Kenmare ND - Upside Down Under

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Upside Down Under

By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News


Is a breakthrough near?...

Posted 3/14/18 (Wed)

Nobody knows exactly what causes multiple sclerosis. There are theories all over the scale, and some of them are quite credible, but nobody can look you in the eye and say “yes, this is what causes MS.”

Several weeks ago there was an encouraging report on Canadian TV regarding MS research. Doctors at the University of Saskatchewan are analyzing blood samples in an attempt to find a link to the prevalence of MS on the prairie.

It is fairly well known that people living in higher latitudes are at greater risk of contracting MS.

That’s essentially a fact until you reach the Arctic Circle, which is 66 Degrees North Latitude. From that point to the North Pole, MS doesn’t exist among the few people living there.

North Dakota has dealt with MS a lot of years with a couple of things happening in 1995 that linked perhaps the most common thread of all to MS, radiation.

The first item was when Keith Rogers, a reporter with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, wrote a series of articles describing the drift of ionizing radiation from the nuclear detonations in Nevada in the early 1950s.

Rogers also interviewed Sheryn Doll, who had MS at 50 years old in 1995. She was 12 years old in 1957 when federal agents moved into Mandan and closed down a creamery and didn’t say anything to anybody about why they did it.

Doll told the Las Vegas newspaper she drank a lot of milk as a child and growing up in Hebron, the milk her school received, came from the creamery in Mandan.

To this day the federal government hasn’t officially explained why it closed the creamery in what has become known as the Mandan Milk Mystery.

But, science has ascertained since then the radioactive isotope Strontium 90 is nearly identical to calcium in chemical make up and is biologically “a bone seeker.”

Thus it was theorized by Rogers, and later others including Dr. Jeremy Slater, a well-known neurologist in Bismarck, that dairy cows ate grass laced with Strontium 90 and it got into the milk supply that was processed in the Mandan creamery.

No records exist to indicate if the dairy cows may have developed ionizing radiation poisoning.

The second item is likely a stronger case for radiation causing MS. It’s in an unusual book that was delivered to the North Dakota State Library in April 1995.

It’s titled the Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press. Written in English and Russian, it describes how 29,000 people who cleaned up after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, developed several diseases including MS.

Sergei Boiko was one of the workers at Chernobyl. Interviewed in 1994, he said he contracted MS in the eight years since Chernobyl exploded April 26, 1986.

Dr. Stephen McDonough, who in the 1990s, was the chief medical officer for the North Dakota Department of Health, became interested in this possible radiation link but admitted he hadn’t considered radiation as a possible cause before he learned of the Post-Soviet Press article.

Dr. Andre Bouville, who is now retired, was with the National Cancer Institute in 1995. He was one of only two Americans who went to Chernobyl to study its effects on the Russian and Ukrainian people. His research was never made public.

Slater, however, said point blank, there’s no solid proof that radiation such as Strontium 90 causes MS but, “It’s certainly worth looking into.”

If you consider the path of the drift from those nuke tests in the early ‘50s, they drifted right over the top of Wyoming, Montana, the western Dakotas, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

You can break it down even further and find that the highest risk of MS through the 1990s was in Montana and the highest risk in Canada was in Saskatchewan.

In 2007, an independent study was released linking radiation in general to MS. It was done at the University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran, and was funded basically to see if a link existed between X-ray radiation and MS.

Six physicians concluded that yes, ionizing radiation is a potential trigger, but there are others. They include latitude, hours of daylight, carbon monoxide, ultraviolet light, temperature, viruses, pets, and toxic chemicals.

Assume you have a weakened immune system and you get an X-ray. The radiation enters your body and “pulls that trigger.”

Perhaps that’s what happened to Sheryn Doll in the 1950s in the Hebron school cafeteria when she drank milk with embedded Strontium 90.