In my mind, MS is linked to glandular fever. From personal experience, there is no room for doubt of any kind.
Trouble is, though, that my experience and belief is not proof. And that is why I find that efforts to establish a definite link between glandular fever, often known as the kissing disease, and MS is an exciting area of research.
So, you can just imagine my delight in seeing that research into this is now in its second year of a two-year project in Australia.
Early last year, MS Research Australia awarded a $150,000 grant to support a project being conducted at Murdoch University, as was reported in Multiple Sclerosis News Today in March 2015.1 The project is aiming to expand scientific knowledge about the possibility or probability that MS is linked to glandular fever and the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV).
EBV is known to cause glandular fever, otherwise known as infectious mononucleosis.2
The research grant was awarded to David Nolan, an adjunct associate professor at the Institute of Immunology and Infectious Diseases (IIID), and is funding two years of investigation.
Research is focusing on MS and the infectious condition known as glandular fever following encouraging results on the link between MS development and viral infections.
My personal interest in this research is because I firmly believe that glandular fever did trigger MS in me.
Let me explain. When I was finally diagnosed with MS in 2002, I was 49 years old. However, the neurologist who gave me the news said that he had gone back through my medical records and found evidence of MS existing as long ago as my 20s. Early to mid-20s to be exact.
Thinking nothing of it at the time, not then being aware of any possible link, I had glandular fever at the age of 21, almost 22, and evidence of MS in my early to mid-20s. Isn’t that a remarkable coincidence? If you believe in coincidences, that is!
A clinical link may not be scientifically proven in my case but, if you were me, would you need any further proof? I most certainly don’t!
Now I am waiting to see what the Murdoch University investigation proves.
As previously reported in Multiple Sclerosis News Today, Prof. Nolan spoke about the research. He said: “It appears that there is a strong association between the Epstein-Barr virus and MS but it’s too early to say if it is the cause.
“We know that the Epstein-Barr virus specifically infects immune cells that produce antibodies, B cells, essentially hiding away within the immune system. For reasons that are still poorly understood, it seems that those affected by MS have an abnormal response to this virus and that the nervous system might be unintentionally targeted by the immune system as part of this response.”
Nolan and his research team are searching for infected B cells while attempting to develop a targeted treatment to address them. The main purpose of the project is to find a way to stop disease progression through novel therapeutic approaches that can address the underlying mechanisms of the disease.
During these two years, researchers are focusing on Epstein-Barr virus infected cells. “The research funding gives us a chance to make a real step forward in understanding the basis of Multiple Sclerosis and therefore improving both disease monitoring and treatment,” added Dr. Nolan.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this blog article are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Multiple Sclerosis.
1 MS Research Australia Funds Project on MS and Epstein-Barr Virus, MS News Today.
2 Patient – Trusted medical information and support and many other sources.