MS Disease Progression May Be Delayed by Smoking Cessation

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MS Disease Progression May Be Delayed by Smoking Cessation
MS Disease Progression May Be Delayed by Smoking Cessation

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Multiple sclerosis (MS) progresses faster in people who continue to smoke compared to smokers who quit after their diagnosis, according to research published online Sept. 8 in JAMA Neurology.

The study included 728 MS patients in Sweden who were smokers at the time of their diagnosis. Some patients continued smoking while others quit within a year, the researchers said.

Each additional year of smoking after MS diagnosis accelerated the time to secondary progressive disease by nearly 5 percent, the findings showed. Patients who continued to smoke each year after diagnosis converted to secondary progressive disease earlier (average age 48) than those who quit smoking (average age 56).

The study adds to evidence that smoking is a major modifiable risk factor for MS, Myla Goldman, M.D., of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and Olaf Stuve, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, write in an accompanying editorial. "Most importantly, it provides the first evidence, to our knowledge, that quitting smoking appears to delay onset of secondary progressive MS and provide protective benefit. Therefore, even after MS diagnosis, smoking is a risk factor worth modifying."

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