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Reference: Saul, A, Ponsonby, A-L, Lucas, RM et al., (2017). Stressful life events and the risk of initial central nervous system demyelination. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 23 (7), 1000-1007.Citable link to this page:


Stressful life events and the risk of initial central nervous system demyelination

Abstract: Background: There is substantial evidence that stress increases multiple sclerosis disease activity, butlimited evidence on its association with the onset of multiple sclerosis.Objective: To examine the association between stressful life events and risk of first demyelinating event(FDE).Methods: This was a multicentre incident case–control study. Cases (n=282 with first diagnosis of centralnervous system (CNS) demyelination, including n=216 with ‘classic FDE’) were aged 18–59 years.Controls without CNS demyelination (n=558) were matched to cases on age, sex and study region.Stressful life events were assessed using a questionnaire based on the Social Readjustment Rating Scale.Results: Those who suffered from a serious illness in the previous 12months were more likely to havean FDE (odds ratio (OR)=2.35 (1.36, 4.06), p=0.002), and when we limited our reference group to thosewho had no stressful life events, the magnitude of effect became stronger (OR=5.41 (1.80, 16.28)). Thetotal stress number and stress load were not convincingly associated with the risk of an FDE.Conclusion: Cases were more likely to report a serious illness in the previous 12months, which couldsuggest that a non-specific illness provides an additional strain to an already predisposed immune system.

Publication status:PublishedPeer Review status:Peer reviewedVersion:Accepted ManuscriptDate of acceptance:2016-08-10 Funder: Australian Research Council   Funder: National Health and MedicalResearch Council of Australia   Funder: Multiple SclerosisResearch Australia   Funder: Royal Australasian College ofPhysicians   Funder: US NationalMultiple Sclerosis Society   Funder: Poola Foundation   Funder: Health Research Council of New Zealand   Funder: MSSociety of Tasmania   Funder: Bayer Schering Pharma   Funder: Biogen Idec, Inc.   Notes:Copyright © 2016 the authors. This is the accepted manuscript version of the article. The final version is available online from SAGE at:

Bibliographic Details

Publisher: SAGE

Publisher Website:

Journal: Multiple Sclerosis Journalsee more from them

Publication Website:

Volume: 23

Issue: 7

Extent: 1000-1007

Issue Date: 2017



Eissn: 1477-0970

Issn: 1352-4585

Uuid: uuid:2fb99575-2565-495d-84f6-929c99923aa3

Urn: uri:2fb99575-2565-495d-84f6-929c99923aa3

Pubs-id: pubs:661488 Item Description

Type: journal-article;

Version: Accepted ManuscriptKeywords: first demyelinating event first clinical diagnosis stress stressful life events multiple sclerosis risk factors


Autor: Saul, A - - - Ponsonby, A-L - - - Lucas, RM - - - Taylor, BV - - - Simpson, S - - - Valery, P - - - Dwyer, T - Oxford, MSD, Obste



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