The neurodegenerative condition known as multiple sclerosis (MS) causes chronic inflammation within the central nervous system. For decades, clinicians and researchers have tirelessly studied MS to understand the condition better and develop more effective treatments.
Recently, researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health concluded a study that examined the link between the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and multiple sclerosis. They found “compelling evidence of causality” between EBV and MS.
Researchers analyzed data from over 10 million active-duty U.S. military personnel during the study. Of these participants, 955 received an MS diagnosis while serving.
Researchers reviewed serum samples that were collected biennially in order to check for the presence of EBV. As a result of the study, researchers discovered that soldiers were 32 times more likely to develop MS after experiencing an EBV infection.
However, it is essential to note that MS symptoms typically do not manifest until approximately ten years after patients acquire an EBV infection. Researchers theorized that this delayed onset might be partially attributed to ineffective MS diagnosis protocols, as early symptoms are difficult to detect.
What This Means for MS Patients
Currently, no effective EBV infection treatments or preventatives exist. However, researchers are optimistic that the development of an EBV vaccine or antivirals could pave the way for a multiple sclerosis cure.
In the meantime, patients suffering from MS should continue to work with their primary care providers to mitigate the impact of symptoms and slow the progression of the condition.
For those seeking an alternative treatment option, stem cell therapy has shown some promise for treating neurodegenerative conditions like MS. Stem cell therapy may yield several positive benefits such as a reduction in muscle spasticity, improved balance, increased energy, and reduced muscle pain.