Study of Kids with MS Links Eating More Fatty Foods to Higher Risk of Relapse, and More Vegetables to Lower Risk
October 11, 2017
- Investigators with the Network of Pediatric MS Centers report findings that children and adolescents with MS who ate more fatty foods were at increased risk of relapse, while those who ate more vegetables were at lower risk.
- These findings are associations, and do not prove that these dietary factors caused or protected against relapses. To further understand how diet may impact the course of MS in children and adolescents with MS, the National MS Society is supporting a more comprehensive study by this team.
- This study, funded by the National MS Society and the National Institutes of Health, was published early online on October 9, 2017 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
The course and severity of MS can vary greatly between individuals. It is not yet known what triggers disease activity or relapses, and there is no way to predict an individual’s disease course. Investigators with the Network of Pediatric MS Centers
, established with funding from the National MS Society, have been conducting a study of possible risk factors that lead to pediatric MS. They are taking advantage of that study to look at factors involved with disease activity in children and adolescents who already have established disease. The study is led by Emmanuelle Waubant, MD (University of California, San Francisco).
The investigators enrolled kids who had lived with MS for no more than four years. After enrollment, the children or their caregivers responded to a questionnaire about the types and amounts of food eaten over the past week. The questionnaire included estimates of energy (calories), fats, vegetables, and other foods and beverages. Then the investigators monitored the 219 participants for disease activity. The outcome of the study focused on the time from enrollment to the next MS relapse.
The investigators found that higher amounts of fat in the diet were associated with increased risk for an MS relapse. They also found that higher amounts of vegetables in the diet were associated with decreased risk for an MS relapse.
The study, funded by the National MS Society and the National Institutes of Health, was published early online on October 9, 2017 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.
These findings -- of a potentially harmful impact of fats and potentially beneficial impact of vegetables -- are associations, and do not prove that these dietary factors caused or protected against relapses. This team is about to launch a larger study, funded by the National MS Society, to further understand how diet may impact the course of MS in children and adolescents with MS. And in the meantime, eating a diet lower in saturated fats and higher in vegetables aligns with general guidelines for healthful eating
Read more about diet and nutrition in MS
Read more about the Network of Pediatric MS Centers