Teen smokers may be at a greater risk of Multiple Sclerosis MS)..

February 26, 2009 -People who start smoking before age 17 may increase their risk for developing MS, says study author Dr. Joseph Finkelstein of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The study involved 87 people with MS who were among more than 30,000 people in a larger study. The people with MS were divided into three groups: non-smokers, early smokers who began before age 17 and late smokers, who started smoking at age 17 or older. They were matched by age, gender and race to 435 people without MS. Early smokers were 2.7 times more likely to develop MS than non-smokers, however, late smokers did not have an increased risk for the disease. More than 32 percent of the MS patients were early smokers, compared to 19 percent of the people without MS.

Studies show that environmental factors play a prominent role in multiple sclerosis, Finkelstein said in a statement. Early smoking is an environmental factor that can be avoided. The findings are scheduled to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 61st annual meeting in Seattle April 25-May 2.

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Reference: Teen smokers at greater MS risk, redOrbit, 2/23/2009.