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Smoking Associated With Increased Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

Smoking Associated With Increased Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

Thursday, October 30th 2003

Smokers are up to three times more likely to develop multiple sclerosis than nonsmokers, researchers report in the October 28 issue of Neurology.

The team 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 was nearly three times higher for men who smoked, and about two times higher for women smokers than for their nonsmoking counterparts.

The researchers found that most of the 87 people in the study who had multiple sclerosis started smoking 15 years before they developed the disease. Of the multiple sclerosis patients, nearly 24% had never smoked and about 76% 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 1 to 38," Dr. 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, said Dr. Alberto Ascherio, at the Harvard School of Public Health, who worked on the study.

"Putting all the studies together, I feel pretty confident to say that, at this point, smoking increases the risk of multiple sclerosis," Dr. Ascherio said.

Dr. 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," Dr. 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."

Dr. 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, Dr. 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 was smoking, I'd probably tell them to stop smoking."

Source: Reuters Health

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following supplements are all useful for kicking the habit. Use the links for more information.

Quit Smoke
Craving Control Spray
Super Family C
Honeyrose Special Herbal Cigarettes
Herbal Tobacco
Herbal Tobacco Farmers Honeyblend

Related health information can be found here:

Weight Loss Naturally

Related articles can be found here:

Marijuana Smoking Affects Seminal Fluid, Sperm
Smoking Increases Risk of Familial Pancreatic Cancer

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.




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