The risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) increases with alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence and alcohol use, according to a report published in JAMA Neurology.
Previous studies that investigated the relationship between alcohol and MS risk were limited by small sample sizes and inconsistent results. For this study, researchers looked at 10,156 patients with alcohol use, 255,827 with alcohol abuse and 281,305 with alcohol dependence, along with 6.7 million controls.
The researchers grouped participants based on record of day-case care or inpatient admission for alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence and alcohol use. They then looked for any subsequent episode of day-case care or hospital admission for (or death from) MS, analyzing whether the first record of MS was within or after 1 year following the first admission for alcohol misuse.
The control group consisted of people admitted for various other medical conditions and injuries, usually minor, none of which had unusually high or low rates of MS compared with other conditions in the group.
There was a significantly increased risk of MS following alcohol abuse, dependency and use compared with rates in the control group, the researchers found.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex neurologic disease caused by both genetic and environmental risk factors. To our knowledge, few studies have investigated the relationship between alcohol and MS risk, and these have been limited by small sample sizes and inconsistent results.
Hedström and colleagues reported that alcohol consumption exhibits a dose-dependent inverse association with MS risk. We aimed to determine whether individuals with alcohol misuse disorders, presumed to consume large quantities of alcohol, have a lower MS risk than the general population.