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Julie  Stachowiak, Ph.D.

What Can (Almost) Triple Multiple Sclerosis Risk? Early Smoking.

By February 20, 2009

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If someone starts smoking before age 17, his or her risk for multiple sclerosis increases a lot, 2.7 times to be exact. According to a study of over 30,000 people (87 of whom had multiple sclerosis) that looked at smoking history and health, researchers found that 32% of people with multiple sclerosis were earlier smokers (compared to 19% of the larger group).

What does this tell us about MS? Well, that the environment can play a strong role on MS risk (and that, by avoiding some risk factors, MS rates could be decreased). This is important. Causes of MS still remain a mystery and seem to be a mix of genetic and environmental factors. This study tells us one way to reduce future diagnoses of multiple sclerosis through behavioral interventions.

The study will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting for 2009 by Joseph Finkelstein of Johns Hopkins.

Read more: How Smoking Makes Multiple Sclerosis Worse - Some Proposed Mechanisms of Action

March 10, 2009 at 8:58 am
(1) john cawiezell says:

My father has had relapsing remitting for 8 years. I am 31 years old and started smoking when I was 14. What should I do to be looking out for symptoms?

October 20, 2009 at 2:09 am
(2) doodle says:

John, first let’s please forget about silly studies like these that really don’t mean anything. The good news is, you have nothing to worry about in terms of MS and here’s why. If your father has MS then your risk of developing it is about 5 out of 100. You’re already 31 so that probably brings your risk of developing MS in the future down to about 3% to 4%. The reason you don’t have to worry is that even in the unlikely event you were to get MS, with the new treatments available MS just isn’t a serious disease anymore and will be curable in 5 to 10 years.

February 3, 2013 at 10:37 pm
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February 6, 2013 at 7:35 am
(4) pick up coach says:

Quite a few good items listed here and actually just didn’t have a idea with regards to any of this before so thanks a lot for the information

February 6, 2013 at 11:09 am
(5) Pat says:

MS isn’t curable and there has been no certain date published when it will be. I started smoking when I was 14 and continued for 8 years before I quit. I believe there is a link from reading articles and findings from the research done. But remember the more chemical and toxins you put in your body, the more of a chance some sort of negative reaction you will get. Not only MS, but tumours, cancer or other illness and disease.

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