Wednesday January 16, 2019

Paint, Varnish Exposure may Increase Risk of Multiple Sclerosis

The researchers determined that the MS genes and exposure to solvents combined were responsible for an estimated 60 percent of the risk of developing MS

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Christmas Tree
These chemicals are used in many industries. Pixabay

Exposure to paint, varnish and other solvents may put people at a 50 per cent higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), a potentially disabling disease affecting the central nervous system, a study says.

With exposure to solvents, people who also carry genes that make them more susceptible to developing multiple sclerosis are nearly seven times as likely to develop the disease as compared to those with no solvent exposure who do not carry the MS genes, said the study published in the journal Neurology.

For people who have been smokers, the risk is even greater. Those who have been smokers with solvent exposure and the MS genes are 30 times more likely to develop MS than those who have never smoked or been exposed to solvents and who do not have the genetic risk factors, said the study.

“These are significant interactions where the factors have a much greater effect in combination than they do on their own,” said study author Anna Hedstrom from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.

“It’s possible that exposure to solvents and smoking may both involve lung inflammation and irritation that leads to an immune reaction in the lungs,” Hedstrom added.

paint
Representational image. Pixabay

For the study, the researchers identified 2,042 people who had recently been diagnosed with MS and matched them with 2,947 people of the same age and sex.

Blood tests were used to determine whether the participants had two human leukocyte antigen gene variants — one of which makes people more likely to develop MS and the other reduces the risk.

Also Read: Gut Bacteria Linked to Atherosclerosis, Which is Further Linked to Heart Attack

They were also asked whether they had been exposed to organic solvents, painting products or varnish and whether they had ever been a smoker.

The analysis showed that, MS genes and exposure to solvents combined were responsible for an estimated 60 per cent of the risk of developing MS.

The researchers determined that the MS genes and exposure to solvents combined were responsible for an estimated 60 percent of the risk of developing MS. (IANS)

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Australia Shows Promise In Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

Further research is planned in Australia and the United States.

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Sclerosis
Street artist Lydia Emily Archibald, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012, touches up her mural aimed at raising awareness about the disease in Los Angeles. VOA

Australian researchers have made a breakthrough in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis using immunotherapy. Their world-first trial has produced promising results for the majority of patients enrolled, they said, including a reduction in fatigue and improvements in mobility and vision.

The treatment targets the Epstein-Barr virus in the brain that Australian researchers believe plays a role in the development of Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, a disease of the central nervous system. Immune cells extracted from patients’ blood have been “trained” in a laboratory to recognize and destroy the virus.

“What happens in MS, there is an immune reaction going on in your brain that is represented as if that your immune system is attacking the brain cells,” said Rajiv Khanna, a professor at Queensland’s QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. “Once that happens, your normal function in the brain gets impaired. We are trying to develop a treatment that could actually, sort of, make the immune system to work properly rather than going in the wrong direction.”

Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, Kepler, NASA, tissue
A researcher takes a tissue sample from a human brain at the Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s UK Tissue Bank, at Imperial College London, Britain June 3, 2016. An appendix, often considered useless, seems to store an abnormal protein, which if it makes its way into the brain, has been found to become a hallmark of Parkinson’s. VOA

Researchers hope the treatment could stop the progression of MS. They say the trial is significant because they have shown the technique is safe and has had positive improvements in an autoimmune disease.

Seven of the 10 participants in the Queensland trial have reported positive changes, including Louise Remmerswaal, a mother from Queensland.

“Ever since the trial, it has just improved so much that now I can go out and spend time with my family and friends,” she said.

Also Read: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef To Get Help From Rescue Bot

Further research is planned in Australia and the United States.

The new therapy is developed by the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane and the University of Queensland.

The results of the clinical trial have been published in the peer-reviewed journal, JCI Insight. (VOA)