Researchers Find Further Evidence Linking Epstein-Barr Virus And Risk Of Multiple Sclerosis
Posted Mar 05 2010 12:00am
March 5, 2010
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and a team of collaborators have observed for the first time that the risk ofmultiple sclerosis (MS) increases by many folds following infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). This finding implicates EBV as a contributory cause to multiple sclerosis. The study appears in an advance online edition of the journalAnnals of Neurology and will appear in a later print edition.
Hundred of thousands of individuals not infected with EBV were followed up for several years through repeated blood samples collections. Researchers were then able to determine the time when individuals developed an EBV infection and its relation to MS onset. "The recruitment of individuals before they were infected with EBV and following up with them for several years is the critical methodological aspect that makes this study qualitatively different from all previous work," said Alberto Ascherio, senior author of the study and professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
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