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Multiple sclerosis: stress is a key factor
About the author: 

Multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers often suspect that their condition worsens if they've been under stress

Multiple sclerosis (MS) sufferers often suspect that their condition worsens if they've been under stress. In fact it's probably more an observation than a suspicion, and it was one that was mooted over a hundred years ago when Charcot identified 'grief, vexation and adverse changes in social circumstance' as a cause of the disease.

But is there really a causal link? A new meta-study, which analysed the results of 20 studies, discovered a 'significant' increase in worsening of the condition after some stressful event.

But is all stress the same? One study out of the 20 found the opposite effect - patients under stress saw a reduction in their symptoms, but, paradoxically, this was extreme stress involving MS patients in Tel Aviv who endured a month of missile attack. It appears the stress from everyday problems in life is the most pernicious.

(Source: British Medical Journal, 2004; 328: 731-3).


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