Ivanhoe's Medical Breakthroughs - Epstein-Barr Virus may Cause Multiple Sclerosis: "Epstein-Barr Virus may Cause Multiple Sclerosis
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- The virus that most often causes mononucleosis may be linked to multiple sclerosis (MS).
A new study finds young adults with high levels of antibodies against the Epstein-Barr virus may be more likely to develop MS 15 to 20 years later. The virus affects up to 96 percent of Americans by the time they reach age 35 to 40.
Researchers from Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., studied the records of patients who joined a health plan between 1965 and 1974 when they were an average of 32.4 years old. They then examined blood samples of 42 MS patients in the health plan to determine the levels of antibodies against the Epstein-Barr virus.
Results show those who developed MS had their first symptoms at an average age of 45. The concentration of anti-Epstein-Barr virus antibodies was higher in people who developed MS. Those with four times the level of antibodies were about twice as likely to develop MS.
'The mounting evidence that relates Epstein-Barr virus infection to other autoimmune diseases, particularly systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), suggest 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, study authors say."