I think we agree on more than what you are willing to admit. I believe you are confused with the nature of autoimmunity. It is not the body attacking itself for no good reason. Through the process of molecular mimicry the immune system targets a perceived antigen and all other similar proteins in the body. It just so happens that certain novel food proteins from gluten (gliadin), dairy and legumes closely resemble self tissue. This process has been well identified in celiac disease & type 1 diabetes and I contend that MS shares the same disease process.
The Guggenmos et al study
is exactly the evidence expected to be found in molecular mimicry (i.e. cross reactivity between antibodies to CNS tissue and a milk protein).
Unfortunately the tremendous significance of this research has gone unnoticed by the MS community and certainly this board's members. I feel that a response of 34% is quite remarkable because it was an observation of the response to only one of the hundreds of proteins found in dairy. Consider too that the study did not incorporate the other food proteins (e.g. gluten, legumes) known to have the capacity to precipitate autoimmunity.
Writing of which, it is well recognized that gluten and a hypersensitivity to it, are the cause of celiac disease. How can you disregard the association between an AI disease and a physiological response to a food protein in light of celiac disease? Worse yet, how can the best neuro you've seen state that auto-immune diseases are diseases where the virus has yet to be identified.
I would view this utterance, in light of celiac disease, as gross incompetence.
Further to a virus, a researcher recently found a very specific antibody in the spinal fluid of a number of PwMS. This antibody was found to be reactive with both a protein in myelin AND Epstein Barr virus. The odds of such an occurrence being by chance are astronomic. Thus we can feel relatively confident that MS is an autoimmune disease caused by molecular mimicry between myelin proteins and foreign proteins.
I believe this occurrence of an infection with one or more childhood illnesses(e.g. Epstein-Barr,HHV-6) which results in an autoimmune reaction against tissue in the CNS by molecular mimicry. Such autoimmune reactions are suppressed before any demyelination occurs. However memory cells against the infectious agent are produced and such memory cells can be seen as an autoimmune time bomb because they are also potentially autoaggressive.
MS does not occur as a result of a one time infection though. Repeated exposure to the causal element, in the absence of protective factors is required. Dietary proteins are the constant which provides this source.
How do you reconcile a bacterial/ viral cause with the Hawaii paradox? The cause must adversely affect those of Japanese origin whereas at the same time have a positive effect on Caucasians.
As for your comment about Ebbers, yes, I do agree with genetic susceptibility as a necessary component to MS but a family is most often chronically exposed to the same lifestyle influences as diet and vitamin D deficiency. You'll note Ebbers is an advocate of vitamin D playing a significant role in MS.
Please see my comments to his research posted at the ThisIsMS site
Some of your comments ring true with respect to longevity and signs of MS. Consider though, Type 1 diabetes. It has been shown to have an identical disease process to MS aside from the self tissue which is targeted by the immune system. In diabetes the GAD proteins on the pancreas are targeted, thus impairing insulin production. Because there are so many fewer GAD proteins than CNS cells, it takes far fewer attacks on the pancreatic tissue than the CNS tissue to produce noticeable symptoms. Hence the alias of Type 1 diabetes being juvenile diabetes. It takes effect much sooner in life.
Were you aware that consumption of 2,000 IU per day vitamin D resulted in an 80% risk reduction of Type 1 diabetes in a study out of Finland?
I agree with Lisa on the exposure of females and males to sunshine. There's also the hormone card too, and the rounded hips and breasts and ………sigh.