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No link between vaccination and risk of MS

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Author: MS Trust

This new study found no long term association between any vaccines, including hepatitis B and HPV (human papillomavirus), and an increased risk of developing MS, for up to three years following vaccination.

The cause of MS remains unknown, but a link between vaccination and the onset of multiple sclerosis has been suggested for many years. In this case controlled study Dr Langer-Gould and the US research team identified the medical records of 780 people with central nervous system disorders including MS, and 3,885 controls. Researchers assessed the data for any relationship between vaccination and development of MS or other demyelinating disorders of the central nervous system (CNS).

Overall there was no long term association found between vaccination and onset of MS.

Vaccination was however associated with increased risk of demyelination conditions of the CNS within the first 30 days after vaccination in younger people (under 50 years of age). The authors suggest that this may be a result of an already existing condition becoming apparent, which also supports clinical anecdotes where of onset of symptoms is reported soon after vaccination.

Lack of identification of the people who might be at higher risk of developing MS – for example people with MS in the family, and the small number of participants receiving the HPV vaccine were recognised as limiting factors of the study.

Langer-Gould A, et al.
Vaccines and the risk of multiple sclerosis and other central nervous system demyelinating diseases.
JAMA Neurology 2014 Oct 20. [Epub ahead of print]

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