News Thursday June 9, 2011

Risk for Multiple Sclerosis increased after Shingles

New evidence suggests that herpes zoster, or shingles, may increase the risk of MS in sufferers of the viral disease presented by skin rashes.

In a new study, conducted at the Taipei Medical University in Taiwan, Dr. Herng-Ching Lin, who led the research, investigated over 310,000 adults suffering from shingles alongside a control group of nearly one million subjects. After initial tracking of both groups, both were tested and evaluated for MS. Subsequent data showed that those in the herpes zoster group had nearly four times more chance to develop MS.

Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, which can lead to damage of the nervous system effectively disrupting signals between nerve cells. While relatively low in occurrence in the Asian population who took part in the research, the authors point out that this is largely in comparison to Western nations where the number may be a lot higher.

Further information and comments were added to the study from the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery in Mexico, where Dr. Teresa Corona and Dr. Jose Flores added “[that] the evidence provided in this study...allows us to better understand the role of these viral factors as an MS risk[.]”

Authors of the original study were quick to note however, that while they had found that the risk of MS increased significantly in sufferers of shingles, the general numbers of MS were still low including the risk of developing it.

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