Skip to content

The End of the MS Project

93,000 Canadians have MS.
Roger Butterfield 1936 - 2021 | Portrait by Roger’s son Randy who teaches at Red River College, Winnipeg, Manitoba

On January 31, 2023 I completed the last of my series of Literature Reviews on the Cause of Multiple Sclerosis. Over forty years of Serological evidence, the last in 2022, points to the paramyxovirus family that includes the Morbillivirus, as the cause of MS. This theory, clarified by Cook and Dowling, goes back more than 50 years. 


In the 1990s the “in-situ RT-PCR Test” was perfected and is an alternative to Serology testing. It could be used to test the paramyxovirus theory.

MS is a Problem

93,000 Canadians have MS. Saskatchewan has the second highest MS rate in the world (Alberta is 1st). 

The Beginning of the Project

I began my MS Project in 2015. 

I’m was curious; I’m retired, so no need for a Grant. My background is Historical research so my research question was; “What does the Research Literature say about the Cause of MS?”

Initial reading stated there was ‘no known cause’ but that ‘genetics and/or environmental factors’ were probably the cause.

The Literature did not conclusively support genetics or environmental factors as the cause.

A Virus

However, a 1977 Paper in the May issue of a prestigious Medical Journal seemed promising. It was by Neurologist Dr. Stuart D. Cook, MD, and Neurologist Dr. Peter Dowling, MD of Rutgers. They presented the theory that a Virus (Morbillivirus) was the probable cause of MS. 

The ‘Virus Theory’ as the cause of MS is supported by Dr. Donald H. Gilden, MD. In his Paper, “Infectious causes of multiple sclerosis”, he argues “…the disorder is acquired…” and adds, “… most likely cause is a virus…”.

Virology, the study of Viruses, is relatively new – less than 90 years old. It is a field of study that offers promise for the discovery of the cause of many medical conditions. For example, Francis Peyton Rous was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1966 for his 1910 work that connected viruses to certain cancers.

The Epstein Barr Virus

In 2021-2022, Dr. Alberto Ascherio and his team at Harvard researched EBV as the cause of MS. Robinson and Steinman of Stanford University completed a similar study.

Dr. Alberto Ascherio has studied EBV and MS for more that 25 years. In the end, EBV is NOT the cause of MS. However, I agree with Dr. Ascherio, EBV (Mononucleosis) plays a role.

Canadian Research Papers

In addition to a review of Papers from around the world, I reviewed Canadian MS research literature. I found the Canadian research papers disappointing.

One Canadian Paper suggesting Genetics as the cause of MS motivated me to take a road trip with my buddy, the late Roger Butterfield of Moose Jaw. Through observation we ‘tested’ the Paper’s Genetic assumption against the ‘Cook and Dowling’ virus assumption. We concluded the Paper’s Genetic assumption was wrong because it omitted important evidence.

Historic Perspective

The 1916 Paper by Scottish Pathologist Dr. James Walker Dawson (Dawson’s Disease) on ‘brain lesions’, common in people with MS and called Dawson’s Fingers, was ahead of its time. Today his discovery is an important MS diagnostic tools.

6,000 Hours

I spent over 6,000 hours using the ‘Literature Review’ methodology and compiled a comprehensive summary and Bibliography of research on the cause of MS. 

Testing the ‘Cook and Dowling’ Virial Cause of MS Theory – Never Done

Although inconclusive, the Literature seems to point to a Virus as the cause of MS. To the best of my knowledge, “in-situ RT-PCR” testing has never been used to test the ‘Cook and Dowling’ theory. This type of testing could be the next logical step in the search for the cause of MS. Testing is beyond the scope of my research.

I thank Moose Jaw Today and the Moose Jaw Express for giving me a forum to present MS ideas. 


My Project is dedicated to the late Roger Butterfield and men and women like Roger who make the effort to do the little extras that makes our society a better place. 

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

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks