Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Smoking is bad for Multiple Sclerosis

In the Boston Globe (7/13) White Coat Notes blog, Elizabeth Cooney wrote, "Smoking cigarettes is known to raise the risk of developing multiple sclerosis, but medical researchers haven't established whether patients who already have the neurological disease do more damage by continuing to smoke." Now, a team of scientists from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard University have found that "smoking accelerates the progression of MS from an illness with occasional symptom-free periods to an unrelenting, worsening condition."
That conclusion was drawn "from a study that included 1,465 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, average age 42, who had had MS for an average of 9.4 years," according to HealthDay (7/13, Preidt). There "were 257 current smokers, 428 past smokers and 780 participants who had never smoked." At baseline, "current smokers had significantly more severe disease and were also more likely to have primary progressive MS (a steady decline in health status), rather than relapsing-remitting MS (alternating periods with and without symptoms)," the team pointed out in the Archives of Neurology. For approximately three years, 891 of the study participants were tracked in an effort to see "how many changed from relapsing-remitting MS to secondary progressive MS, which is a steady decline that develops after a period of relapsing-remitting MS."
The researchers found that the "adjusted hazard ratio for advancing to secondary progressive MS was 2.50 for smokers relative to patients who had never used cigarettes," MedPage Today (7/13, Gever) reported. The UK's Press Association (7/14) also covers the story.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

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