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Does Coffee Protect Against MS? This and Other Wellness/Lifestyle Research Questions Highlighted at Upcoming AAN Meeting

February 26, 2015

Intriguing study results related to coffee intake, nutrition and other MS Wellness/Lifestyle Research will be presented at the upcoming American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting in Washington on April 18-25. In-depth information about these studies will not be available until the investigators present their findings during the meeting. The National MS Society will be providing reports summarizing these and many other results to be presented at the Academy’s annual meeting.

Anyone can get a preview of the summaries, or abstracts, of presentations to be given at the Academy’s Annual Meeting at this link. Registration is necessary, but is free.  Two abstracts highlighted by the AAN this week address wellness/lifestyle research.

Does Drinking Coffee Reduce the Risk of Getting MS?
Caffeine intake has been associated with a reduced risk of developing other neurological diseases. Ellen Mowry, MD, MCR, (Johns Hopkins University) and colleagues in the U.S. and Sweden examined whether coffee is related to risk of developing MS in a group of 1,629 Swedish people with MS and 2,807 controls without MS, as well as a group of 584 people with MS and 581 controls enrolled in Kaiser Permanente Northern California. 

In the Swedish study, people who did not drink coffee were 1.5 times more likely to develop MS compared to those who drank at least 6 cups of coffee daily. In the American group, people who did not drink coffee were 1.5 times more likely to develop MS compared to those who drank at least 4 cups of coffee daily. More research is needed to determine whether coffee or other caffeine-containing beverages can reduce the risk of MS or protect the nervous system from MS damage in those who already have the disease. This study was funded by the Swedish Medical Research Council and the National Institutes of Health, among others. Read the abstract here.

Nutrient Levels in People with MS
In a small study, Sandra D. Cassard, ScD (John Hopkins University) and colleagues examined 27 women with MS and 30 controls without MS to determine what nutritional differences might exist that might affect, or result from, the immune attack that is launched on the brain and spinal cord in MS. These women are enrolled in an ongoing National MS Society-supported clinical trial testing whether vitamin D supplements can reduce disease activity, and the participants reported diet/nutrition information during the year before starting the trial. The women with MS tended to have lower intake of five nutrients with antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties: folate, vitamin E, magnesium, lutein and quercetin. Those with MS were also found to take in fewer calories from fat. Whether these differences result from inflammation in MS, trigger the inflammation, or simply reflect lifestyle differences between the groups is not clear. This study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Read the abstract here.

Focus on Wellness/Lifestyle
There is emerging evidence about the role of diet, exercise and stress management as well as other wellness and lifestyle choices in MS. Understanding the various dimensions of wellness/lifestyle and providing informed wellness solutions for people with MS is a priority for the National MS Society. The Society has launched a wellness initiative to develop strategies for increasing high-quality research and programming that will help people with MS make informed lifestyle and wellness choices aimed at helping them live their best lives.

Resources
Anyone can get a preview of the summaries, or abstracts, of presentations to be given at the Academy’s Annual Meeting at this link. Registration is necessary, but at no charge.

Read more about wellness/lifestyle research in MS
Read more about how regular healthy living routines can minimize MS symptoms
 

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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