Are major life events associated with an increased risk of multiple sclerosis?

Takeaway

  • In a well-powered case-control study including almost 3,000 cases, stressful life events were associated with a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS).

Why this matters

  • The cause of MS remains poorly understood, but it is understood to have both a significant genetic and environmental component.

  • There is evidence to suggest that stressful life events have physiological impacts on the immune system resulting in increased risk of autoimmune disease.

  • To date, only a handful of small studies investigating a possible link between stressful life events and MS have been reported, with mixed results; hence, the role of major stressors in the aetiology of MS remains unclear.