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Postby bromley » Mon May 01, 2006 3:00 am

This sort of research really annoys me as someone who never smoked.

Smoking Increases Risk of Multiple Sclerosis -Study

Smokers are up to three times as likely to develop multiple sclerosis than nonsmokers, according to researchers.

Researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway and Harvard University in Massachusetts surveyed 22,000 people aged 40 to 47 from 1997 to 1999 and found the risk of developing multiple sclerosis nearly three times higher for men who smoked and about two times higher for women smokers than for their nonsmoking counterparts.

"Cigarette smoke is a cocktail of chemicals that are potentially neurotoxins," said Alberto Ascherio, a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health, who worked on the study.

However, when asked specifically how smoking triggers the disease, Ascherio responded, "Honestly we don’t know. That is why this data is important." He said more research is needed.

The researchers found that most of the 87 people in the study who had multiple sclerosis started smoking 15 years before they developed the incurable disease. Of the multiple sclerosis patients, nearly 24 percent had never smoked and about 76 percent were current or past smokers.

"In order to be classified as smokers, they had to smoke at least one cigarette a day, and the number of years of smoking, in the total study population, ranged from one to 38," Trond Riise, who led the Bergen arm of the study, said in an interview conducted by e-mail.

It was not clear why male smokers had a higher rate of MS than women, Ascherio said.

The study will be published in the Oct. 28 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. "Putting all the studies together, I feel pretty confident to say that, at this point, smoking increases the risk of multiple sclerosis," Ascherio said.

Gary Franklin at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Seattle said the effect of smoking on multiple sclerosis was not extremely high.

"It’s not like the relative risk of smoking and lung cancer," where people are three to five times more susceptible of getting the cancer if they smoke, he said.

However, Franklin, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study, continued, "if I had a patient who was maybe at risk for MS because someone else had it in the family, ... and were smoking, I’d probably tell them to stop smoking."

Stephen Reingold, vice president for research programs at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said smoking is one factor that could trigger multiple sclerosis in people genetically susceptible to developing it.

"The disease is not caused by smoking," Reingold said. "When we think about MS, we think about genetic factors and we think about risk co-factors that may be infectious, possibly environmental, and, as in the case of this, behavioral."

One of the most common neurological diseases in young people, multiple sclerosis disproportionately affects young women of northern European heritage, according to the American Academy of Neurology.

In a previous study, Ascherio found that one in about 200 women in the United States risk developing the disease, in which immune cells mistakenly attack and destroy myelin, the fatty material that insulates nerve fibers.

Common symptoms include vision loss, numbness, fatigue and paralysis. MS is not fatal but can seriously disable patients.

Source: Online International News Network ©2006, Online - International News Network - the Internet Edition. All rights reserved.
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Postby jimmylegs » Mon May 01, 2006 5:22 am

i bet it would annoy u brom! surely we need no more proof that smoking is bad.

re smoking and ms, well i'm sure we know what i think: smoking strips your vitamins and i believe the susceptible need optimal nutritional status to defend against ms.

and speaking of vitamins guess what! when i was doing my earliest research on the fat solubles, i found the upper limit to be 2000 IU so i called to double check something with my ms clinic and they said oh, no, take 1000IU at the most. so then my other doctor said take 4000 IU daily and get your levels checked. so i took it daily for about ***3 months*** and just got my levels checked and i'm at 72nmol/l, which is not even in the most successful group from one study i read. 75-100 were the winners there.
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good to know

Postby robbie » Mon May 01, 2006 5:51 am

I have never smoked either, wonder how much money was spent on this highly important study, what a bunch of bs...
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The inflammation/insulin slant

Postby lyndacarol » Mon May 01, 2006 7:31 am

I have never smoked either and yet I have MS! However I was raised in a household where my father smoked ALL the time. (Being trapped in the car with it was especially awful.)

Without evidence, it seems to me that smoke (cigarette or other source) causes inflammation leading to...excess inssulin production. Same old song from me.
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Postby Arron » Mon May 01, 2006 9:59 am

this is another in a series of research linking smoking to MS. Since MS, or one branch of it, is probably a genetic susceptibility coupled with an external trigger, it is not surprising given the vast, far-ranging effects a single cigarette exerts on the body.

What's alsp interesting is looking at smoking in other inflammatory disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease. For ulcerative colitis, smoking is actually considered a "preventative" of sorts, while for Crohn's, it's an irritant. They theorize that the carbon monoxide in the smoke has an anti-inflammatory effect, and/or the nicotine is of some use. More jumble to the puzzle. For MS, clearly smoking = bad, though the isolated compound of nicotine has been anecdotally reported to help some people with quality of life.
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