Inverse association between alcohol consumption, multiple sclerosis

January 6, 2014

Drinking alcohol appears to have a dose-dependent inverse (opposite) association with the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) and researchers suggest their findings give no support to advising patients with MS to completely refrain from alcohol, according to a study by Anna Karin Hedstrom, M.D., of the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, and colleagues.

The results of previous studies have been inconsistent about the impact of alcohol and the risk of developing MS.

Researchers investigated the association using two population studies in Sweden with participants between the ages of 16 and 70 years: 745 cases of MS plus 1,761 controls in the Epidemiological Investigation of Multiple Sclerosis (EIMS) study and 5,874 cases of MS with 5,246 controls in the Genes and Environment in Multiple Sclerosis (GEMS) study.

In EIMS, women who reported high alcohol consumption had an odds ratio (OR) of 0.6 of developing MS compared with nondrinking women, and men with high had an OR of 0.5 compared with nondrinking men, according to the results. The corresponding OR comparison in GEMS was 0.7 for both women and men. Alcohol consumption also appeared to be associated with the attenuation (lessening) of the effect of smoking, the results also indicate.

"Although the effect of alcohol on already established MS has not been studied herein, the data may have relevance for since they give no support for advising persons with MS to completely refrain from alcohol," the authors conclude.

Explore further: Shift work in teens linked to increased multiple sclerosis risk

More information: JAMA Neurol. Published online January 6, 2014. DOI: 10.1001/.jamaneurol.2013.5858

Related Stories

Past pregnancies linked to reduced MS risk in women

March 7, 2012

Women who have multiple pregnancies may have a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), according to research published in the March 7, 2012, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy ...

Recommended for you

Researchers build a digital piece of brain

October 8, 2015

If you want to learn how something works, one strategy is to take it apart and put it back together again. For 10 years, a global initiative called the Blue Brain Project—hosted at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne ...

How the brain's wiring leads to cognitive control

October 6, 2015

How does the brain determine which direction to let its thoughts fly? Looking for the mechanisms behind cognitive control of thought, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, University of California and United States ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.