More support has been added to the belief that a link exists between the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and multiple sclerosis (MS).
Epstein-Barr is one of the most common viruses, and most people become infected with it at some point in their lives. Frequently, it appears in childhood as infectious mononucleosis, or mono. In a very young child, its symptoms may be minor or unnoticeable.
Over the years, many studies have looked at a possible EBV-MS connection. One of the latest was published earlier this year, with researchers reporting that the interaction between certain genes and the virus is “consistent with an EBV susceptibility signature contributing to risk of developing MS.”
Here’s the latest
Now comes a report in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry by researchers in Germany that adds another link to the chain of evidence. In a study of 901 people with MS, researchers found that all — yes, 100% — tested positive for the Epstein-Barr virus.
“While this finding is consistent with the known high EBV seroprevalence in MS,” researchers wrote, “the absence of any EBV-seronegative patients with early MS in our cohort appears remarkable and further strengthens the evidence for an association of EBV infection and MS.”
So, what else is new?
This should come as no surprise to many people with MS. Two years ago, I wrote about a protein in EBV-infected cells that might trigger genes associated with autoimmune diseases like MS. That column has been viewed more than 300,000 times, with several readers commenting that they believe there is an EPV connection to their MS. As recently as last month, people were still commenting.
“I am thoroughly convinced that my 19 yr old was diagnosed w MS last summer because she had Mono the year before,” one reader noted. “Otherwise she was a 100% healthy, ‘normal’, active, high achieving kid with ZERO family history of any auto immune diseases.”
He mirrors the feelings of others when he complains that, “The key word in the title of this article is ‘another.’ My questions are, HOW MANY are needed before the due attention, money and research is put into DOING something about the already KNOWN fact that EBV and MS are related? We’ve known this since the early 90’s!!”
Can someone be attacked by MS without first being attacked by the Epstein-Barr virus? This new German research, coupled with the studies we’ve seen for years, suggests to me that you can’t. Would curing EPV result in curing MS? Should some money being spent on MS research be diverted to finding a cure for Epstein-Barr? I realize that idea is a bit out of the box. What do you think?
You’re invited to visit my personal blog at www.themswire.com.
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 column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.
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