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Neuroepidemiology. 2001 Aug;20(3):175-8.

Multiple sclerosis and ionizing radiation.

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Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Health and Environment, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.


The etiology of multiple sclerosis (MS) may involve exposure to infectious, chemical or physical agents damaging the blood-brain barrier and an autoimmune reaction against myelin breakdown products. Here we report a pooled analysis of 174 MS cases and 815 population controls from two case-control studies with regard to such a potentially damaging exposure, namely X-ray examinations, radiological work and treatment with ionizing radiation. Exposure was assessed by questionnaires to the subjects. We obtained odds ratios of 4.4 (95% confidence interval, CI, 1.6-11.6) and 1.8 (95% CI 1.2-2.6) for radiological work and X-ray examinations, respectively; 5 cases, but no controls, in one of the studies had been treated with ionizing radiation. Our data and some other observations reported in the literature suggest a contributory role for ionizing radiation to the development of MS in some cases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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