SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — An alarming study seems to reaffirm a virus you most likely had as a child or teen may put you at a two to three times greater risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis as an adult.
It’s a phenomenon doctors have been looking into for decades: a possible link between infectious mononucleosis in childhood or adolescence and the development of Multiple Sclerosis.
90-92% of the population will have Epstein Bar virus, that does not mean that 90-92% of people will develop Multiple Sclerosis. The recent literature suggests that 99.9 or almost 100% of MS patients will actually test positive for Epstein Bar Virus.Dr. Fahed Saada – Neurologist, St. Joseph’s Hospital
So what’s the link? Saada believes it has to do with the autoimmune process caused by inflammation.
What’s even more alarming, since any virus can cause this inflammatory reaction, mono may not be the only trigger.
“Patients with autoimmune conditions such as Type I diabetes, thyroid disease, autoimmune bowel conditions have a slightly increased risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis,” he said.
So, what can you do to prevent Multiple Sclerosis if you check some of those boxes?
Dr. Saada says unlike some other conditions such as heart disease or lung cancer, there aren’t a lot of risk factors we can modify ourselves.
However, there is one thing that may help.
Therefore, optimizing your vitamin D levels may help.
Dr. Saada says small studies have also looked at intermittent fasting as a way to prevent MS.
As always, you should consult your doctor about your individualized risk before taking any supplements or making medical changes.