Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Links Cigarette Smoking With Progression Of Multiple Sclerosis

Date:
May 12, 2005
Source:
Harvard School of Public Health
Summary:
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) recently discovered that cigarette smoking may contribute to the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS), suggesting that quitting smoking could limit or delay central nervous system deterioration.

Boston, MA -- Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) recently discovered that cigarette smoking may contribute to the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS), suggesting that quitting smoking could limit or delay central nervous system deterioration. This is the first time that a modifiable risk factor for MS progression has been identified, providing a new strategy for patients hoping to control neurological damage from the disease. Study results appear in the March 9, 2005 issue of Brain.

Related Articles


Miguel Hernαn, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of epidemiology at HSPH, noted that "the findings are interesting because no modifiable risk factors for the progression of MS are known. This was the first prospective study that identified a potential intervention (quitting smoking) for reducing the risk of progression of MS."

Analyzing over 2,000 medical records in the General Practice Research Database (GPRD), researchers identified 179 British patients who were originally diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS, a form of the disease in which symptoms fade and recur in unpredictable patterns. Patients who were current or past smokers were 3.6 times as likely as patients who had never smoked to develop secondary progressive MS, a later stage of the disease marked by steady deterioration of the central nervous system. This disease progression also occurred more quickly in patients who were identified as current or past smokers. The study also supported earlier research showing that smoking may increase the risk of initial MS diagnosis. Current and past smokers were 30% more likely to be diagnosed with MS than those who had never smoked.

While more research is needed to understand the mechanisms behind these findings, Hernαn and his colleagues speculate that nitrous oxide, a chemical present in cigarette smoke, may play a role in hastening the degeneration of nerve fibers. Alternatively, chemicals in cigarette smoke could damage the cells that create myelin, a protective coating for neurons, or may predispose smokers to autoimmune responses.

According to Hernαn, "Our findings raise a number of other questions that future research needs to address. Does a dose-response relation between cumulative exposure to tobacco and risk exist? How long does the tobacco effect last? Is second-hand smoking associated with an increased risk as well?"

###

The research was funded by a grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Harvard School of Public Health is dedicated to advancing the public's health through learning, discovery, and communication. More than 300 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 900-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children's health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Harvard School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Harvard School of Public Health. "Study Links Cigarette Smoking With Progression Of Multiple Sclerosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 May 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050511213746.htm>.
Harvard School of Public Health. (2005, May 12). Study Links Cigarette Smoking With Progression Of Multiple Sclerosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050511213746.htm
Harvard School of Public Health. "Study Links Cigarette Smoking With Progression Of Multiple Sclerosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/05/050511213746.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 9 out of 10 excessive drinkers in the country are not alcohol dependent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) — Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins