Harlan Still & Koch

Alcohol may prevent MS, study finds

While excessive drinking is generally unhealthy, moderate alcohol consumption has been found to have some health benefit for people in Columbia, Missouri. Now a study has been published that suggests that drinking may stave off multiple sclerosis, a potentially disabling illness.

The research behind the study took place in Sweden. Participants were a total of about 6,745 adults who ranged in age from 16 to 70. These participants all had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, or MS. They were divided into two groups, with other volunteers without MS added to the groups as controls.

Researchers had the volunteers answer questions about their drinking habits. It appears that the questionnaire included inquiries about whether the subject drank. If they did, the frequency of their drinking habits and for how many years they have consumed alcohol were apparently part of the interview.

The study concludes that those who drank alcohol as an adult were less likely to develop MS, in comparison with non-drinkers. An article in The Boston Globe does not provide detail about how this could be, but prior research has found that alcohol can prevent other autoimmune conditions from developing.

This could indicate a future treatment or immunization for MS. For now, many people are living with the condition, which can cause weakness, numbness, blurred vision, muscle stiffness and other symptoms. If the symptoms becomes serious enough, continuing to earn an income through work may no longer be possible. MS is a condition recognized by the Social Security Administration as a disability for SSD purposes.

Source: The Boston Globe, “Alcohol use may lower MS risk, study finds,” Lara Salahi, Jan. 13, 2014

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