Paints, solvents tied to big rise in MS risk for some smokers



A triple whammy of genetics, smoking, and exposure to paints and solvents at work puts a person at extremely high risk of developing multiple sclerosis, Swedish researchers report.

On its own, any one factor elevates the risk for the central nervous system disease substantially, the investigators said. But when all three factors line up, the risk jumps 30-fold.

"This is a novel finding" that suggests combined risk is much higher than the sum of its parts, said study author Dr. Anna Hedstrom.

But why? Chronic lung irritation is the likely common denominator, she said, adding that ultimately it is the "immune response that results in MS, primarily in those with a genetic susceptibility to the disease."

Hedstrom works in the department of clinical neuroscience with the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

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