New confirmatory evidence has been published from South African scientists that higher cell membrane concentrations of saturated fats predict worse outcomes in people with MS.
They measured fatty acid composition of red blood and peripheral blood mononuclear cell membranes of 31 patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and 30 healthy control subjects using gas chromatography. Saturated fatty acids were correlated with the severity of neurological outcome as measured by the Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale.
This further confirms Swank's and others' views of the strong link between saturated fat intake and membrane composition and the incidence and progression of MS. We know that, because of their high melting points, saturated fats are solid at body temperature. Therefore, when in cell membranes, they make the membranes less fluid and stickier, giving rise to many Western diseases, including heart disease, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and MS. In a separate paper, the same authors showed that the membranes of cells in people with MS were less fluid, and that this correlated with increased saturated fatty acid composition of the membranes. It is reassuring to see scientists investigating these key areas of basic science in multiple sclerosis pathogenesis and progression.