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      Multiple sclerosis - a review

      1 , 2 , 2 , 3
      European Journal of Neurology
      Wiley

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          Abstract

          Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the commonest non-traumatic disabling disease to affect young adults. The incidence of MS is increasing worldwide, together with the socioeconomic impact of the disease. The underlying cause of MS and mechanisms behind this increase remain opaque, although complex gene-environment interactions almost certainly play a significant role. The epidemiology of MS indicates that low serum levels of vitamin D, smoking, childhood obesity and infection with the Epstein-Barr virus are likely to play a role in disease development. Changes in diagnostic methods and criteria mean that people with MS can be diagnosed increasingly early in their disease trajectory. Alongside this, treatments for MS have increased exponentially in number, efficacy and risk. There is now the possibility of a diagnosis of 'pre-symptomatic MS' being made; as a result potentially preventive strategies could be studied. In this comprehensive review, MS epidemiology, potential aetiological factors and pathology are discussed, before moving on to clinical aspects of MS diagnosis and management.

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          Most cited references36

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          Is Open Access

          The relation between inflammation and neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis brains

          Some recent studies suggest that in progressive multiple sclerosis, neurodegeneration may occur independently from inflammation. The aim of our study was to analyse the interdependence of inflammation, neurodegeneration and disease progression in various multiple sclerosis stages in relation to lesional activity and clinical course, with a particular focus on progressive multiple sclerosis. The study is based on detailed quantification of different inflammatory cells in relation to axonal injury in 67 multiple sclerosis autopsies from different disease stages and 28 controls without neurological disease or brain lesions. We found that pronounced inflammation in the brain is not only present in acute and relapsing multiple sclerosis but also in the secondary and primary progressive disease. T- and B-cell infiltrates correlated with the activity of demyelinating lesions, while plasma cell infiltrates were most pronounced in patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) and even persisted, when T- and B-cell infiltrates declined to levels seen in age matched controls. A highly significant association between inflammation and axonal injury was seen in the global multiple sclerosis population as well as in progressive multiple sclerosis alone. In older patients (median 76 years) with long-disease duration (median 372 months), inflammatory infiltrates declined to levels similar to those found in age-matched controls and the extent of axonal injury, too, was comparable with that in age-matched controls. Ongoing neurodegeneration in these patients, which exceeded the extent found in normal controls, could be attributed to confounding pathologies such as Alzheimer's or vascular disease. Our study suggests a close association between inflammation and neurodegeneration in all lesions and disease stages of multiple sclerosis. It further indicates that the disease processes of multiple sclerosis may die out in aged patients with long-standing disease.
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            Environmental risk factors for multiple sclerosis. Part I: the role of infection.

            Although genetic susceptibility explains the clustering of multiple sclerosis (MS) cases within families and the sharp decline in risk with increasing genetic distance, it cannot fully explain the geographic variations in MS frequency and the changes in risk that occur with migration. Epidemiological data provide some support for the "hygiene hypothesis," but with the additional proviso for a key role of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in determining MS risk. We show that whereas EBV stands out as the only infectious agent that can explain many of the key features of MS epidemiology, by itself the link between EBV and MS cannot explain the decline in risk among migrants from high to low MS prevalence areas. This decline implies that either EBV strains in low-risk areas have less propensity to cause MS, or that other infectious or noninfectious factors modify the host response to EBV or otherwise contribute to determine MS risk. The role of infectious factors is discussed here; in a companion article, we will examine the possible role of noninfectious factors and provide evidence that high levels of vitamin D may have a protective role, particularly during adolescence. The primary purpose of these reviews is to identify clues to the causes of MS and to evaluate the possibility of primary prevention.
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              Sex ratio of multiple sclerosis in Canada: a longitudinal study.

              Incidence of multiple sclerosis is thought to be increasing, but this notion has been difficult to substantiate. In a longitudinal population-based dataset of patients with multiple sclerosis obtained over more than three decades, we did not show a difference in time to diagnosis by sex. We reasoned that if a sex-specific change in incidence was occurring, the female to male sex ratio would serve as a surrogate of incidence change. Since environmental risk factors seem to act early in life, we calculated sex ratios by birth year in 27 074 Canadian patients with multiple sclerosis identified as part of a longitudinal population-based dataset. The female to male sex ratio by year of birth has been increasing for at least 50 years and now exceeds 3.2:1 in Canada. Year of birth was a significant predictor for sex ratio (p<0.0001, chi(2)=124.4; rank correlation r=0.84). The substantial increase in the female to male sex ratio in Canada seems to result from a disproportional increase in incidence of multiple sclerosis in women. This rapid change must have environmental origins even if it is associated with a gene-environment interaction, and implies that a large proportion of multiple sclerosis cases may be preventable in situ. Although the reasons why incidence of the disease is increasing are unknown, there are major implications for health-care provision because lifetime costs of multiple sclerosis exceed pound1 million per case in the UK.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                European Journal of Neurology
                Eur J Neurol
                Wiley
                13515101
                January 2019
                January 2019
                November 18 2018
                : 26
                : 1
                : 27-40
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Preventive Neurology Unit; Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine; London UK
                [2 ]Royal London Hospital; London UK
                [3 ]Blizard Institute; London UK
                Article
                10.1111/ene.13819
                30300457
                6db7dd27-bc10-4dad-b6ac-71fbf5e51dbc
                © 2018

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

                http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/termsAndConditions#vor

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