Smokers with multiple sclerosis (MS) show more brain atrophy..

September 11, 2009 - People who have multiple sclerosis (MS) that have smoked for as little as six months during their lifetime have more destroyed brain tissue and brain atrophy than those who have never smoked. Back in 2005 researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health reported that current and past smokers with multiple sclerosis were more than three times as likely as patients who had never smoked to have more rapid progression of their disease. (Smoking Tied to Multiple Sclerosis Progression Harvard Study Links Smoking With Greater Risk of More Rapid Increase in MS Symptoms by Salynn Boyles, WebMD Health News, 5/26/2005)

For the first time this new study, published in the journal Neurology, evaluated the effects of smoking on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) characteristics of patients with MS. Robert Zivadinov, the lead author of the study noted how there is a greater loss of brain volume for people who enjoy cigarettes or cigars.

PAPER: Smoking is associated with increased lesion volumes and brain atrophy in multiple sclerosis R. Zivadinov, MD, PhD, B. Weinstock-Guttman, MD, K. Hashmi, MD, N. Abdelrahman, MD, M. Stosic, MD, M. Dwyer, S. Hussein, J. Durfee and M. Ramanathan, PhD NEUROLOGY 2009;73:504-510, ABSTRACT..

368 MS patients were evaluated, average age 44, who had been diagnosed about 12 years earlier. Of the 368 patients, 240 had never smoked, 96 smoked currently and 32 had smoked in the past. All patients were evaluated clinically and had an MRI to monitor the disease process and evaluate the effects of treatments. The MRI measured the size of the MS-related brain lesions and the brain shrinkage that can occur with age and with MS. Smokers with MS had nearly 17 percent more brain lesions than nonsmokers with MS. Smokers with MS also had more brain tissue shrinkage.

Dr. John Richert, executive vice president for research and clinical programs for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society: the recent study lends weight to the conclusion, reached in some but not all previous studies, that smoking does in fact worsen MS symptoms.

References: Smokers with MS ’show more brain atrophy’ posted by Michelle Mitzvie, Ethiopian Review, 9/10/2009; Smoking Worsens Multiple Sclerosis Raised risk of brain lesions and shrinkage, researchers found, HealthDay, 8/17/2009.



December 9, 2009 at 10:34 AM

In 2006, Laura Lawes was diagnosed with Multiple Scelrosis and given a life expectancy of one year. Three years later, she was not only living strong, but she gave birth to her first son. It was called "a miracle birth". These miracles are possible today, because of the work organizations, such as yourself, have done. Here, at (a website dedicated to disease preventions and treatments) we are inspired by stories such as this, and would like to join you in fighting this cause. If you could, please list us as a resource or host our social book mark button, it would be much appreciated. Lets create more of these miracles; together.If you want more information on that please email me back with the subject line as your URL.