Even Short-Term Smoking Makes MS Worse, Study Finds

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) tend to have more severe brain-tissue destruction and atrophy if they ever smoked regularly in their lifetime, according to a new study from the University of Buffalo.

Science Daily reported Aug. 18 that researchers studying brain damage caused by MS found that subjects who had smoked for as little as six months had more impairment than lifelong nonsmokers. Smokers had 17 percent more brain lesions than nonsmokers, less brain volume, and more physical disability, MRI scans and other tests found.

Cigarette smoking “is one of the most compelling environmental risk factors linked to the development and worsening of MS,” according to researcher Robert Zivadinov, M.D., Ph.D.

The study was published in the Aug. 18, 2009 issue of the journal Neurology.

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