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Food allergies associated with increased disease activity in multiple sclerosis

A study, published in the BMJ Journals, has revealed that people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and food allergies reported a 27% higher cumulative rate of flare-ups over the course of their disease. The study set out to assess the association between a self-reported history of allergic conditions with MS clinical and MRI disease activity.

One thousand, three hundred and forty-nine patients enrolled in the Comprehensive Longitudinal Investigation of Multiple Sclerosis study at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Patients completed a self-administered questionnaire on environmental, food and drug allergies. They were then put into four allergy groups: environmental, food, drug and no known allergies (NKA).

The results showed that the food allergy group had a 1.38 times higher rate for cumulative number of attacks compared with the NKA group. The food allergy group showed more than twice the likelihood of having gadolinium-enhancing lesions on MRI.

The environmental and drug allergy groups did not show significant differences when compared with the NKA group. The Expanded Disability Status Scale Score and MS Severity Score were not affected by any type of allergy.

Researchers concluded that MS patients with food allergy had more relapses and a higher likelihood of gadolinium-enhancing lesions compared with patients with no known allergy. They said, ‘Future prospective studies are needed to confirm our findings and investigate underlying biological mechanisms, which may unveil new therapeutic and preventative strategies for MS.’

Source: MS-UK, 03/01/2019

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