Study Suggests Pregnancy May Reduce MS Risk

A recent study suggests that pregnancy may help reduce the risk of MS in women. Researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia found out that women who became pregnant two or more times also showed to have around a quarter of the risk of developing MS as compared to those who were never pregnant. The findings of the study are published in the March 7 issue of the online journal Neurology.

“Even one pregnancy was associated with nearly a halving of risk,” says Anne-Louise Ponsonby, head of the environmental and genetic epidemiology research group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the study author. What Ponsonby found was an association between pregnancy and lower MS risk and not a direct cause-and-effect link. But what they found may help further explain the growing incidence of MS in women as more decide to delay pregnancy, have fewer babies or not getting pregnant at all.

The researchers evaluated data provided by 282 Australian men and women with ages ranging from 18 to 59 years old. The participants have been known to experience typical MS symptoms such as fatigue, numbness as well as balance and walking problems but have not been diagnosed with the said disease. The researchers also looked into the number of live births and pregnancies that lasted at least 20 weeks among the women participants. The researchers also recorded the number of children that the male participants had. They then compared those statistics to those of 542 men and women without the MS symptoms.

The researchers found that there was no risk found between the number of children that the men have with their risk of developing MS. On the other hand, they found that there seems to be a link between pregnancies and the reduction of MS symptoms in women- the risk of developing MS symptoms seems to decrease and the number of pregnancies among each women increase.

The researchers though can’t pinpoint exactly how pregnancy may reduce MS risk in women. But they speculate that it may have to do with either the increase of estrogen during pregnancy or the effect of pregnancy in the inflammatory genes linked to MS.

Source: Yahoo News

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