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Study: Smoking speeds up MS progression


Continued smoking after a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis appears to be associated with accelerated disease progression compared with those patients who quit smoking according to a new study.

Researchers led by Dr. Jan Hillert, of the Karolinska Institutet at Karolinska University Hospital Solna, in Stockholm, Sweden, studied 728 patients in Sweden with MS who smoked at diagnosis, of whom 216 converted to secondary progressive. Among the 728 smokers, 332 were classified as “continuers” who smoked continuously from the year after diagnosis and 118 were “quitters” who stopped smoking the year after diagnosis. Data on 1,012 never smokers also were included.

Analysis by the authors suggests each additional year of smoking after diagnosis accelerated the onset of secondary progressive MS by 4.7 percent. Other analysis suggested that those patients who continued to smoke each year after diagnosis faced the onset of secondary progressive faster (at age 48) than those who quit (at age 56).

“This study demonstrates that smoking after MS diagnosis has a negative impact on the progression of the disease, whereas reduced smoking may improve patient quality of life, with more years before the development of SP disease. Accordingly, evidence clearly supports advising patients with MS who smoke to quit. Health care services for patients with MS should be organized to support such a lifestyle change,” the authors conclude.

The findings were published online by JAMA Neurology.

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