MS is the result of a complex, and yet unknown, interaction between the genes that we inherit and the environment in which we live. Any risk factors that can be avoided by simple modifications, such as those changes in a person’s lifestyle, are particularly important because they may require a lower cost than other risk factors.

In this study from Southern California, USA, researchers reviewed previously published articles on risk factors and exposures associated with MS progression and summarised their findings. Of the 59 studies meeting inclusion criteria, they found that many studies reported conflicting results or used different measures, making it difficult to draw any clear conclusions.

However, many of these studies agree that MS progression was consistently related to smoking and low levels of vitamin D were associated with higher EDSS scores. Smoking was also associated with a faster progression of disability in people with MS. The authors underlined the urgent need for more studies in different populations to further clarify MS risk factors in future.

Read the full article (external website opens in a new window).