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    You are here : Home » MS Research News » General Health » Cigarette Smoking And MS

    Cigarette Smoking And MS

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    Smokers with MS more likely to report comorbid autoimmune diseases

    Smoking and MSAbstract
    Background/Aims: Smoking is a risk factor for multiple sclerosis (MS) and autoimmune disease, and might explain an increased risk of comorbid autoimmune disease (CAD) in MS. We compared the risk of CAD in smokers and nonsmokers with MS.

    Methods: Participants enrolled in the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis Registry reported their smoking status, the presence of CAD and the year of diagnosis. We used multivariable logistic regression to determine the independent association between smoking and CAD. We also compared the risk of developing a CAD in current smokers versus never-smokers who did not report any CAD at MS onset, using a proportional hazards model.

    Results: Among 8,875 participants reporting comorbidities and smoking status, 1,649 (18.5%) reported a CAD. In a multivariable logistic model, ever-smokers had increased odds of reporting a CAD (odds ratio: 1.22; 95% CI: 1.08–1.38). Among the 7,830 participants without a CAD at onset of MS who reported their smoking status, including the age at which they started smoking, 3,035 (36.8%) currently smoked, while 3,805 (48.6%) never smoked. After adjustment, smokers had an increased risk of developing any autoimmune disease (hazard ratio: 1.23; 95% CI: 1.08–1.41) after MS onset.

    Conclusion: Smoking is associated with an increased risk of CAD in MS.

    Ruth Ann Marriea, Ralph I. Horwitzb, Gary Cutterc, Tuula Tyryd, Timothy Vollmerd

    aDepartment of Internal Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Man., Canada;
    bDepartment of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.,
    cDepartment of Biostatistics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Ala., and
    dDivision of Neurology, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, Ariz., USA

    Source: Neuro Epidemiology Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel (01/02/11)

    Report suggests smoking increases multiple sclerosis progression

    SmokingPatients with multiple sclerosis who smoke appear to experience a more rapid progression of their disease, according to a report in the Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

    Cigarette smokers are at higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to background information in the article. However, the effect of smoking on the progression of MS remains uncertain.

    Brian C. Healy, Ph.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and colleagues studied 1,465 patients with MS who visited a referral center between February 2006 and August 2007. Participants had an average age of 42 and had MS for an average of 9.4 years. Their progression was assessed by clinical characteristics as well as by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) over an average of 3.29 years.

    A total of 780 (53.2 percent) of the patients had never smoked, 428 (29.2 percent) had smoked in the past and 257 (17.5 percent) were current smokers. During follow-up, seven never-smokers began smoking and 57 current smokers quit. Current smokers had significantly more severe disease at the beginning of the study in terms of scores on disability scales and also in the analysis of MRI factors. Current smokers were also more likely to have primary progressive MS, characterized by a steady decline, rather than relapsing-remitting MS (involving alternating periods of attacks and symptom-free periods).

    A group of 891 patients was assessed over time to evaluate the rate of conversion from relapsing-remitting MS to secondary progressive MS (steady decline that develops after a period of relapsing-remitting symptoms). During an average of 3.34 years, 72 patients (20 of 154 smokers, 20 of 237 ex-smokers, and 32 of 500 never-smokers) experienced this progression. "The conversion from relapsing-remitting MS to secondary progressive MS occurred faster in current smokers compared with never-smokers but was similar in ex-smokers and never-smokers," the authors write.

    An adverse effect of smoking on the progression of MS would be consistent with previous research, the authors note. Components of cigarette smoke are known to have toxic effects on brain and neural tissue; for example, cyanides, which have been associated with the destruction of nerve cells' myelin coating (a characteristic feature of MS) in animals. "Other chemicals in smoke (e.g., nicotine) can compromise the blood-brain barrier or have immunomodulatory effects," the authors write. "Cigarette smoke increases the frequency and duration of respiratory infections, which have been linked to risk of MS and to the occurrence of MS relapses."

    "In conclusion, the results of this large and in part prospective investigation support the hypothesis that cigarette smoking has an adverse effect on progression of MS as measured by clinical and MRI outcomes," they conclude. "Although causality remains to be proved, these findings suggest that patients with MS who quit smoking may not only reduce their risk of smoking-related diseases but also delay the progression of MS."

    Source: News-Medical.Net (27/09/10)

    New study suggests smoking may increase risk of multiple sclerosis

    Smoking & Multiple SclerosisSmoking may increase the risk of multiple sclerosis in people who have other risk factors for the neurological disorder, researchers say.

    The findings suggest that smokers who have high levels of a protein that protects against the Epstein-Barr virus, a common herpes virus, were twice as likely as nonsmokers to get multiple sclerosis (MS), the researchers wrote in the online edition of the journal Neurology.

    Previous studies have suggested that smoking and the virus-fighting protein were independent risk factors and this research looked at how they may be associated with each other, Claire Simon of Harvard University said in a telephone interview.

    "We found that that association was stronger in people who reported smoking compared with people who did not report smoking," Simon said.

    The study found no association between smoking and a gene related to the immune system gene called HLA-DR15, which is thought to be another risk factor for MS, she said.

    Studying the potential risk factors simultaneously might provide clues about why some people get MS and others do not, Simon said.

    MS is an incurable condition that affects more than 1 million people worldwide. The disease can cause mild symptoms in some people and permanent disability in others. Symptoms may include numbness or weakness in one or more limbs, partial or complete loss of vision, tingling or pain, electric-shock sensation with certain head movements, tremors and an unsteady gait.

    Simon and colleagues analyzed information from 442 people with MS and 865 without the disease. All were participants in either the U.S.-based Nurses' Health Study, the Tasmanian MS Study and the Swedish MS Study.

    The team determined whether participants had either of the potential factors and looked at the participants' smoking history. The researchers said they found a consistent association between MS, smoking and the body's immune response to the Epstein-Barr virus across the three distinct, geographic regions.

    Source: Reuters © Thomson Reuters 2010 (08/04/10)

    Smoking may speed Multiple Sclerosis symptoms

    Smoking and MS

    In addition to the well-known hazards of smoking, research now suggests that the dangerous habit causes a more rapid progression of multiple sclerosis.

    The new findings are 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. There were 257 current smokers, 428 past smokers and 780 participants who had never smoked.

    At the start of the study, 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 Boston researchers tracked a group of 891 patients for an average of three years to identify 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. During the follow-up, this change was seen in 20 of 154 smokers, 20 of 237 ex-smokers and 32 of 500 never-smokers.

    "The conversion from relapsing-remitting MS to secondary progressive MS occurred faster in current smokers compared with never-smokers, but was similar in ex-smokers and never-smokers," according to Brian C. Healy of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues.

    The study was reported in the July issue of Archives of Neurology.

    The findings "support the hypothesis that cigarette smoking has an adverse effect on progression of MS as measured by clinical and MRI outcomes," the study authors concluded. "Although causality remains to be proved, these findings suggest that patients with MS who quit smoking may not only reduce their risk of smoking-related diseases but also delay the progression of MS."

    SOURCE: JAMA/Archives Journals, news release, July 13, 2009

    Cigarette smoking may lead to nerve damage and demyelination in the brain

    Cigarettes and MS

    There may be a direct link between smoking cigarettes and brain damage, according to a new study from the Indian National Brain Research Center. Science Daily reports that researchers Debapriya Ghosh and Dr. Anirban Basu have found that a compound in tobacco provokes white blood cells in the central nervous system to attack healthy cells, leading to severe neurological damage.

    The compound, called NNK, is a chemical substance that becomes carcinogenic when it is altered by the metabolic processes of the body. NNK does not appear to harm brain cells directly, but it may cause neuroinflammation, a condition that leads to disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis.

    “Considering the extreme economical and disease burden of neuroinflammation-related disorders, it is extremely important from a medical, social, and economic point of view to discover if NNK in tobacco causes neuroinflammation” said Ghosh.

    The team conducted two types of tests—one outside of a living host in glass and one in laboratory mice. They used blot analysis techniques that showed that the introduction of NNK resulted in a clear increase in proinflammatory signaling proteins, proinflammatory effector proteins, and other stress-related proteins. They also found increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines, which act as molecular messengers between cells.

    This shows that NNK provokes an exaggerated response from the brain’s immune cells, known as microglia. These cells act as destroyers for the brain by attacking damaged or unhealthy cells. But when provoked by NNK, these cells start to attack healthy brain cells rather than the unhealthy ones they are supposed to attack.

    NNK is present in all forms of tobacco, so it can also enter the body through chewing. In addition, second-hand smoking may lead to the same neuroinflammation conditions because NNK is also present in the smoke itself. Smoke-filled air indoors may contain up to 26 nanograms of NNK, and concentrations of NNK in tobacco can vary from 20-310 nanograms. This means that both direct and second-hand smoking can lead to substantial measures of NNK intake.

    “This research sheds light on the processes that lead to nerve cell damage in those who smoke cigarettes or consume tobacco products on regular basis,” said Ghosh.

    Source: Everything Addiction Copyright 2009 Everything Addiction (24/06/09)

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