A new study entitled, “Vaccines and the Risk of Multiple Sclerosis and Other Central Nervous System Demyelinating Diseases” published in the JAMA Neurology journal, reports that no association was observed between vaccinations and an increased risk for Multiple Sclerosis or other central nervous system demyelinating syndromes.
Previous studies suggested that vaccination, particularly those for hepatitis B (HepB) and human papillomavirus (HPV), increased the risk for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other central nervous system demyelinating syndromes. The suggested link was that these vaccines damaged myelin − the inner layer of nerve cells − and a key factor for central nervous system demyelinating syndromes, including MS. However, the topic remains controversial.
In the present study, the team of researchers at the Department of Research and Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente and Department of Neurology, Los Angeles Medical Center, aimed to determine the link between vaccination and the risk for MS and other central nervous system demyelinating syndromes.
The authors analyzed the health records at the Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) for KPSC central nervous system demyelinating syndromes registered between 2008 and 2011. They identified 780 patients with central nervous system demyelinating syndromes and 3,885 controls. Vaccination profiles were determined via the electronic vaccination records system. The analysis showed no association between the HepB and HPV vaccinations, as well as other types of vaccinations, and a risk of developing central nervous system demyelinating syndromes for up to three years after vaccination. In younger individuals (below 50 years old), the authors did note an increased risk for central nervous system demyelinating syndromes with any type of vaccination, but the increased risk lasted for only 30 days after the vaccine administration.
Thus, the authors reported that no long-term association between vaccination and MS or other central nervous system demyelinating syndromes. In particular, to the HPV vaccination, the author acknowledged their findings to be limitative due to the low number of subjects analyzed — only 92 women were vaccinated against 459 controls.
The authors commented on their findings, “Our data do not support a causal link between current vaccines and the risk of MS or other central nervous system demyelinating syndromes. Our findings do not warrant any change in vaccine policy.”