Body size and risk of MS in two cohorts of US women
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Medical Update Memo
November 24, 2009
MS is a complex disease where both genetics and environment seem to play crucial and complementary roles in its development. In this article the authors have found that obesity in women during adolescence is associated with a higher risk of developing MS. However, the mechanisms of this association remain uncertain and more studies are needed to shed light on this issue. Neurology. 2009 Nov 10;73(19):1543-50.
Researchers sought to examine whether obesity during childhood, adolescence, or adulthood is associated with an increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS). Women in the Nurses' Health Study (n = 121,700) and Nurses' Health Study II (n = 116,671) provided information on weight at age 18 and weight and height at baseline, from which body mass index was derived. Women also selected silhouettes representing their body size at ages 5, 10, and 20. Over the total 40 years of follow-up in both cohorts combined, 593 cases of MS were confirmed. Results showed that obesity at age 18 (body mass index > or =30 kg/m(2)) was associated with a greater than twofold increased risk of MS. After adjusting for body size at age 20, having a large body size at ages 5 or 10 was not associated with risk of MS, whereas a large body size at age 20 was associated with a 96% increased risk of MS . No significant association was found between adult body mass and MS risk. Authors conclude that obese adolescents have an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). Although the mechanisms of this association remain uncertain, this result suggests that prevention of adolescent obesity may contribute to reduced MS risk.
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