Scotland apparently has the highest incidence of MS in the world. When I heard that, my first thought was, "I guess that's what happens when you're an "uptight Presbyterian". Google that expression and it comes up, it's not just my invention. Presbyterians were known to be strict, disciplined, hard working,"serious", obsessed with sin (and sexually repressed), frugal, and eventually obsessed with "success". Hard on themselves individually, they were hard on everyone else, especially their children. Succeed or die, better die if you don't succeed. Since my working hypothesis is that in MS childhood stress deforms the circulatory system, this Protestant work ethic culture would seem an ideal incubator of the disease. Other happy recipients of this harsh Calvinist Protestant culture were the Netherlands, parts of Germany near the Netherlands, American Puritans and Scotch Irish, Ulster Protestants of Northern Ireland, South African Boers or Afrikaners. It would be interesting to see if these societies display a higher incidence of MS than their neighbors.
This is not to say that today's Scots are "uptight Presbyterians" any more than today's Americans are "uptight Puritans". But history casts its shadow over societies, belief systems get handed down, ways of thinking and behaving perpetuate themselves. Perhaps one could write a sequel to Religion and the rise of Capitalism, calling it Protestantism and the rise of Multiple Sclerosis or Capitalism and the Rise of Multiple Sclerosis. I wonder if China has seen a rise in Multiple Sclerosis since they have gone Capitalist? If Japan had been relatively spared it's probably thanks to their rice-fish-vegetable based diet. Their change in diet over the past 30 years has predictably led to an increased incidence of MS.
I read somewhere that in Scotland the male/female ratio of MS incidence has widened to the point there are 4 times as many women as men who develop the disease. Why? Because besides being subject to male dominance in general (let's not pretend that misogyny has vanished) the Scotswoman now has success stress fear to deal with, the injunction to succeed professionally while being disadvantaged by gender in the race. More stress.
Then move beyond PubMed's studies of Scotland and we find that Northern Ireland also has a high incidence of MS. Northern Ireland was settled by the Presbyterian (Calvinist) Scots, they have the same historical cultural background as the Scots. And why should Northern Ireland be more afflicted with MS than the South? Because the North is Protestant and the South is Catholic.
Marc Stecker of Wheelchair Kamikaze reports as well that studies of urbanization in Crete show a rise of MS in women who move to the cities. The most obvious reason for this in my opinion is the added stress of finding work in a more competitive environment. Ah yes, the higher socio-economic strata of society is the most affected. Again Success Stress.
In Chinese Medical Theory willpower, ambition, the .desire to make something
of oneself defines the Yin Kidney meridian. It is protected by its Yang partner
the Bladder Meridien which begins in the inner corner of the eye, travels up
over the head, down the back parallel the spine in 2 "vessels", over the
buttocks, down the back of the leg to finish at the outer edge of the small toe.
The Kidney/Bladder meridiens belong to the "Water" element - winter, water,
north, cold, wet, fear, fluid circulation (blood, urine etc.). "Success Stress" definitely injures
this "Water" element, weakening the kidney energy and tensing up the back and
neck. Dr. Zamboni has found the the veins leading from the neck and back are damaged in CCSVI patients. Thus treatment of the protective bladder meridian on the back acts to de-stress these areas and enhance blood circulation.
The Gall Bladder meridien is also used to treat MS patients. It
is the Yang partner to the Liver. These belong to the "Wood"
element of creation, giving birth, new idea, new start, green, spring. I am
giving birth to an idea and can feel the tension in my upper back and neck.
"Excessive mentality" would describe my current condition which is making it
difficult to sleep and to relax. The Gall Bladder meridian begins on the outer eye socket, runs several times over the head, down the neck, across the shoulders and down the outside of the leg to the 4th toe. It too rules blood circulation, is used to treat migraine headachs (another blood brain problem) among other things.
Reviewing a textbook I read while studying Acupressure, I am reminded of the natural flow of
life. Spring "wood" gives birth to an idea or project, Summer "fire" activates
the idea, it then "manifests" with late summer Earth, is communicated with
Autumn "metal", and finally reflected upon during Winter "water". I'm still in
the Spring idea phase and very far from manifestation, at least as far as this
site is concerned
When working on a project such as this, I can feel my shoulders bunch up with tension (and working at the computer with the head bent back, doesn't help.) Anyway, "Success Stress" must implicate the Bladder/Kidney "Water" element as well as the GallBladder/Liver "Wood" element which knot up the upper back, shoulders and neck.
Then look at another study - of MS incidence among various populations in Israel. Same latitude and climate. Israeli born Jews and Jewish immigrants from Europe/North America show the highest MS indicence, of middling incidence are Jewish immigrants from Africa and Asia as well as Christian Arabs, the lowest incidence being among Moslem Arabs, Druze and Bedouin. Forget the sunlight argument and the genes, the Success Stress Culture strikes me as the most critical factor.
Israeli born Jews are the most afflicted with MS in Israel.. Let's look at this phenomenon again in light of Chinese Medical Theory. Remember, it is said that fear (and cold) "injure" the Kidneys. When their Yang protector the Bladder Meridian mobilizes to protect the Kidneys, the back and neck muscles tense up affecting blood circulation to the head and spine. Israelis don't suffer from a cold climate, it must be the Fear factor. It may be that Israeli children really do grow up with a heightened sense of survival fear which affects their health.
Someone should think of doing an epidemiological comparison of MS incidence among the various religious groups. In other words, study the role of belief and or behavior in the rearing of children. Up to now, I believe one has been too preoccupied with purely material factors - genes, UVB radiation, viruses etc. Stress is as much an emotional/ psychological factor as material. The necks, shoulders and backs of stressed individuals seize up with tension, and it is exactly this phenomonen which I believe damages the vascular system in children leading eventually to adult Multiple Sclerosis.