I've been reading a book lately called - of all things - "Don't Drink Your Milk" (by Frank A. Oski, M.D.) One of the most frightening correlations with milk consumption is Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In the book, Dr. Oski points out the very peculiar geographical distribution of MS since it appears to concentrate in colder, temperate climates and is almost entirely absent near the equator. Dr. Oski cites several studies in the '70's where researchers from the University of Michigan found milk consumption to be the only significant link between MS out of 21 countries around the world (published in the Lancet medical journal).
I know, that's an old study, but that's just when researchers STARTED to see the connection.
Here's an quote from a more recent study (as published in the journal Neuro-Epidemiology, Vol. 11, No. 4-6, 1992).
"We have studied the relationship between MS prevalence and dairy product consumption in 27 countries and 29 populations all over the world, with Spearman's correlation test. A good correlation between liquid cow milk and MS prevalence ( = 0.836) was found; this correlation was highly significant (p < 0.001). A low but still significant correlation was obtained with cream or butter consumption ( = 0.619 and = 0.504, respectively). No correlation was found for cheese. These results suggest that liquid cow milk could contain factor(s) - no longer present in the processed milk - influencing the clinical appearance of MS."
If you remember anything from statistics, a "p-value" of .001 - as was found between milk and MS - is really hard to argue with. It's the gold standard of statisticians.
Since MS is an auto-immune disease where white blood cells attack the myelin sheath of nervous tissue, it's interesting that "One of the proteins in milk mimics a particular protein affiliated with human myelin. This milk protein could easily trigger an autoimmune response to native myelin, triggering an MS episode. Indeed, this immunologic cross-reactivity has been demonstrated in the laboratory in rodents that have MS (Guggenmos J et al 2004; Stefferl A et al 2000).
And if that were'nt enough, The Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre says, "There is plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting that milk can make Multiple Sclerosis symptoms worse, cause relapses or the progression of MS."
Now, with all that said, why have so few Americans ever heard this? Why are we told instead to "drink our milk" for healthy bones? Perhaps the Fluid Board (the new alias of the Dairy Council) should run a liability statement to their ads like the drug companies do... "Side-effects of milk consumption include leaky gut, acne, anemia, and auto-immune diseases including Multiple Sclerosis".