Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune illness that damages the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord.
MS mean greater people while they are in their prime. In the majority of cases, the disease strikes people between the ages of 20 and 40.
It can be minor at first, but it can quickly progress to a life-threatening impairment that affects a person’s vision, arm or leg mobility, sensation, or balance.
And until today, scientists have had no solid answer as to what causes MS. There are therapies that can help make living with MS more bearable, but there is no cure.
However, now that researchers have asserted to have discovered a relationship between Epstein-Barr Virus and MS, this could alter. This may pave the way for more effective therapies and even preventative measures.
Researchers in the United States claim to have discovered that the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) was certainly linked to all but one of 801 instances of multiple sclerosis in a study.
Blood samples from more than 10 million US military personnel were analysed, and 801 persons with multiple sclerosis were discovered. They then looked for EBV antibodies in the blood samples from the MS patients. This would reveal whether or not those individuals had ever been infected with EBV.
The Epstein-Barr Virus is the cause of glandular fever, which is most frequent in teenagers and young adults. It produces swollen glands and a sore throat, and it only happens once in a lifetime.
In an early blood sample, 35 patients with MS among the US military members had no EBV antibodies. However, 34 of the 35 participants later tested positive for EBV antibodies, according to the researchers.
Only one of the 801 MS patients tested negative for EBV antibodies in the end.
The most important indicator appears to be that those who tested negative for EBV antibodies at the time of the blood sample also tested negative for multiple sclerosis. Only after those individuals were infected with EBV did they acquire MS, which the researchers were able to detect.
As a result, the researchers appear to be certain that EBV and MS are linked. What they don’t know is EBV’s precise mechanism, or what it does to induce MS and why it does so.
EBV does not always imply MS
While over 90% of people get EBV or glandular fever at some point in their life, only a small percentage develop multiple sclerosis.
Experts, on the other hand, believe the current study and its findings are significant.
“The study uses epidemiological methods to assess the risk of developing MS after an infection with the Epstein-Barr-Virus. And the authors conclude that the risk of developing MS is 32 times higher among people who have had EBV than those who have not,” said Henri-Jacques Delecluse, a leading researcher at the German Cancer Research Centre. “That is a significant number. It’s the sort of risk we see for lung cancer among smokers.”
However, Roland Martin, a renowned researcher at the University Hospital Zurich, believes it is too soon to claim that EBV is the primary cause of MS.
“The methodology is good and solid, and you could conclude that EBV is the main cause of MS,” said Martin. “But for me, that goes too far. Over the past 20 years, our data has indicated that MS has a complex genetic background, one that can make you more prone to developing MS.”
As a result, it’s possible that it’s not only EBV or genetics, but a combination of the two.
What Should You Do If You Have These Symptoms?
If you’re concerned about your health, consult a medical professional or a doctor you trust for the best advice.
Multiple sclerosis symptoms range from person to person. They can, however, contain the following:
- One or more limbs are numb or weak.
- When you move your neck, you get electric shocks.
- When you walk, you may feel tremors or a loss of coordination.
- Vision problems, double vision, and pain in the eyes
- Speech slurred
- Sexual, bowel, and bladder function issues