A new study published in the journal Neurology has said that a stressful home or work environment does not increase the risk of multiple sclerosis.
There is a general perception that a stressful life increases the risk of MS, especially among those who already have suffered from chronic disease. However a new study conducted by researchers including Harvard Medical School's Dr. Alberto Ascherio found that stress does not play a role in MS.
The researchers analyzed data from two large studies, the first involving over 93,000 female nurses and started in 1976 and the second one involving nearly female 69,000 nurses and starting in 1989. While the nurses in the first study were asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding stress at home and work, the second group of nurses was asked about any physical or sexual abuse during childhood and adolescence.
The researchers found that just 77 women in the first group and 292 women in the second group developed MS by 2005 with less than 5 percent of them admitting to suffer from stress.
"These results do not support a major role of stress in the development of the disease, but repeated and more focused measures of stress are needed to firmly exclude stress as a potential risk factor for MS", the researchers said.