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.