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Food Allergies Associated With More Relapses in Patients With MS

Laura Joszt
Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who also have food allergies have more relapses than patients with no known food allergy, according to a new study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) who also have food allergies have more relapses than patients with no known food allergy, according to a new study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

A set of 1349 patients completed a self-administered questionnaire on environmental, food, and drug allergies, and they were distributed among 4 allergy groups: environmental (n = 586), food (n = 238), drug (n = 574), and no known allergies (NKA; n = 427).

The researchers then assessed clinical variables—the number of attacks, expanded disability status scale (EDSS), and MS severity score (MSSS)—and radiological variables—presence of gadolinium-enhancing lesions and lesion count—and the association of these variables with the different allergy groups.

"Our findings suggest that MS patients with allergies have more active disease than those without, and that this effect is driven by food allergies," wrote the researchers.

Compared with the NKA group, patients with food allergies had a 1.38 times higher rate for cumulative number of attacks (P = .0062). The food allergy group also showed more than twice the likelihood (P = .0096) of having gadolinium-enhancing lesions on magnetic resonance imaging than the NKA group.

The initial analysis indicated that any allergy was associated with a 22% higher rate of cumulative disease bouts compared with NKA, but that difference disappeared after taking into account potentially influential factors.

“Future prospective studies are needed to confirm our findings and investigate underlying biological mechanisms, which may unveil new therapeutic and preventative strategies for MS,” the authors concluded.

Reference

Fakih R, Diaz-Cruz C, Chua AS, et al. Food allergies are associated with increased disease activity in multiple sclerosis [published online December 18, 2018]. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2018-319301.

 
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