According to a story from EurekAlert!, a recent study has found that vaccinations are not a risk factor for multiple sclerosis. A risk factor is something that could potentially increase one’s risk of getting a disease. As our society continues to devolve and the pretenses of reason and logic are increasingly tossed aside, various conspiracy theories about vaccinations have, despite lack of scientific evidence, flourished on the internet, leading to an abnormal suspicion among some members of the public about the potential risks of vaccination. The results of this study are just one of many that indicate that the public currently should have little to fear from routine vaccinations.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disease which is characterized by damage to the myelin sheath, a fatty, insulating, protective covering that surrounds nerve cells and allows them to communicate effectively. Although a precise cause has not been determined, multiple sclerosis is considered an autoimmune disease, in which a certain trigger, such as an infection, may cause the immune system to mistakenly attack healthy tissue. Smoking and certain genetic variants are also considered risk factors for the disease. Symptoms include blurred vision, double vision, blindness in one eye, numbness, abnormal sensations, pain, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, difficulty speaking and swallowing, mood instability, depression, loss of coordination, and fatigue. There are a number of treatments available for the disease, but no cure. Life expectancy for patients is slightly reduced. To learn more about multiple sclerosis, click here.
Vaccinations and Multiple Sclerosis
The possibility of vaccination as a risk factor for multiple sclerosis has occasionally been floated in the research field, but there has never been any data that decisively confirmed a relationship. This theory may seem feasible on the surface; after all, the autoimmune cascade of multiple sclerosis is probably caused by some triggering event, like an infection. So it makes sense that a vaccine, which often uses dead cells or a very small amount of the infectious agent, could be a triggering event. However, these study findings indicate that this simply isn’t the case.
The scientists looked at data from 12,000 multiple sclerosis patients. Analysis of their medical histories indicated that these patients were actually less likely to get the standard vaccinations when compared to the rest of the population. The study found that multiple sclerosis patients were especially less likely to get vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, the flu, and tick-borne encephalitis.
This discovery led the authors to put forth a couple of possible explanations. It is possible that getting regular vaccines may have a protective effect against the disease, since patients were more likely to not get their vaccines. The researchers also theorized that patients may actually be perceiving the effects of the illness years before they are diagnosed, leading them to avoid further vaccinations to prevent straining their immune systems.
The original study can be found in the scientific journal Neurology.