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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 92, Issue 4, pp 281–285 | Cite as

A Case-Control Study of the Association Between Socio-Demographic, Lifestyle and Medical History Factors and Multiple Sclerosis

  • Parviz Ghadirian
  • Bahman Dadgostar
  • Richard Azani
  • Patrick Maisonneuve
Article

Abstract

Objective: The etiology of multiple sclerosis (MS) remains poorly understood. Socio-demographic characteristics may play important roles in its development.

Methods: In a case-control study of MS, a total of 200 newly diagnosed MS patients and 202 frequency age- and sex-matched controls were studied.

Results: A direct and significant association was observed between cigarette smoking and the risk of MS. Higher education seemed to reduce the risk of MS. Contact with cats was inversely associated with MS, particularly in males, whereas contact with caged birds increased the risk significantly, especially in females. A strong family aggregation of MS was observed among cases. A past history of trauma and eye problems appeared to pose a high risk of MS. Cases had a significant family history of eye problems, mumps, measles, rubella, cancer and auto-immune diseases.

Conclusion: If smoking and history of certain infectious diseases increase the risk of MS significantly, they could be modified and avoided, thereby reducing the likelihood of being afflicted by MS.

Résumé

Objectif: L’étiologie de la sclérose en plaques (SEP) est encore mal comprise. Les caractéristiques socio-démographiques peuvent jouer un rôle important dans son développement.

Méthode: Nous avons mené une étude cas-témoins auprès de 200 patients venant de recevoir un diagnostic de SEP et de 202 témoins, jumelés selon l’âge et le sexe.

Résultats: Nous avons observé une association directe et significative entre le tabagisme et le risque de développer la SEP. Un niveau d’instruction élevé semblait réduire le risque de SEP. Le contact avec les chats était associé inversement avec la SEP, particulièrement chez les hommes, tandis que le contact avec les oiseaux en cage augmentait sensiblement le risque, surtout chez les femmes. Une forte agrégation familiale de SEP a été observée parmi les cas. Des antécédents de traumas ou de problèmes oculaires semblent liés à un risque élevé de SEP. Les malades avaient d’importants antécédents familiaux de problèmes oculaires, d’oreillons, de rougeole, de rubéole, de cancer et de maladies auto-immunes.

Conclusion: Si le tabagisme et des antécédents de certaines maladies infectieuses augmentent sensiblement le risque de SEP, ils pourraient être modifiés et évités, réduisant ainsi la probabilité d’être atteint de la maladie.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Parviz Ghadirian
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
  • Bahman Dadgostar
    • 2
  • Richard Azani
    • 3
  • Patrick Maisonneuve
    • 4
  1. 1.Epidemiology Research Unit, Research CentreCentre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal - Hôtel-DieuMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Behavioral Health, Seven Counties ServicesLouisvilleUSA
  3. 3.Actilab Pharma Inc.MontrealUSA
  4. 4.Division of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsEuropean Institute of OncologyMilanItaly
  5. 5.Department of Nutrition, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of MontrealCanada
  6. 6.Research CentreSainte Justine HospitalMontrealCanada

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