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Cigarettes linked to increased risk of MS
[Posted: Tue 01/09/2009 by Olivia Fens www.irishhealth.com]
Smoking cigarettes may significantly increase a person’s risk of developing multiple sclerosis, a new study has found.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common disabling neurological disease of young adults, with more than 7,000 people in Ireland affected by it.
In a new study, involving almost 2,800 people between the ages of 16 and 70, researchers found that smoking almost doubled the risk of developing MS in men.
In women who smoked, the risk of developing MS was nearly one-and-a-half times higher compared to women who did not smoke.
The risk remained high for up to five years after the participant stopped smoking and the risk climbed the more a person smoked.
However, the researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden said that more research was needed to better understand the mechanisms behind the findings.
“Theories are that smoking may raise the risk of MS by increasing the frequency and persistence of respiratory infections, or by causing autoimmune reactions in genetically susceptible people,” they said.
The study was published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
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