Skip to content

Letter to the Editor: Response to Letter to the Editor by Leon W. Retief

A letter to the editor by Richard Dowson
letter to the editor getty images
(Getty Images)

Leon commented on the proposition, ‘correlation is not causation’ and asked about epidemiologist Alberto Ascherio’s latest Epstein-Barr Virus research. I have not read the latest Ascherio Research so I cannot comment on it. I will comment on EBV and MS.

First – Old business. In 1998 Andy Mee and his Team at Manchester University, UK, perfected a PCR Test and tested people with Paget’s Bone Disease for the presence of Canine Distemper Virus. They found CDV in 100% of their samples.

The Mee et al Study was: “Detection of canine distemper virus in 100% of Paget’s disease samples by in situ-reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction” – I call it a PCR Test.

Canine Distemper Virus is a Variant of the highly infectious Human Measles Virus (Uhl 2019). So, human infection is not a surprise.

Question:         Can the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory (RRPL) do the ‘Mee PCR Test’ to test People with MS for the Canine Distemper Virus?

Second – The CBC, The NY Times and others carried the News Release about the latest work of epidemiologist Alberto Ascherio and his Team at Harvard. The NY Times headline read, “Common Virus May Play Role in Debilitating Neurological Illness”. Important in The Times is the phrase; “May Play a Role”. 

Consider an Alternative – Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) is the most common virus and is found in 90% of the world population. EBV (Infectious Mononucleosis) is often called ‘Mono’. In high school we called it the ‘kissing disease’. The CDC explains, “Most people get infected with EBV at some point in their lives”. It lasts 2 to 4 weeks and causes fatigue, fever, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and enlarged spleen, among other symptoms

The most critical fact – EBV – weakens the Immune System. The ‘sick’ person can’t effectively fight infections. If a Pathogen is present, it could infect the person, thus EBV ‘plays a role’.

The MSN news story says, “… the risk of MS increased 32-fold after infection with the Epstein-Barr virus”. Does this mean because EBV reduced the immune system’s ability to fight infections and a ‘predator virus’ invaded the individual while he or she was ill?

Studies show, Inuit of Alaska and Greenland; Indigenous Canadians, Hutterites, Sami (Laplanders); the Dutch of the Netherlands and others around the world, have low to no MS cases. Since EBV is present in 90% of the population, why is the Prevalence Rate (PR) for MS so low in these sub-groups? Are there other factors?

Third – Multiple Sclerosis is characterized by ‘Demyelination’, a process that damages the Myelin Sheath and exposures nerve fibres leading to disruption in the Central Nervous System.

The evidence is overwhelming that Canine Distemper Virus causes Demyelination (Vandevelde 2005). There seems to be no evidence that EBV causes demyelination.

Demyelization is a Characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis and Canine Distemper Virus.

Response to proposition, “Correlation is not Causation”

Leon is absolutely correct; correlation is not causation.

However, correlations are critical in decision making. They lead to questions like: What are the variables? Is there a pattern? Is the patter consistent? Is there a positive correlation; a negative correlation or no correlation? Can an inference be made?

From correlations I wondered why some groups developed MS and others didn’t and was there a pattern. Since the groups were genetically diverse, was there something else? Could it be climate, cultural or a social variable?

Since Torres Straits Islanders at the equator and Inuit of Greenland had about the same Prevalence for MS, the climate variable was ruled out. I kept the Cultural and Social variables.

I found that Germany had a higher prevalence for MS than the Netherlands. “What made the Dutch prevalence so low? Was it Cultural or Social?” 

There seemed to be a direct correlation between keeping indoor pets and the prevalence of MS. Cook and Dowling explored this in 1977 and wrote their Hypothesis, arguing CDV played a major role in the etiology of Multiple Sclerosis. The Hypothesis has never been tested.

TV crime shows use DNA testing to catch criminals. Think of PCR testing as testing for ‘criminal Viruses’. The 1998 Mee research on Paget’s Bone Disease found CDV present. Now, 24-years later, maybe someone could use the methodology to test for CDV in People with MS. 

Any Veterinarian Study on Demyelination – Another Variable

Veterinarian Science Research confirmed CDV caused Demyelination? (Vandevelde, Marc and Andreas Zurbriggen, “Demyelination in canine distemper virus infection: a review”, 2005). 

Summary
CDV causes Demyelination; CDV infects humans (Mee 1998) and CDV is a Variant of Human Measles (Uhl 2019).

The Correlations are there. The 45-year-old, 1977 Cook-Dowling Hypothesis is there. 

Why no PCR Testing of People with MS for CDV?

Richard Dowson, Moose Jaw
January 19, 2022

“The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.