Dr. Swank

About Dr. Swank

Dr. Swank began studying the correlation between diet and MS in the late 1940’s. His book, The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book, has achieved wide acclaim from both within and outside the medical community.

He passed away on November 16th, 2008; however, his work continues to touch the lives of thousands of MS sufferers who have found hope through his diet.

A fascinating history

About July 1948, I was offered a five-year-long opportunity to investigate Multiple Sclerosis with adequate financing for my family (wife and two children), and three months travel to observe others and their work. I was also given full financial support for my research.

September 1, 1948, I arrived in Montreal and established a home for my family. I spent the rest of the year examining the MS patients at the Montreal Neurological Clinic and researched information in the McGill University library. The four months of intense study of MS led to three possible leads:

  1. Usually the onset of severe attacks developed rapidly.
  2. The onset of most individual attacks suggested vascular origins.
  3. The disease was found worldwide but particularly common in the industrial countries.

During the Second World War several countries in Europe occupied by the Germans had been deprived of much of their fat because it had been shipped to Germany. I elected first to go to Western Europe to see if this change in diet had influenced the frequency of the disease.

In Norway, Professor Monrad Krohn, Chief of Neurology, suggested that he seldom saw cases of MS from along the coast, where fishing was the primary industry, but further inland, where farming was the primary industry, and in the mountains the frequency of MS was more common. He suggested that I see Julia Backer who was in charge of recording the geographic distribution of the disease. She was very interested, and the same day we designed a questionnaire requesting age of onset of MS and its place of onset, among other things. The questionnaires were sent to all hospitals and neurologists in Norway.

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