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Adolescent Obesity and HLA Genotype Correlation to MS

Posted February 12, 2014

A number of factors are associated with an increased risk of developing adult-onset multiple sclerosis (MS), including modulated immune function, vitamin D insufficiency, the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genotype, and interaction with the Epstein-Barr virus. Interestingly, some of these risk factors are also associated with being obese.

Although the study is limited by using self-reported BMIs at the age of 20 years and non-standarized methods of genotyping, the findings still have impact. Five years ago (2009–2010), 16.9% of children and adolescents in the United States were obese. This may translate into a growing population of people with MS in the future. Although there is no control over genes, there is control over BMI: perhaps a reduction in the number of obese adolescents will contribute to a reduction of the incidence of MS. However, this should be interpreted cautiously: there is only a correlation between obesity and MS, which does not mean causation.

To read more about the study, go to the Bionews TX Article.

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