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Multiple Sclerosis News: Early Smoking Bad, Prolonged Breast Feeding Good for Mom to Stave off Relapses

roadskater's picture
A couple of recent reports of preliminary research or small studies are interesting. Much research seems to involve early age factors in developing multiple sclerosis later. In this regard, a study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine indicates that those who started smoking before age 17 had a higher risk of getting MS...

...32% of the MS patients were early smokers as compared to 19% of the people who didn't develop the disease. This means the people who started smoking before age 17 have 2.7 times increased risk multiple sclerosis than nonsmokers.

This is from a small study of 87 patients. It'll be interesting to see if this can be done with larger samples and comparing levels of smoking (cigarettes per day).

Another study addresses the high rate of relapses of multiple sclerosis after giving birth. It had been thought that breast feeding did not have an effect on these relaspses, but a new study suggests that among those who exclusively breast feed without use of formula at all, there is a supression of relapses.

Dr. Annette Langer-Gould, lead researcher of the study stated, “Women with MS have fewer relapses during pregnancy and an unusually high risk of relapse in the first 3-4 months postpartum.” [medguru]

If I read the results correctly, it appears that among those who did not breast feed exclusively for at least two months...

...87 percent had a relapse after pregnancy, as opposed to 36 percent who nursed exclusively for the 2 months after child birth.

One reason women did not breast feed or shortened the period of time for it was so they could return to taking their multiple sclerosis medication as soon as possible. Continuance of breast feeding, however...

...results in prolonged lactation amenorrhea and ovarian suppression, which may lead to anti inflammatory effects. Therefore women who only breast fed got their menses back later while menstrual periods resumed earlier in those that introduced formula feed within two months. [medguru]
Again, this is a small study, and as researchers love to say, more study is required.


Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
600 N Wolfe St # B110
Baltimore, Maryland 21287
United States
Phone: (410) 955-5000
39° 17' 40.848" N, 76° 35' 26.2932" W
Stanford University
450 Serra Mall
Stanford, California 94305
United States
Phone: (650) 723-2300
37° 25' 46.7832" N, 122° 10' 22.4904" W

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