Results of the Diet & Multiple Sclerosis Study
On Tuesday, January 16, 2008 the McDougall Program made first contact with the Department of Neurology at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU, the medical school in Portland, Oregon) with a proposal to study the effects of a very low-fat diet on Multiple Sclerosis (MS). OHSU was chosen because of Roy Swank, MD, head of the Division of Neurology at OHSU from 1954 until 1974. Dr. Swank was the founder of the low-fat dietary approach to MS. He was also my friend and one of my mentors.
During his remarkable career Dr. Swank published dozens of studies in major medical journals showing that a low-fat diet would essentially stop the progression of MS. Unfortunately, his work never caused an impact on the practice of neurology, primarily because there is no financial incentive to promote simple diets to cure diseases. Drug therapies, costing $55,000 annually, are the only therapies available to MS patients, even though they are largely ineffective. With the best efforts of well-meaning neurologists, half of patients diagnosed with MS will become severely disabled, or worse, within 10 years.