups when I eat those foods my blood test states not to, www.msrebel.com is my website. I have not had CCSVI and will not until there is more...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      I had my blood tested for food intolerances 3 years ago and have been following those foods with some cheating. I do not cheat anymore, I have noticed some help but have had MS foe 36 years ans am 49. I do notice fair ups when I eat those foods my blood test states not to, www.msrebel.com is my website. I have not had CCSVI and will not until there is more info that it is done properly. Withthe help of my brother Brian and a charity event they play in my honor I will have the money to purchase an HBOT machine, that is supposed to help repair lesions. Fatigue is huge aand insomnia, my hope is that the HBOT will help. As soon as I get it I will be showing further MRI's so my fellow MS patients can decide for themselves. (I presently have not posted my most recent MRIs but will after the holidays)  Of course SS does not pay for this treatment, I know I am fortunate but we will see what happens. I did notice that still many of the foods I was eating on the Swank diet my blood work showed I should not be eating them. I have emailed back and forth with Dr.Wahls (http://www.terrywahls.com/about-Terry-Wahls)  and she told me she thought I should listen to to my blood test when it comes to foods I eat. That's my 2 cents anyway. Happy Holidays to all!Smile~ Lisa Quick