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Epstein-Barr virus may be associated with multiple sclerosis

dividuals who had developed MS than among those who hadn't--those with four times the level of antibodies were approximately twice as likely to develop MS. The elevated levels became evident between 15 and 20 years before patients first experienced the neurological symptoms of MS and remained higher afterward, the researchers reported.

Researchers don't yet understand how the Epstein-Barr virus causes the body to attack its own central nervous system, as it does in MS. "The mounting evidence that relates Epstein-Barr virus infection to other autoimmune diseases, particularly systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), suggests that Epstein-Barr virus may have a broad role in predisposing to autoimmunity," or failure of the immune system to recognize the body's own tissues, the authors conclude. "A fine understanding of the mechanisms that connect Epstein-Barr virus infection to MS is important because it will provide the basis for the translation of this epidemiologic finding into new ways to treat and prevent MS."


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Source:JAMA and Archives Journals


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