A follow up on Geomagnetic Disturbances and Multiple Sclerosis- In December of 2013, I wrote a post titled, “Geomagnetic Disturbances and Multiple Sclerosis,” which was a result of my coming across a paper on the subject. The paper (which is available via a link in the post) was very interesting to me as I have always had an interest in the Vitamin D hypothesis, which the geomagnetic hypothesis is similar to while also challenging it. I was snooping around today and found a companion paper to the original titled, “Correlation of multiple sclerosis incidence in the UK 1990-2010 with geomagnetic disturbances” by Dr. Seyed Aidin Sajedi and Fahimeh Abdollahi (you can read the paper by clicking the link). I thought I should post about it here in case anyone who read the original post has any interest.
Reading through the paper, one key passage caught my eye:
As Mackenzie et al indicated, they could not explain the cause of decreasing MS incidence trend in the UK, while, by using GMD hypothesis this trend can be explained. In the time of framing GMD hypothesis, we discussed how it can explain historical MS incidence trend (2). Except than a period of 1960 – 1970, GMDs had an increasing overall trend since 1900 up to about 1990 due to increasing solar activities. But, after 1990 and especially since 2004 the overall trend has been decreasing. If we regard GMD as an important MS risk factor, then the observed decreasing trend in MS incidence would not be surprising. In addition, the cause of significant higher incidence and prevalence of MS in Scotland can be explained easily, as it is located exactly under the hot line of GM60L.
This evaluation again indicated that we need a substantial revision in the method of reporting MS incidence in future epidemiological researches. Important message of this finding for MS investigators, especially in high latitudes near GM60L that experience the most GMDs, is to provide long-term reports of MS incidence with higher resolution, i.e. at least monthly data of MS incidence based on the exact time of disease onset, not just the time of diagnosis confirmation.
Providing data of the exact time of relapses also seem to be useful and maybe more practical due to the awareness and sensitivity of patients to report promptly any new signs or symptoms to their physicians. Then, it would be possible to conduct superposed epoch analyses to investigate actual abilities and validity of any potential risk factor and related hypothesis. Clarifying this fact especially for GMD hypothesis may be quiet valuable, not only for better understanding of MS pathophysiology, but also for prevention of relapses by modifying treatments just before increasing exposure to the risk factor; due to the fact that observational stations in the Earth orbit let us to predict significant GMD before occurrence.
Now everyone has heard the saying, “correlation does not equal causation,” however, these finding are not insignificant. I’m not a scientist, and never will be, but as a person living with MS I want to know more. I know when I travel south I start to feel better after a few days and when I return to Northern Alberta I begin to feel poorly again within a week. In speaking with other MSers, I know that I’m not the only one. The differences between Scotland and the rest of the UK can seemingly be explained via the GMD, or geomagnetic, hypothesis.
The above passage also seems to indicate that it may be possible to forecast high-risk times in relation to GMD. This could potentially allow doctors to start preventing or limiting the impact of, “relapses by modifying treatments just before increasing exposure to the risk factor.” Can you imagine what that would mean to MSers in terms of limiting the onset of disability if your doctor knew when the chances of relapse would be highest due to GMD’s and could alter treatment to compensate? It could be a game changer for MSers everywhere.