What does a concussion mean for multiple sclerosis?
The autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS) creates muscle control, vision, balance, and sensation problems for those who develop this disease. MS develops as the consequence of inflammation (called plaques) in various areas of the central nervous system, after which the protective coating of nerves, called the myelin sheath, is destroyed. Approximately 350,000 people in the United States have multiple sclerosis.
Scientists continue to research the underlying causes and risk factors for this disease, although the specifics related to these remain elusive. Heredity seems to play a role, as does race, gender, smoking, childhood infections, and environmental factors. Recently a previously unknown risk factor has been associated with MS: head injury in adolescence.
Concussions in childhood or the teen years seems to up the risk of later developing multiple sclerosis. In fact, a concussion in adolescence raises the risk of MS, compared to teens without a history of head injury. This head trauma, especially if repeated, appears to initiate the autoimmune process in the central nervous system that can trigger multiple sclerosis.
Now, more than ever, protecting youth from concussion during sports and other activities is important for better health long-term. For people who already have multiple sclerosis, the BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy team can support you in the treatment process.
Montgomery S, Hiyoshi A, Burkill S, et al. Concussion in adolescence and risk of multiple sclerosis. Ann Neurol 2017 DOI: 10.1002/ana.25036
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