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Breaking: Can MS Be Caused by Bacteria?

By Daryl H. Bryant (492 words)
Posted in Living with MS on November 19, 2013

There are (3) comments permalink

Breaking: Can MS Be Caused by Bacteria?

Researchers and doctors have identified several factors that may increase the risk of having MS, as new studies suggest that a bacteria can contribute to the condition.

New MS Results

This finding comes from the efforts of a team composed of researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College and the Rockefeller University. In the study, scientists discussed a specific type of bacteria: Clostridium Perfringens. Research showed how the presence of these bacteria in animals cause symptoms similar to those that MS patients experience. Of course, this doesn't paint it as a cause in humans, but it does open up new avenues of research into treatment and possibly treatment for multiple sclerosis.

One of the major realizations brought about this study, which was published in PLoS ONE, is the idea that MS may not be the body forming an attack on itself. Instead, the body may be attacking a foreign body such as this germ, and the symptoms may develop as a consequence. It may be that MS sufferers have a reaction to these specific bacteria that other bodies do not.

While scientists have found that individuals living with MS have an immune reaction to the fat sheaths, around fibers in the nerves, the belief was that there was something causing this reaction. Researchers have been hesitant to call this an autoimmune disease because of the suspicion that MS is reacting to something from outside the body.

Factors of Multiple Sclerosis

This supports the idea that MS only develops with both the necessary environmental and genetic factors. Studies have shown that children are more likely to develop MS if one parent also has the condition. It could be that parents are passing down genes that have this abnormal immune reaction.

Other interesting factors have been discovered as well. For example, multiple sclerosis seems more common in patients that live farther from the equator. It's not known whether this is due to a lack of sunlight or some other factor that correlates to distance from the equator. Researchers are still busy looking for common denominators by examining MS clusters -- areas where the condition is more prevalent -- but this recent study provides specific information that hasn't yet been available to scientists.

The Future of Treatment and Prevention

While this reveal doesn't mean that a treatment for multiple sclerosis is right around the corner, it does give scientists an area to focus on. Researchers hope to find a treatment that could combat the immune response to Clostridium Perfringens to restore normal nervous function to patients. Some researchers also hope that this find helps identify people who are at risk of developing MS to prevent the condition from becoming a reality for those patients.

Comments (3)

lori posted on: November 19, 2013

Three of the five people I hung out with in high school (myself included) developed MS in our 30's. How's that for a cluster?

Daryl posted on: November 23, 2013

Lori, that is very interesting and it does make you wonder more and more about our particular environment that we're living and how this relates to people within your circle. My best to you, thank you for sharing.

Jennifer Christie posted on: December 10, 2013

I hope one day these researcher will include Vector-Borne Illnesses like Lyme, Bartonella and Babesiosis as possible bacteria that cause MS like symptoms. Many people diagnosed with MS actually have Lyme.

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