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Lifestyle linked to MS risk

Wednesday August 26th 2020

People with unhealthy lifestyles may face an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis, according to research published today.

The first comes from a research team at Queen Mary University of London, UK. Dr Ruth Dobson and her team examined the environmental factors that may trigger multiple sclerosis.

Using previous findings from the UK, USA, Russia and Australia, they found that about 10% of the population risk is currently attributed to smoking, which is likely to decrease, but another 14% of the risk will be accounted for by high body mass index in early life, by the year 2035.

Findings appear in the International Journal of Epidemiology today (26 August).

Dr Dobson says: "Our findings highlight the potential to reduce the incidence of multiple sclerosis worldwide with targeted public health strategies. It is not only cancer and heart disease that are influenced by smoking and obesity - shifting the focus to diseases with onset in early adulthood, such as multiple sclerosis, may resonate more with younger people whose lifestyle choices will have an impact on their risk of future illness."

The second study has identified mechanisms that can restore the myelin sheaths of neurons after injury or in multiple sclerosis.

Professor Claire Jacob of the University of Mainz, Germany, set out to find ways of restoring the protective myelin coating on the axons of neurons. They viewed the process of remyelination in the peripheral and central nervous systems of mice.

The team uncovered a process that blocks remyelination and found a way to counteract this blocking effect - a protein called eEF1A1 which is deactivated by a specific enzyme.

To boost the effect of this enzyme, the team successfully used a drug called theophylline. This produced restoration of myelin sheaths in the peripheral and central nervous systems.

Details appeared in Nature Communications.

Pakpoor, J. et al. Estimated and projected burden of multiple sclerosis attributable to smoking and childhood and adolescent high body-mass index: a comparative risk assessment. International Journal of Epidemiology 26 August 2020; doi: 10.1093/ije/dyaa151

Duman, M. et al. EEF1A1 deacetylation enables transcriptional activation of remyelination. Nature Communications 9 July 2020; doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-17243-z

Tags: Brain & Neurology | Europe | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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